They say history repeats itself. And yet again, Bollywood is embroiled over a copyright issue. Both Ayushmann Khurrana’s Bala and Sunny Singh’s Ujda Chaman, revolve around the plight of a young bald man. The Abhishek Pathak directorial was scheduled to release on November 8, a week before Bala’s release. However, yesterday, the makers of Bala announced a new release date, which was just a day before Ujda Chaman was scheduled to hit the silver screen. Now, Ayushmann’s Bala will release on November 7 instead of November 15. The makers released the trailer online and then after a few hours, they shared new posters of Bala.
And guess what, the striking parallels between the two films have left the makers of Ujda Chaman fuming. Ujda Chaman’s director, Abhishek Pathak let out that his film is the official remake of the Kannada hit, Ondu Motteya Kathe. “I believe good stories need to be seen by a maximum number of people. My company Panorama Studios always looks out for such gems. Alone and Drishyam are official remakes by us. We acquired Ondu Motteya Kathe in the last quarter of 2018, with a clear intention to release my version within a year. My team suggested November 8 for release and our campaign commenced. In contrast, the Bala team has been changing their release date, from November 22 to November 15 to November 7, which is a day before my film. Not sure how this will help, I think it harms both films and the industry at large,” Pathak told a leading daily.
Pathak also said that Ayushmann Khurrana is a viable name today and his film wouldn’t have been affected by Ujda Chaman. “We are discussing it with our legal team and will take action in a few days. This is a clear case of copyright violation. I can understand two films around a bald character releasing within a short span of time, but in this case, there are striking similarities with my film and the original whose rights are with me,” he said regarding taking a legal route against the makers of Bala.
While producer of Bala, Dinesh Vijan of Maddock Films, issued an official statement saying, “Bala has been in the works for several months now as it has been widely reported in the press. The film is very close to our hearts as a project because we want to meaningfully contribute to the conversation on challenging social themes of our times, like the widespread stigmatization of baldness and dark skin. If there are multiple films that deal with one of these themes, it’s all the more variety for the viewers to choose from which can never be a bad thing. It’s quite unfortunate if someone, especially a fellow filmmaker, sees this as anything but a positive for audiences. Maddock stands firmly by the originality of its film, and will back its projects all the way, including through legal recourse if need be.”