Director Prakash Jha, currently working on Aarakshan, which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn and Manoj Bajpai, has sent a legal notice to TV channel Imagine, which will run a TV show on reservation called Armaanon Ka Balidaan — Aarakshan, from the end of the month.
Writer-producer of the TV show Kamal Pandey confirms, "Prakashji is upset. We spoke a few times on the phone after which he sent a notice to me and the channel. Now the channel will reply in an appropriate manner."
Jha rang up the producer and the channel soon after he saw the first promo last week and objected to the word ‘Aarakshan’ in the title because it’s also the title of his film. "Since Prakashji and I have worked together in the past, he probably thinks I have lifted his idea. But I don’t know the story of his film. Reservation as a subject is in the public domain, so no one has copyright over it. My show is a love story set against the backdrop of the changes that happened in North India following the introduction of the quota system by the Mandal Commission," argues Pandey.
He states that he has harboured the subject in his mind for five to seven years now. After the system was introduced, there were huge demonstrations across North India, which Pandey says he was an active part of. "I was a student then. Through my show, I want to tell people that the system created an imbalance in the society because some have made too much out of it and most have been left out," he explains.
The show’s first outdoor schedule was completed recently with lead actor Rahul Lohani in Madhya Pradesh. The shoot is expected to start soon at a city studio. When asked, Saurabh Tewary, head of fiction programming, Imagine, says, "We are in the process of sorting out the issue through the industry association. We are not aware of the story of Prakashji’s film. Our show is a love story, which was conveyed to him over the phone."
Has there been any resolution so far? “He agreed that our show had nothing to do with his film’s story,” informs Tewary. “No one can claim ownership over a socio-political incident, right?”