There is a question of who the real author of the script for Samir Karnik’s Nanhe Jaisalmer is. The film stars Bobby Deol. Nikhil Saini, an associate of Boney Kapoor, claims that the original idea and the script was his and took his case before the Film Writers Association Dispute Committee. The committee agrees with Saini and has found Karnik guilty of stealing the script.
Nitin Saini says, “Samir Karnik has stabbed me in the back. I never thought that he would do something like this to me. Nanhe Jaisalmer is originally my script and screenplay. I used to know him very well as he had made Kyon… Ho Gaya Na for Boneyji. I narrated the film to him in good faith but I never knew that he would make some cosmetic changes and make his own film out of it. I just came to know about this when I saw the promos and read in the newspapers about the story of a child in awe of a star. I tried to call him, but he avoided my calls and said that he was out of the country. Then I complained to the writers association who tried to contact him but to no avail. Finally, a joint tribunal sat for discussion and compared both the scripts and found them to be similar. They ruled it in my favour and now we have a meeting today afternoon to take the final decision.”
Adding that, “I’ve claimed for Rs 20 lakhs and the money aspect is still to be settled. I’ve also asked for the credit as a writer for the film. Let’s see how that happens considering the prints are already out.” The committee is meeting today to consider what is the next step.
However Karnik says that the claim is totally false. “Saini is a liar. I wrote this script in December 2005 and was ready with the screenplay and dialogue by January 2006. I not only registered it in the writers association but also at the copyright office in Delhi. Only after that I started shooting for the film. Why did Saini not come forward with his complaint when the promos were on May? Obviously he now wants to extort money since the release is just around the corner.”
Karnik added, “When I got this letter and notice, I probed further and found out that his script is based on a 1985 Hollywood film called Purple Rose of Cairo which was a Woody Allen film. His film deals with the story of a depressed child while mine is about a real-life character and a boy in Jaisalmer. How can he accuse me of stealing his script? I will expose him at the meeting today. All I can say is that this is a nice way to extort money and create unwanted problems for a filmmaker.”
“I’m gonna fight for it. I’m not gonna give up. The only good thing this controversy has done is that it has generated publicity for my film,” Karnik said.
With the release date set for September 14th, it will be interesting to see if it in fact does open on Friday and who will get final credit for the script.