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Ash saree designer hits back

Chaturbhuj Meher, accused by painter Kailash Meher of lifting the design of an Ash saree from his painting, has hit back by saying that the painting itself was plagiarised, reports Priya Ranjan Sahu.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2007 01:55 IST
Priya Ranjan Sahu

The Ash wedding saree design row has taken a new turn. Padmashree award winner Chaturbhuj Meher, accused by painter and first cousin Kailash Meher of lifting the design of an Ash saree from his painting 'Tree of Life', has hit back by saying that the painting itself was plagiarised and not his saree design.

At a press conference held at Sonepur on Tuesday, Chaturbhuj countered Kailash's allegation by saying, “In fact, the title ‘Tree of Life’ or Kalpabrikhya belongs to another work. In 1981, the Tree of Life design was conceived in the Bunkar Seva Kendras of Hyderabad and Mumbai.

It has been mentioned in pages 26, 27 and 76 of a book, Tradition and Beyond Handicrafted Textile, authored by Markandeya Singh.

Kailash, however, used the same title for his oil painting in 1986. Ironically, the painting with the borrowed title won several state and national awards."

Comparing the Ash saree and his cousin's painting Chaturbhuj said: "Though the tree design is common in both the works, they are much different. While Kailash's work is a 'pattachitra' (hand painting on a canvas), I designed the saree in the tie-and-dye method. How can the two be same? Kailash's tree has 140 branches while mine has only 23."

"Kailash has filed the plagiarism FIR against me under the Copyright Act with malicious intentions. My son Shankar had filed a criminal case against him in the past. He has filed this case to take revenge. I'm ready to face any trial to prove my innocence," he said.

It all started when Chaturbhuj sold two Sambalpuri silk sarees, 'Double Ikat' and 'Radhakunja', to the Bachchans for Rs 2.3 lakh before the Abhi-Ash wedding in April 20. Kailash shot the first salvo by filing a case in Balangir SDJM's court. An FIR was accordingly lodged against Chaturbhuj at the Balangir police station.