Documentary filmmaker, Praveen Vyas has sent a legal notice to the Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, the distribution company of Toilet Ek Prem Katha and the film’s producers alleging that several moments and dialogues from the film were lifted from his award winning documentary film Manini. Manini had won the third prize at the prestigious International Film Festival of India (IFFI) last year in Goa.
“We have sent a legal notice to Viacom 18, as Toilet Ek Prem Katha seems to be a frame to frame copy of the plot and theme of our documentary film, Manini. We had submitted the film at the International Fillm festival Of India (IFFI), in Goa 2016. There were around 4500 entries at the festival, all having Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan as the theme. We have sent a four pager notice to the makers of Toilet (Toilet: Ek Prem Katha) and they sent us a reply only after ten days, that too asking for more time to review our notice,” Praveen Vyas said in a statement.
He also mentioned, “it is quite evident from the film’s trailer that it is a copy of Manini, because even Manini revolves around a woman protagonist protesting the fact that her marital house doesn’t have a toilet. The scene where the protagonist’s female relatives come to wake her up before sunrise to perform ablutions in the open field.”
The film was uploaded on the official website of the National Film Development Corporation, and awarded a certification of appreciation by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Information and Broadcast Minister of State.
“It’s plot was novel and the characters unique and my docu-feature was commended for its creativity and treatment. No one can make another cinematographic work or any other derivative work without my written consent if their work directly resembles mine,” Praveen Vyas said told Mumbai Mirrors.
The report further mentioned that screenplay writer, Shanker Arnimesh who had collaborated with Praveen was equally taken aback after watching the trailer of Toilet Ek Prem Katha.
“The makers of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha had two weeks, which was extended to a further seven days, to respond to the notice. They reverted through their legal team at Naik Naik & Co. on June 28. Since they have denied all our allegations and refused to monetarily compensate us for the origin of idea and script, we will now be fighting this in court,” said Shanker.
Meanwhile. Shital Bhatia, co-producer of Toilet Ek Prem Katha rubbished all allegations. “These allegations are baseless and border on harassment. The script of our film has been registered under our writers’ names, Siddharth and Garima, with the authorised industry association since 2013. Furthermore, the film has been in the public domain through various news stories since July 2015. We firmly deny all the claims made by this gentleman who is obviously misled. It is sad that genuine producers have become soft targets for this kind of nuisance,” he said.
Earlier this year, Akshay Kumar’s film, Jolly LLB 2 was also sued by a shoe company for wrongly using their name in the film.