Bollywood filmmaker Shirish Kunder's latest short film Kriti went viral by garnering over million views just in two days after its release on YouTube. The internet exploded with appreciation, especially from Bollywood A-listers.
But, it seems Khundar's latest success is very short-lived due to a controversy.
Khundar has been accused of copying the plot of Kriti from a Nepali film BOB. Aneel Neupane, a Nepali short-filmmaker, wrote in a Facebook post detailing his and his team's struggle making the film with a mere budget of Rs 32,000.
“My team at Jazz Productions and I worked super hard to make our latest release BOB. We gave our blood and sweat to this project,” wrote Aneel on Facebook.
“Initially, I thought maybe the first few frames, the setting and characters resembled BOB. I thought it was just a co-incidence. I was actually excited to watch a short film (Kriti)starring Mr. Manoj Bajpayee (A great actor whom I admire a lot!) and Neha sharma (whom I’ve had a HUGE crush on ever since I saw her in the movie Crook). As the movie progressed, I was shocked to find so much similarities,” he added.
“Now, I have no idea how to go about on this. I’m angry not because Mr. Shirish Kunder practically stole the plot and made it into his film. I’m angry because We didn’t even have lunch money while shooting BOB, and a spot boy for Kriti probably made more money than BOB’s entire budget. My team and I didn’t work our asses off just so some rich dude from India could turn it into this and get away with it. That’s just not fair,” rued Aneel.
Aneel's BOB, which was published on May 12 has just received about 30,000 YouTube views at the time of writing this article. On the other hand, Khundar's Kriti starring Manoj Bajpayee, Radhika Apte and Neha Sharma, has crossed 1.5 million views on YouTube.
However, Khundar was quick to rubbish allegations of plagiarism as “baseless.”
“To those comparing #Kriti with some short film released on May 12, 2016:#Kriti was shot in February, 2016,” Khundar tweeted. “Hope this settles the matter.”
“About their claims of a private Vimeo link shared with close friends on October 2015: I'm not even their friend. Let alone close friend,” he added.
Even as Khundar denying the allegations of plagiarism, there are striking similarities between the two short-films. In both the films, the lead characters are suffering from a psychological disorder struggling to understand what's real and what's illusion. Both the films begin with their lead characters sitting in a session with their psychiatrists. In the end, both are advised by their psychiatrists to bump off their imaginary friends.
Is it just a big coincidence or Khundar copied the story from Aneel's film? Only an unbiased and thorough probe into the matter can find an answer to it.