Director Sarika Mene has sent a legal notice to the makers of Varun Dhawan-starrer October and Amazon Prime Video after the release of the film on the streaming website, Mid Day reported. In April, Mene had claimed that October lifted crucial plot points and characters from her debut film Aarti – The Unknown Love Story.
Directed by Shoojit Sircar and written by Juhi Chaturvedi, October is about a hotel management trainee named Dan (Dhawan), whose life alters drastically after he begins to take care of his hospitalised colleague Shuili (Banita Sandhu). October was released on April 13.
Mene’s film is based on her brother Sunny Pawar, who cared for his comatose girlfriend Aarti Makwana for four years until her death in 2010. Aarti – The Unknown Love Story was released in Maharashtra on August 18, 2017.
“We have to procure the rights to Sunny’s life story, so that no one else does this to us again,” Mene told Mid Day. “We don’t want money; we only want acknowledgement that this movie is based on his life.”
In April, Mene had filed a non-cognisable criminal complaint against October’s makers at the Vile Parle police station in Mumbai. She also registered complaints with the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapat Maha Mandal, and trade bodies Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association and Screen Writers Association. The filmmakers of October had denied the allegation, with co-producer Rising Sun Entertainment asserting that the company had “full faith” in its team. “We have not heard of the film ‘Aarti’ nor do we have full details of the matter as yet,” the statement read. “We are sensitive towards feelings of film makers. We will look into this and deal with it appropriately.”
In an interview with Scroll.in in April, Mene said that she wanted an acknowledgement from the makers of October. “I know where my story came from. But what is the source of their story? And it is not just a matter of a story being stolen, but this is my real story. This is truly my brother’s story,” she said.
According to the Mid Day report, the Screen Writers Association ruled against Mene, but conceded that the source material for both the films may have been the real-life incident involving Sunny Pawar, which had been reported by several newspapers. In June last year, Sircar had told Hindustan Times that October was inspired by “many real-life incidents”, including a “small newspaper clipping”.