As President of the South Indian Film Writers’ Association, Bhagyaraj had supported Varun Rajendran's claims that the storyline of the Vijay-starrer was lifted from him.

Days after Sarkar row Bhagyaraj quits as chief of film writers associationK Bhagyaraj/ Wikimedia Commons/ CCBYSA3.0
Flix Kollywood Friday, November 02, 2018 - 14:40

Days after the plagiarism row over the Tamil film Sarkar ended with an out-of-court settlement, the President of the South Indian Film Writers’ Association, K Bhagyaraj has stepped down, saying that fresh elections should be held for office bearers of the writing body.

In a statement to the press on Friday, he wrote, "I was unanimously chosen as leader of this Association, unopposed. I resolved to work honestly, according to my conscience. Everything was going well. Suddenly, the Association got a complaint regarding the film Sarkar.  After analysing the complaint, we found that the concerned complainant (Varun Rajendran) was telling the truth. On account of this, in order to help him get justice, all important office-bearers met, discussed and arrived at a decision. We were also able to implement the decision."

Bhagyaraj had sided with filmmaker Varun Rajendran, who claimed that the plot for Sarkar was lifted from his script titled, Sengol.

'Inconveniences following Sarkar decision'

Bhagyaraj went on to state that he had to face a lot of "inconveniences" on account of this decision.

"We were also able to implement the decision. But, I had to face many inconveniences in that. I think the reason for this (the inconveniences) is because I didn't face elections and directly came to occupy the post of leader. A few malpractices in the Association came to my attention. A lot of rules also need changing. Unless these are corrected, I think it is not possible to protect the reputation of the Association and the welfare of its members. As a writer, I think of that as my primary responsibility," he wrote.

At the end of his statement, Bhagyaraj also clarified that he was not going to divulge what the inconveniences were.

"What were the inconveniences I faced? In view of the welfare of the Association and its good name, I don't wish to reveal these improprieties," he wrote.

Call for fresh elections

Proposing fresh elections, the writer-filmmaker wrote, "The only way for that is I, and people like me, who have come to occupy these posts unopposed have to resign, contest fairly in elections, and then occupy these posts."

Bhagyaraj also said that he had no right to force others to resign along with him. However, he said that those who shared his views could resign with a view to conducting fair elections.

Gauging that the call for fresh elections may be unpopular, he remarked, "Many may opine that given the affairs of the Association at present, elections are a needless expenditure. But, it is better that expenditure goes to waste, than the Association as a whole."

Bhagyaraj promised that if a decision is made to hold elections, then he would participate and duly contest.

Apology to Sun Pictures

Bhagyaraj also apologised to Sun Pictures for being forced to reveal the plotline of such a big production.

"Despite me begging [director] Murugadoss, it was to no avail. Without any other go, I was pushed into such a circumstance that I had to reveal the plotline of such a big film as Sarkar by a big production house like Sun Pictures. Understanding that this too is a mistake, I apologise to the producer of Sun Pictures," he wrote.

In response to the fimmaker's resignation, Manojkumar, the General Secretary of the South Indian Film Writers' Association released a statement saying that all officer bearers were informed of his decision over the phone and that they had all rejected the same. "Thereby we are affectionately conveying that you will continue as President of the Association," the letter said.

Over the past few weeks, Sarkar, which is all set for a Deepavali release, was plagued by allegations of plagiarism by young filmmaker Varun Rajendran, who claimed that the story for the film was lifted from his registered script titled Sengol.

On October 30, the issue came to an end with the makers of the film and Varun arriving at an out-of-court settlement. With Varun's claims being validated, the makers told the Madras High Court that the film would thank Varun in the credits.

However, during the whole ordeal, Bhagyaraj was slammed by Sarkar director AR Murugadoss for supporting Varun.

When Varun’s case was heard by the South Indian Film Writers Association, Bhagyaraj had remarked that the stories were indeed similar.

Bhagyaraj was also the subject of a barrage of online memes by fans of actor Vijay, even as there were doubts over whether the film would release as scheduled, on November 6.

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