Mumbai: Refuting plagiarism charges agains this short film "Kriti", director Shirish Kunder has accused Nepali filmmaker Aneel Neupane of manipulating the flaw on the video sharing platform Vimeo to build his case.
Neupane, a filmmaker from Nepal had recently written on his Facebook page that Kunder’s psychological-thriller starring Manoj Bajpayee was a copy of his short movie "Bob" and alleged that the "Jaan-E-Mann" director "practically stole the plot and made it into his film."
Neupane wrote that his film was ready in October 2015 and he uploaded it on Vimeo "as a private video to share it with close friends" before releasing it on YouTube on May 12, this year.
Kunder's film was released online on June 22 with much fan fare where actress Kangana Ranaut was the special guest. Kunder said anyone could replace an existing video on Vimeo with a new one and manipulate the date on which it was published, even being able to give an older date.
"In July last year, we (Manoj and I) talked about the story idea (of Kriti). After finalising the dates and everything, we planned to shoot in February this year and then decided to release in June," Shirish told reporters.
"In between, a guy who makes marriage videos, manipulates the flaw on Vimeo, shoots a film on handycam and uses the flaw to put in an old date to claim that the film was made much before ours and we stole," he added.
Manoj said he was hurt by people's comments on social media regarding the accusation of "Kriti" being a copy. "In my long career no film has been accused of being a copy. It is so unfortunate that the entire idea came from a lunch party at Eid last year July. I told Shirish if he has any plans of making a short a film. He had a script but he said it was for a young character," Manoj said.
"We were talking, he wasn't even making short films. He is known for full length feature films. It is hurtful for me because it was started from my side (the idea to make short films) now people are saying we stole the film. We are being called names on twitter, people are abusing us on Facebook," he added.
The "Aligarh" actor also said that he was feeling bad for Kunder who was "being victimised by an ambitious crook."
"You read his (Neupane's) bio, he makes marriage videos. Nobody is listening to us. He played the card of being poor and many people went towards him. I was feeling sad that over the years the credibility I have built was of no use," Manoj said.
Recently, the makers of "Kriti" sent a legal notice to the filmmaker. Advocate Rizwan Siddiquee said, "They manipulated the date in Vimeo platform. This seems like a pre-empt thing. He is not a renowned filmmaker, he seems Internet-savvy. We want filmmakers to be aware, they can be a victim of this tomorrow. This is a trial by media case as nobody approached the court and he hasn't responded to our notice. Since the matter is in public domain, we are clarifying through this platform. Internet space can be a place where many mischievous things happen but we are answerable to the world."
He further added, "This is not a typical case to be taken to the court. We want YouTube to view the situation in correct light. They can manipulate the date on private platforms but they cannot tamper it on YouTube where date and time are mentioned.
The 18-minute short film also stars Neha Sharma and Radhika Apte and the tells the story of a mentally ill person played by Manoj Bajpayee.
(With inputs from PTI)...