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Another Chiru film runs into trouble

Another Chiru film runs into trouble
Highlights

Months after his proposed project with Puri Jagannadh was embroiled in plagiarism charges, Chiranjeevi’s next, a remake of ‘Kaththi’, with VV Vinayak, ...

I wrote the story of ‘Kaththi’. I’m not against Chiranjeevi but I have been fighting for my name under story credits
- N Narasimha Rao

We have issued a ‘Non-Cooperation’ letter to Film Federation a couple of days back asking them not to work for the Telugu version unless the matter is resolved
- Maddineni Ramesh, General Secretary, Telugu Film Directors Association

Months after his proposed project with Puri Jagannadh was embroiled in plagiarism charges, Chiranjeevi’s next, a remake of ‘Kaththi’, with VV Vinayak, too, is headed in a similar direction. In the wake of the megastar setting grounds for his full-fledged return to acting, writer N Narasimha Rao, a protégé of Tamil director Shankar, asserts that he is the writer behind the 2014 original, which focused on the subject of farmers committing suicide due to corporate encroachments.

“I have penned the story in 2007 and registered it (with the title ‘Yaagam’) with Telugu Cine Writers Association. I narrated it to Tamil actor Vijay in 2010. I also worked for the Telugu version of his Tamil film ‘Thuppakki’ under the aegis of director AR Murugadoss. I re-narrated ‘Kaththi’ script to Vijay during ‘Thuppakki’ soundtrack launch.

“After watching ‘Kaththi’, I was taken aback and immediately filed a complaint at Telugu Film Directors Association (being a member) on 25-10-2014, claiming the ownership of the story,” states Narasimha Rao. Dasari Narayana Rao, Paruchuri Venkateswara Rao and Venkateswara Rao Maddineni formed a board, Katha Hakkula Committee, to find out whether ‘Kaththi’ script had any similarities with that of Narasimha Rao’s draft.

After looking into the matter, they along with Writers Association concurred with Narasimha’s claims and felt that he has to be compensated (monetarily and credit-wise). The negotiations to resolve the issue amicably have been going for the past one year with all the concerned stakeholders but nothing concrete, in favour of Narasimha, emerged.

“Narasimha Rao was supposed to make the script with Vijay under RB Chowdary’s SuperGood Films. They even roped SS Thaman for the music. Just when it was about to take off, Vijay exited, apprehending that a debutant may not execute such a grave script,” says Maddineni Ramesh, General Secretary, Telugu Film Directors Association, while adding, “Later, after watching ‘Kaththi’, Rao lodged a complaint with us claiming that the film was ripped off from his body of work.

We have been trying to resolve it since last six months. We got in touch with the makers of ‘Kaththi’ who agreed to compensate but unfortunately a few members of the Telugu Film Chamber are not allowing the issue to be settled and have been trying to reduce the compensation sum for some unknown reasons.”

After learning that the film is being remade in Telugu with Chiranjeevi, Rao now demands for his credits. “I have to thank the all the unions who stood by me. I wrote the story of ‘Kaththi’ and all I need is credits for the film. I’m not against Chiranjeevi but I have been fighting for my name under story credits and I appeal to the association to resolve my issue and do justice before the film takes off,” he sighs.

It is also understood that the Telugu Film Directors Association has written to Film Federation, cautioning members (of the 24 crafts) against extending support to the film’s shoot until and unless the issue is addressed in favour of Narasimha. “We have issued a ‘Non-Cooperation’ letter to Film Federation a couple of days back asking them not to work for the Telugu version unless the matter is resolved.

The Film Federation will forward it to the Film Chamber, which in turn will communicate to the makers of the Telugu version. Based on their response, further action would be initiated,” Ramesh adds. Meanwhile, Chiranjeevi camp was unavailable for a comment.

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