Juhi Chaturvedi has been accused of stealing the script of Gulabo Sitabo by screenwriter Rajeev Aggrawal's son Akira, who has alleged that she copied the story that was originally written by his late father.
Advocate Rizwan Siddiqui, on behalf of Aggrawal’s son has sent a legal notice to the makers of Gulabo Sitabo, which is scheduled to hit Amazon Prime Video on June 12, and has demanded to see the script. Akira has also filed a complaint at Mumbai’s Juhu Police Station in this regard.
Akira has also informed the Screenwriters Association about the matter. The SWA has also asked Chaturvedi to show them the script. As per Siddiqui, Rajeev Aggrawal took part in a script writing competition organised by the Screenwriters Association, of which Chaturvedi was a judge. He claimed that the script was copied during this competition.
Directed by Shoojit Sircar, Gulabo Sitabo is set in Lucknow. This is the first big budget Hindi film to opt for a direct release on OTT. The decision of taking it directly to Amazon Prime Video has also started a tug of war between Bollywood producers and exhibitors.
Chaturvedi and Sircar have earlier collaborated on films such as Vicky Donor, Madras Café, Piku and October.
Sircar has now responded to the allegations. He said, "To begin with, Juhi’s concept for the film was registered in 2018, much before the contest. Furthermore, Juhi never received a copy of the supposedly copied script. This has been independently confirmed by the script writing contest organisers as well. Lastly, our film’s story is different from that sent out in the notice. It is surprising how grave allegations are being made solely on the basis of a 2 minute 41 second trailer."
He added, "On May 29th, SWA ruled in favour of Juhi. Clearly the allegers are upset as the SWA decision didn’t go in their favor. Releasing the notice to the press, harassing us on social media, seems to be a deliberate attempt to malign Juhi and damage the film. We have full faith in our film. At this time, when we have taken the bold decision to release the film on OTT, these baseless allegations only create unnecessary controversy. We request the press to stand by us and condemn the behavior of these allegers and their lawyer for resorting to such tactics only for press, limelight and ulterior motives.”