'96' director Prem Kumar counters plagiarism allegations made by Bharathiraja and Suresh

Director Bharathiraja’s assistant and filmmaker Suresh had alleged that ‘96’ is based on his script titled ‘92’ and that a mutual friend had presented the idea to Prem Kumar.
'96' director Prem Kumar counters plagiarism allegations made by Bharathiraja and Suresh
'96' director Prem Kumar counters plagiarism allegations made by Bharathiraja and Suresh
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The director of the recent smash hit film 96 has denied allegations of plagiarism at a press conference on Thursday, in response to director Bharathiraja’s assistant and filmmaker Suresh.

Hitting back at Suresh's allegations that he had made the film on the former's original idea, Prem Kumar underscored a couple of points.

Firstly, Prem Kumar asked how a film discussion took place without any rough notes or drafts.

"As far as I know, whenever I write, I will make a rough draft. When we discuss, we will take notes on that. Another assistant will also take notes. He could have at least showed that," said Prem Kumar.

Further, he questioned why Suresh did not come forward with the allegation about 96, when it sounded similar to his own alleged script 92.

"He said he did not see the announcement about 96 being made. He didn't see, nor did any of the three writers Kodiveeran, Rosemil or Surlipatti Sivaji. Did none of them see? Did they come to know of it only after it released and became a hit?" he asked.

96 has been a smash success across the south, having received rave reviews for its take on a simple childhood love story.

Suresh and Bharathiraja had stated in an interview to Cinema Vikatan that Prem Kumar had plagiarised the story of 96. In an interview to Silverscreen, Suresh had claimed that his mentor Bharathiraja had hugged him following his narration of the story.

Prem Kumar asked, "Firstly, the interval in the script is different. It was originally supposed to  be where the girl (Trisha's character Janani) asks where are you and the boy (Vijay Sethupathy's character Ram) says, I am right where you left me. After editing, we changed it to the car scene. Is this such a historic interval block that Bharathiraja hugged him?"

Prem Kumar, who reportedly screened the film for Bharathiraja, said that the yesteryear director watched the full film, contrary to Suresh's claim that he had walked out after 10 minutes.

"He went to attend a phone call. You can ask anyone at the screening. He came back and watched the whole film," Prem Kumar said.

Finally, the director expressed dismay at senior director Mardhu Pandian of Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu fame reportedly supporting these claims.

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