Movies

Udta Punjab faces plagiarism allegations; Anurag Kashyap ‘shocked’

A recent media report had pointed out High Society, a 2002 novel by Ben Elton as a possible inspiration for the film.

Months after its release, plagiarism allegations against Udta Punjab, a film on widespread drug abuse in Punjab, seem to have come as much of a bolt from the blue for the producers as the viewers. “I don’t have anything to say. I am completely shocked by the same, haven’t read the book,” Anurag Kashyap told The Hindu.

Kashyap, one of the producers of the film, had earlier lead from the front in its battle against the CBFC.

A recent media report had pointed out High Society, a 2002 novel by Ben Elton as a possible inspiration for the film and an article in a news website nailed it further by detailing the striking similarities between certain characters, situations, plot points and devices used in the novel and consequently in the film as well.

What changes is the setting and the socio-political context — how it sheds light on the havoc drugs are wreaking in Punjab. “I know for a fact that my director and writer went and spent a lot of time in Punjab researching the film, and have seen the research. If they were in any which way inspired by the book, which only they know, they have done a damn good job in the writing of the script. Because the film that I read and I saw, seemed very very rooted in the land,” said Kashyap.

The film’s writer Sudip Sharma, while admitting to having read the book, said he couldn’t remember much of it and pointed out Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic and an article in Tehelka as his inspirations.

Plagiarism is not new to Bollywood. Just a few years ago a post on a blog had gone viral for detailing the scene-by-scene lifts from foreign films in Anurag Basu’s Barfi.

The director of the film, Abhishek Chaubey, did not respond to our queries.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 11:49:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Udta-Punjab-faces-plagiarism-allegations-Anurag-Kashyap-%E2%80%98shocked%E2%80%99/article14827718.ece

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