Filmmaker who said Anurag Kashyap’s Choked was identical to his film: ‘I never accused him of stealing’

A filmmaker who claimed that Anurag Kashyap’s upcoming film Choked is similar to his 2018 short Choke, has decided to not pursue the matter. Choked writer Nihit Bhave, however, wonders if he should be the one concerned.
Saiyami Kher in a still from Choked.
Saiyami Kher in a still from Choked.
Updated on May 25, 2020 10:34 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By HT Entertainment Desk

A plagiarism row involving director Anurag Kashyap’s upcoming Netflix film, Choked, has been settled by all parties without the need of legal action. Director Wilson Louis had written in a Facebook post that he found the premise of Kashyap’s film startlingly similar to that of his 2018 short, Choke. But there’s a twist.

Besides the titles, Wilson wrote on Facebook, the central concept of a government employee’s handling of great wealth, hidden in the plumbing of their homes, was what made him wonder about the similarities.While in Kashyap’s film a bank employee discovers bundles of cash in the plumbing of her home, in Wilson’s Choke a BMC officer hides gold inside the pipes of her house.

 

“Hansal Mehta, whom I have worked with in the past, reached out to me after reading my post. He had seen Anurag’s film and was sure it’s an original concept. By then, I had contacted Monika Shergill [VP, content, Netflix] who was taken aback by the similarities,” Wilson told Mid-Day.

He added that following the confusion, Kashyap reached out to him. “I never accused Anurag of stealing [my idea]. But, let’s admit that we live in an industry where ideas are often passed around. Writers don’t feel secure about their material, and creators don’t have the integrity to credit the original writers. In such a scenario, you assume the worst in everyone. After the conversation, we agreed that both films have an uncanny resemblance as far as the idea is concerned.”

Also read: Nawazuddin Siddiqui admits quality of Indian streaming can be ‘below-average’, praises Anurag Kashyap for setting the bar

During the chat, Kashyap told Wilson that Choked writer Nihit Bhave had registered his script with the Screen Writers’ Association in June 2013. “I am not pressing charges of plagiarism. However, after consulting my team and lawyer, I want to put forth the fact that we created the film first and released its promo a year ago,” Wilson said.

Bhave said that it is he, in fact, who should be worried about plagiarism. He said, “I have years’ worth of correspondence on e-mail as I shared the script with multiple producers. Once Anurag decided to helm it, we developed it together over five years and tweaked it to include demonetisation. Wilson and Anurag have agreed that there is no similarity between the two films, apart from the title and [the plot point of] the pipe. Also, since my script was registered four years before his, shouldn’t I be the one worrying about similarities?”

Choked, starring Saiyami Kher, Roshan Matthew, Amruta Subhash and Rajshri Deshpande, will be released on Netflix on June 5.

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Thursday, October 21, 2021