The organisers of the 19th Indian International Film Academy Awards have been accused of lifting a fan-made tribute video to Sridevi off YouTube and broadcasting it as their own.
Saba Arif, a content creator and editor at an online retail store, had created and uploaded The Last Empress: A Tribute to Sridevi (1963-2018) on her YouTube channel on March 25, a month after Sridevi’s death. On Sunday, when the IIFA event that was held in Bangkok between June 22 and 27 was telecast in India, Arif claimed that her video had been passed off as IIFA’s own tribute to Sridevi.
Arif says that she has not been contacted by the organisers nor given credit for the video. Arif then took to Facebook and Twitter to ask the organisers for an explanation.
“If I hadn’t switched on the television on Sunday, I wouldn’t have even known this had happened,” Arif told Scroll.in. “It was my dad, who, because I’m this huge fan of Sridevi, called me to watch the show, saying there is something about her playing on television. And I looked and I realised it was my video playing on screen and being watched by the entire Bollywood fraternity.”
Arif’s video is a montage of scenes and songs from Sridevi’s popular movies. Each Sridevi image comes with a one-line excerpt from tributes carried by prominent publications and news media after the actress’s death.
In the IIFA version, this same video gets a new male voice-over. A watermark with the letters IIFA can be seen at the bottom of the screen in this version of the video.
“They’ve changed the voice-over and added a few stills here and there but the edits and the text are the same,” Arif claimed. “The essence of the video is the same.”
Arif is not looking for any monetary compensation from IIFA. “All I want is for IIFA to acknowledge that they didn’t put any effort into making this so-called tribute,” she said. “They did a disservice to a legend like Sridevi by lifting a video off the internet. What I’m most offended by is the fact these are people who hire professionals and have the resources for creating content for their show.”