Woman who inspired Toilet: Ek Prem Katha not happy with Rs 5 lakh, wants film royalties

Anita Narre, the woman on whose story Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is based has denied signing an agreement with the film’s producers.
Akshay and Bhumi in a still from the film.
Akshay and Bhumi in a still from the film.
Updated on Jul 19, 2017 05:43 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByRanjan/Mayank Bhargava, Bhopal/betul

Already facing legal hurdles the makers of Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar and Anupam Kher starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha have failed to win over the toilet crusader in Madhya Pradesh, Anita Narre to sign an agreement ahead of the film release slated for August 11. 

 Anita became a celebrity when she deserted her husband immediately after her marriage in 2011 as her in-laws didn’t have a toilet at their house at village Jeetudhana. She was later honoured with Sulabh International and given Rs 7 lakh. She was also honoured by President of India. The district administration got a pucca toilet constructed at her in-laws place. 

 Her was the first case in the country when any woman mustered courage to raise a voice of revolt against her husband and in-laws for the sake of a toilet while defying the age old practice of open defecation in rural areas and went to the extent of deserting her husband until she was to get a toilet. 

 The film director Shree Narayan Singh and actress Bhumi Pednekar visited Anita at her village in Betul district a couple of days back. Singh handed over an agreement and a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to her. However, Anita and her husband Shivram Narre refused to sign the agreement and sought more time saying they didn’t know English. 

However, later talking to media persons Anita said she would sign the agreement only when she was assured of getting a royalty in the film earnings. 

 A local journalist Sanjay Shukla who broke Anita’s story in 2011 says in fact the film makers want the agreement to be signed by Anita so that they could create a shield for themselves against the legal hurdles they are facing. The agreement, he claims, says that the film is based on the life of Anita Narre. 

 In an interesting development, the film director called up Anita on Tuesday evening and asked her to return the cheque and agreement if she is not willing to sign the agreement. 

 Sanjay says the phone call by the director to demand the cheque back was a pressure tactic on the couple. 

 Denying the charges film director Shree Narayan Singh in his conversation with the Hindustan Times said he and Pednekar visited Anita’s village as he wanted Anita and other ladies in the country who defied open defecation practice to appear in the film. 

Bhumi Pednekar in a still from the film.
Bhumi Pednekar in a still from the film.

 He said the details on the agreement could be told by Sandeep Shridhar who was a part of the production team. 

 Sandeep on his part denied that the agreement had a clause in it that the film was based on Anita Narre’s life. 

 “It’s a routine contract which is signed in Bollywood as filmmakers these days face a lot of legal hurdles in the way of release of their movies. We want Anita’s life and other such ladies’ life to feature at the end of the movie just as a value addition. The film is not based on Anita’s life as we didn’t know her when the film was conceptualized”, he added. 

 Sandeep confirmed that they have demanded back the agreement and money in case Anita is not to sign the agreement. 

 Notably, a documentary filmmaker Praveen Vyas recently sent a legal notice to makers of the film claiming they violated the copyright act by copying the script of his documentary Manini.

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