A writer, Nishant Kaushik, recently claimed he wasn’t duly acknowledged for his contribution to the screenplay of Rani Mukherji’s next, Hichki.
In return, director Sidharth P. Malhotra had issued a clarification that said, “I had acquired the rights to make Front of the Class as a Hindi motion picture in 2013. Nishant Kaushik’s claims are baseless. He was contacted through Exceed Entertainment and I haven’t even met him once. We were looking for writers who could come up with a take on Front of the Class. We had approached several writers including Nishant. He was given a brief for the film and the story and slant he came up with was not what we were looking for. So, we did not proceed with him and Exceed was informed about my decision immediately. This was in 2015. Several prominent writers like Amole Gupte and Abbas Tyrewala have worked on the story of Hichki and we have obtained NOCs from them and I thank each one of them for being the creative contributors of Hichki. We have credited all the writers who have worked in our film. So, it is ridiculous that we will not give credit to anyone in particular who has worked hard and contributed for Hichki (sic).”
Now, writer-director Apurva Asrani, who was himself embroiled in copyright issues with director Hansal Mehta over the screenplay of Simran, speaks up for Kaushik. However, he clears Sidharth’s name.
Says Apurva, “Nishant isn’t claiming plagiarism. He’s saying he wasn’t awarded the dignity of a response, which pushed him to write about it on social media. That part I fully empathise with. It’s frustrating when directors first win your trust, make you work hard, and then cut you off cold, blocking your messages and mails. Thank God, at least social media allows you to get their attention today. But Nishant now has the closure he was seeking, thanks to Sidharth’s immediate response to his concerns. Makes me think Sidharth’s intentions are clean too.”