There has been speculation for quite some time now about Shoojit Sircar’s Shoebite starring Amitabh Bachchan. The film has not released till date and the real reason behind it was unknown. Now, the original producer of the film Shailendra Singh has revealed the real reason behind the film being stalled. Revealing the reason he said that Shoojit and Big B shot film and even renamed the film without his consent as the script belonged to him. Calling it a ‘clear betrayal’, he said that he went to the court because rightfully the script belongs to him and whatever happened to him was ‘ethically wrong’. Also Read - Ayushmann Khurrana-Amitabh Bachchan's Gulabo Sitabo Accused of Plagiarism, Writer Juhi Says 'It is My Original Work'
Narrating the entire ordeal, he told IANS, “I wrote a story of an old man called Jonney D’Souza and how he sets out a journey to meet his bedridden wife and walks mile after mile. The whole incident happened around 13 years ago. After writing the story I went and narrated the story to Amitabh Bachchan because I wanted to cast him. He agreed to do the film and in the month of October — it was Dussehra — I paid the signing amount of Rs 1 crore and signed him as the lead actor of the film. Meanwhile, I also introduced Shoojit to Mr Bachchan as he was to direct the film. I knew Shoojit as the debutant film director of Yahaan that our Percept Picture Company had produced.” Also Read - Basu Chatterjee's Death: Amitabh Bachchan, Anurag Basu, Anil Kapoor Condole Legendary Filmmaker’s Demise
“The same year on December 31, an official from Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited came to me, saying that Mr Bachchan was interested to co-produce the film. I was clear that I want him as an actor and not as a producer. So I said ‘no’ to the offer. Meanwhile, I got to know that Shoojit had become the blue-eyed boy of Mr Bachchan and they were shooting a lot of ad films et cetera”, he further stated. Also Read - Neena Gupta on Why She Considers Herself 'Little' Successful: I am Not Amitabh Bachchan
Speaking about his film’s story being similar to ‘Labour of Love by M. Night Shyamalan, he said that he was asked to get an NOC from Shyamalan, then only Big B will agree to do the film. He added that he asked for some more time as Shyamalan is a Hollywood producer and he had a lot of paper work to finish. However, Big B refused to do the film until the issue is resolved.
According to Singh, when UTV Motion Pictures, Ronnie Screwvala came into the picture, they changed the name of the film to Shoebite. He claimed that they even shot the film without his consent. “If Mr Bachchan brought to my notice that the script is similar to that of Mr Shyamalan’ s, how come he, along with my director and my script, goes to another producer and makes the film? That is why the film is stuck! We had an injunction to the film, we went to the Court because rightfully the script belongs to me (as intellectual property) and also whatever happened to me was ethically wrong. It was a clear betrayal”, he said.
He explained, “On the other hand, as Ronnie Screwvala left UTV, and the film has a legal battle with me, no one is interested to release the movie.”
Talking about ending the legal battle, Singh gave out a solution and said, “I am ready to buy back the film at a depreciated price because it’s been a decade now. The film deserves to be released because it is a good story. When I see those tweets on social media where people are saying how the film should be released and it hasn’t been, it hurts! No one knows the real story behind the unreleased film. I will get all the NOCs that are required to release the film. But the world should know that it is originally my film and what exactly happened to the film.”