Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma will settle out of court with freelance journalist Sonal Mehta, who accused him of basing his new film Rann on a script written by her, without crediting or paying her.
“The payment to Mehta will be decided soon, and paid by Wednesday,” said Janak Dwarkadas, Varma’s counsel. Mehta was unavailable for comment, but the out-of-court settlement, for an unspecified amount — proposed by Varma — is seen as an oblique admission of guilt by the filmmaker.
Mehta had approached the High Court last week, claiming Rann is based on a script and screenplay written by her, and that she has not been credited.
Mehta, who has worked as assistant director with Varma earlier, said Varma had asked her to write a story centred on the media’s underbelly, promising to involve her in the production if he was satisfied with her work.
On Monday, Mehta’s counsel Viraj Tulzapurkar pointed out the similarities between Mehta’s script, tentatively titled Break Ke Baad, and Rann. “Not just the concept, even the characters are similar to the ones in Break Ke Baad. There are minor changes to the storyline, but anyone copying material is bound to make some cosmetic changes,” Tulzapurkar argued.
Infringement of confidentiality was another charge levelled against Varma. After Tulzapurkar’s concluding arguments, Dwarkadas told the court that his client was willing to settle out of court. Justice Anoop Mehta has kept the next hearing for Wednesday, when both parties need to tell the court if they have reached an agreement.