Hyderabad-based filmmaker Nandi Chinni Kumar has sent legal notices to makers of upcoming Hindi movie Jhund and actor Amitabh Bachchan, who is playing the lead role in the film, for copyright infringement. Kumar, an independent filmmaker, sent the notices to Jhund director and producer, Nagraj Manjule, producer Krishan Kumar, T-Series Chairman and Managing Director Bhushan Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Slum Soccer founder Vijay Barse, on whose life the film is said to be based on.
The filmmaker told news agency IANS that he got the reply to the notice only from T-Series but it is ‘very vague’. Alleging that he was cheated and criminally intimidated by the makers of the film, Kumar plans to move the court to stop the screening of the movie in theatres, television and all digital platforms.
He claims that he bought exclusive rights in 2017 to make a movie on the life of Akhilesh Paul, a slum soccer player who was the Indian captain at the Homeless World Cup. Kumar had planned to write and direct the multilingual movie tentatively titled ‘Slum Soccer’ on the life of Akhilesh, who was born in slums of Nagpur and was addicted to drugs. However, his passion for football changed his life and he went on to lead India in the Homeless World Cup.
The filmmaker claims to have registered the story and script with Telangana Cinema Writers Association on June 11, 2018.”Though Nagaraj Manjule, director of Marathi blockbuster Sairat, bought the rights to make a movie on the life of Vijay Barse, who is the coach of Akhilesh Paul, his film Jhund also showcases Akhilesh’s story in a major role, thus allegedly violating the copyrights.
According to him, Nagraj Manjule claimed to have bought rights from Akhilesh Paul for Rs 4 lakh but was reluctant to show the documents. “Even Akhilesh denied selling him the rights. Nagraj humiliated me and forced to come for settlement without showing papers,” Kumar said.
The Hyderabad-based filmmaker also alleged that Savita Raj, one of the producers of Jhund, threatened his producer in September 2019 claiming Akhilesh Paul’s copyrights are with them.
Kumar said he has sent an email to Amitabh Bachchan and to Nagaraj and Jhund producers exposing copyright infringement and criminal intimidation but there was no reply.
He has also written to India Movie Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) and Telangana Cinema Writers Association and urged the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) not to issue censor certificate to the movie Jhund.