After the Sushant Singh Rajput-Kriti Sanon reincarnation drama Raabta, writers Garima and Siddharth are caught in a copyright fix yet again over the upcoming movie Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.
Documentary filmmaker Praveen Vyas has sent a legal notice to the makers of the Akshay Kumar starrer, claiming that the movie is a copy of his 2016 short film Manini, reported Mumbai Mirror. Manini, which has been co-directed by Jayanti Kundu, won the third prize at the Swachh Bharat Short Film Festival.
In Manini, a newly wed woman creates a ruckus when she is asked to defecate in the open. Vyas claims that the trailer of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha follows the same plot.
Directed by Shree Narayan Singh and produced by Neeraj Pandey, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha will be released on August 11. The movie’s writers denied the allegations, stating that they had registered the script with the Film Writers Association in August 2014.
“It’s not possible to pick up a story from any documentary and take a film to the floors within a few weeks’ time,” Garima told Bollywood Hungama. “Is it plausible, especially with a film that stars mainstream actors? It’s ridiculous, frustrating and insulting for us to hear that we have copied someone’s work.” The writers are planning to file a defamation case against Vyas.
Garima and Siddharth were previously at the receiving end of a similar accusation, when the producer of the Telugu blockbuster Magadheera took Raabta to court on plagiarism charges. However, the makers of Raabta won the case a day before the film’s release on June 8.
Both Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Manini draw from newspaper reports, and are likely to have been inspired by, among others, Priyanka Bharti, the young woman who left her marital home because of the absence of toilet facilities. Bharti’s story was included in public service message videos for UNICEF’s Nirmal Bharat campaign. The videos feature the campaign’s mascot, Vidya Balan and have been shot by director Vibhu Puri.