A police complaint has been filed against the makers of Gulabo Sitabo, and the scriptwriter Juhi Chaturvedi has been accused of plagiarism. However, in a recent report, she claimed that the story is her original work and said that the charges are "baseless allegations" made to "create unnecessary controversy".
Talking to IANS she revealed, "My conscience is clear, and so are the facts in this matter. Gulabo Sitabo is my original work and I am proud of it. I shared the idea with the director (Shoojit Sircar) and lead actor (Amitabh Bachchan) of the film in early 2017. I subsequently registered the concept note for the film in May 2018,"
On Saturday, Akira Agarwal, son of late writer Rajeev Agarwal claimed that he had submitted a story titled "16, Mohandas Lane" in a the Cinestaan India's Storyteller Script Contest, where Chaturvedi was a jury member. He revealed the story in the month of March 2018, after which it had been shortlisted, and on June 28, 2018, the final script was submitted, which all the jury members had full access to. Akira Agarwal's legal notice to the makers stated a demand to see the film's complete script.
Juhi Chaturvedi's Response To Aligations
Talking about Akira's claims, Chaturvedi said, "I also must clarify the speculations around my conduct as a jury member for Cinestaan's contest. I had no access to the so-called infringed script at any point in time, as alleged. This fact has been independently confirmed by Cinestaan as well. Even the Screenwriters Association (SWA), who has looked at this dispute in May 2020, decided in my favour. I speak now to request the press and public not to be disillusioned by false accusations, which are for publicity only. Acts of harassment, defamatory comments, and leaking confidential notices by the accusers only show their lack of faith in their own case. I stand by my truth."
Producer Ronnie Lahiri On Allegations
Gulabo Sitabo producer, Ronnie Lahiri of Rising Sun Films, opened up about the allegations and said, "Clearly the allegers are upset as the SWA decision didn't go in their favour. Releasing the notice to the press, harassing Juhi and the Gulabo Sitabo producers on social media, seems to be a deliberate attempt to malign Juhi and damage the film."
Anjum Rajabali Of Cinestaan Script Contest Reveals The Jury Process
On the other hand, Anjum Rajabali, Jury Chairman of the Cinestaan Script Contest, said, "While it is true that '16, Mohandas Lane' was submitted to the first edition of the Cinestaan India's Storytellers Script Contest of which Juhi Chaturvedi was one of the jury members, we want to clarify that she had absolutely no access to this particular script." Sharing the process, Anjum revealed that out of 126 scripts, only final eight scripts that were shortlisted for the third stage, "were sent to the other three jury members, Aamir Khan, Raju Hirani and Juhi Chaturvedi, to be read by them and by me again."
"From among these, five were selected for the awards, and ranked in order of merit. While '16, Mohandas Lane' made it to the top 20, it did not enter the final list of 8 scripts which were sent to the jury. The jury, including Juhi, had absolutely no access to any script except for the 8 which were sent to them. So, it is totally incorrect to assume that since Juhi Chaturvedi was on the contest's jury she had received the said script. There is clear documentation, including a trail of e-mails from myself to each jury member, which bears out the above facts unambiguously," Rajabali further shared.
Talking about Shoojit Sircar's comedy-drama Gulabo Sitabo, it stars Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana in the lead roles as an old landlord and shrewd tenant respectively. The film will premiere worldwide on June 12, on Amazon Prime Video.