The wrongs over 'rights' are once again being debated in Malayalam cinema. The latest is related to the subject in Sajid Yahiya film Mohanlal, a fan-based story starring Manju Warrier in the lead. Filmmaker Kalavoor Ravikumar had come forward in the early stage itself to stake claim over the thread and is now making the next move by approaching the court.
Ravikumar's argument is that the film is based on his short story Mohanlaline Enikkippol Bhayankara Pediyaanu initially published in Kerala Kaumudi in 2005, which was later made into a collection of short stories in the same name. Not convinced by the film director's offer to thank him in the credits, Ravikumar says he wants the film to be called an adaptation of his work.
“If it is something that I have willingly given someone to use, then they could thank me. But here my story was taken without my permission and violated my rights. The matter came for a discussion before FEFKA and the writers' union has found resemblance in the film's thread. They might have reconstructed the screenplay but the story is the same,” Ravikumar argues.
The issue is gaining prominence as the film is coming closer to the release date, March 14. Ravikumar has approached the Thrissur District Court. From what the plaintiff counsel says, there's more to it. “It is a matter of copyright violation. The author is the exclusive owner of his work. Adaptation of any kind or form can be made only after obtaining prior consent from him. We are raising two things: first, the film should not be released. Second, if they are allowed to go ahead with the release, 25 percent of the profit, in addition to the compensation amount, should go to the writer. If there is no chance for a settlement, we could proceed further by filing a criminal case,” says advocate K.N. Prasanth.
Meanwhile, Mohanlal director Sajid Yahiya says his is a universal theme and that instance of such stories becoming movies in other language industries is not new. The script is by Suneesh Varanad.
“His claim is not that we have stolen his story. It is about a girl getting highly obsessed with actor Mohanlal, a theme in common to his story and the film. As we were called by FEFKA, a fully bound script was submitted. He was reluctant to give it a read. Despite me fighting hard, as per FEFKA's advice, I agreed to give him a special thanks card. Earlier too, the director has made similar claims over other movies. We are ready to submit the script to the court if needed,” says Yahiya.