One more filmmaker has levelled charges of plagiarism against the makers of Toilet Ek Prem Katha, which claims to be inspired by the Narendra Modi government’s Swachh Bharat Mission.
After documentary filmmaker Praveen Vyas claimed that the August 11 release had copied the subject of his short film Manini, Praatik Sharma has sent a legal notice to Toilet’s producers, claiming that the film has lifted the punchline and subject of his 2015 production Gutrun Gutar Gun. Mumbai Mirror reported that the Jaipur Metropolitan Court has asked the makers of Toilet Ek Prem Katha to appear before it on July 22.
According to its official synopsis, Gutrun Gutar Gun is set in a village where houses have no toilets and there are fixed times for men and women to make use of the common facilities. The film focuses on the plight of one woman and her journey to overcome her difficulties, in the face of resistance by the village elders. This is also the story of Toilet Ek Prem Katha, which stars Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar.
Sharma’s film was completed in 2015, but he didn’t get a release because of lack of funds. He told IANS that distributors refused to buy his film after Toilet Ek Prem Katha’s trailer was released because of the perceived similarities in the story.
Several films have explored the subject of open defecation in India. In 2015, Vinod Kapri’s documentary Can’t Take This Shit Anymore won the National Award in the Best Film on Social Issues. The 51-minute film followed the journey of six women who fled from their marital homes in Uttar Pradesh’s Kheisha village and returned to their parents because of the absence of toilets in their husband’s homes.
The writers of Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Siddharth-Garima, have denied allegations that they had lifted the plot, stating that they had registered the script with the Film Writers Association in August 2014.