The producer claims to have bought the full rights of the story from Tamil writer Sujatha.

Anniyan song Aiyangaru Veetu Azhage starring Vikram and SadhaScreenshot/MXPlayer
Flix Kollywood Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 16:06

Director Shankar announced on April 14, that his next project would be a “modern-day adaptation” of his 2005 Tamil film Anniyan. This new project starring Ranveer Singh is likely to begin filming around mid-2022. Less than a day after the announcement, the director has now received a letter from the Tamil film’s producer ‘Aascar' V Ravichandran of Aascar Film Private Limited who claims to have bought the full rights of the story from Tamil writer Sujatha.

Ravichandran, in his letter, claims to hold the rights to the film’s storyline. “The entire story rights were purchased by me from the writer Sujatha (alias late Rangarajan) for which full payment was done by me to him and necessary records are also available. I am the whole and sole owner of the rights of the storyline. As such, any such adoption or remaking or copying the main plot of the said movie, without my permission, is totally illegal,” he said.

Further alleging that he had helped Shankar regain his “lost ground” after the debacle of Boys in 2003, Ravichandran asked him to stop work on the new project at once. He also adds that a legal notice follows the letter. “It is a sorry state of affairs that you have conveniently forgotten the same and without even informing me, you have tried to reap the accolades of my successful movie ‘Anniyan’ by associating yourself and an adaptation of the Hindi version of the same. I am sure you always maintain certain ethical values, hence I wonder how you can stoop to a low level by resorting to such unlawful acts. You are hereby advised to immediately stop proceeding any further on the same, due to the illegal copying of the storyline for which the entire rights are held by me,” the rest of his letter states.

While Sujatha had penned the film’s dialogues, the story of Anniyan is reportedly by Shankar. At the time of the release, parallels were drawn between the film and some of the most popular stories on multiple personality disorder like Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Sydney Sheldon’s Tell Me Your Dreams. Anniyan, a commercial film starring Vikram, showed the story of a man suffering from multiple personality disorder, wherein one of his personalities, who goes by the name Anniyan (foreigner), goes on a killing spree against all those who bend and break the law. The film also starred Sadha and was shot in Shankar’s usual style with some of the songs shot in Amsterdam and Malaysia.

Around the time of its release, Shankar had said in an interview with The Hindu that with the film’s story, he was trying to “solve the inherent weakness within our society and some motivation to move forward like other nations.”

Sujatha alias (late) S Rangarajan was a well known writer among Tamil readers for his fast fiction and novels. The writer has also collaborated with directors such as Mani Ratnam and Shankar. With Shankar, his first collaboration was Indian starring Kamal Haasan that was released in 1996. Since then, the writer has worked with Shankar in almost all of his films, until the former’s death in 2008. This includes Mudhalvan (1999), Boys (2003), Anniyan (2005), and Sivaji (2007). The writer passed away in 2008 while he was working on Shankar’s big-budget sci-fi film Enthiran, which was released two years later in 2010. 

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