An Indian-origin American filmmaker has filed a copyright infringement suit against Akshay Kumar’s upcoming production Mission Mangal, based on India’s 2013 Mars Orbiter Mission, Mid-Day reported. Filmmaker Radha Bharadwaj moved the Bombay High Court on Wednesday seeking a halt on the film’s production, according to the newspaper. She alleged that the movie’s premise is similar to a screenplay she had shared with producer Atul Kasbekar in 2016.
Produced by Kumar’s Cape of Good Films, Fox Star Studios and R Balki, Mission Mangal focuses on the women behind the historic launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Mangalyaan space probe on November 5, 2013. The film stars Kumar, Vidya Balan and Sanjay Kapoor along with Sharman Joshi, Kirti Kulhari, Tapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha and Nithya Menen.
According to Mid-Day, Bharadwaj said she had registered her script with the US Copyright Office in 2016 and had recently completed shooting the film, titled Space MOMs. Her lawyer, Srishti Ojha, told the publication that while the story of the space probe could be told in many ways, the idea to focus on the women was Bharadwaj’s.
The filmmaker reportedly approached Kasbekar’s Ellipsis Entertainment in 2016, seeking funding for her film. According to the lawsuit, the firm had signed a non-disclosure agreement with her, Mid-Day said. However, in an email, Kasbekar’s team admitted that they had shared the script with Balan, the lawsuit reportedly said.
Bharadwaj told Mid-Day that she does not think Kumar or the other producers knew these details when they began work on the film. “But now that they know it, I ask them to act honourably,” she said. “I have documentation going back to 2014 on my efforts to bring this story to screen.”
A representative from Ellipsis Entertainment told Mid-Day that the firm had parted ways with Bharadwaj “amicably” over creative differences. He added, “Ellipsis is not connected with the film that is currently under production in any way.”