Porinju Mariam Jose, a film directed by Joshiy, with Joju George in the lead, is set to release this week. On Tuesday afternoon, a writer called Lizzy Joy posted on Facebook that her novel Vilappurangal and the characters in it have been plagiarised for the movie. A day later, Abhilash N Chandran, the scriptwriter of the film, put out a post, with a district court order that has ruled in favour of him.
Lizzy, in her long post, has alleged that she was made to write and rewrite the script several times without any payment, and that the makers had taken what they wanted from the script to make the film. âIt is in 2017 that David Kachappilly of David Kachappilly Productions and director Tom Emmatty approached me to write a script for a movie,â Lizzy says in the post.
According to Lizzy, after a lot of discussions and rewriting, she finished the script within a year and it was registered under the name âKattalan Porinjuâ by Danny Production at the Film Chamber in January 2018. News also came out that Mammootty would be playing the role of Kattalan Porinju.
But, when it was time to sign the agreement, differences cropped up between Danny Productions and David Kachappilly Productions, and director Tom Emmatty joined another project.
âIt is the story, characters and scenes that I wrote for âKattalan Porinjuâ that is now being claimed as a new story by the team of Porinju Mariam Jose. It is directed by Joshiy, produced by David Kachappilly Productions with Abhilash Chandran claiming to have written the script, and it is to be released by Keerthana Movies," Lizzy has alleged.
Lizzy has put down the important points in her script, detailing the characters and the plot. She has also expressed her disappointment that director Joshiy has reportedly said that one does not need anyoneâs permission to make a film about Gandhi or Nehru.
âHe meant that Kattalan Porinju and Mariam were also like that â they are real life characters, folklore. If thatâs the case, would they steal the character Budhni from Sara teacherâs (Sarah Joseph) new novel â Budhni is still alive. Will they dare to touch Bhiman in MT Vasudevan Nairâs Randamoozham, saying that he is a mythological character?â Lizzy has asked.
She has also attached photos of the email printouts of the script and changes she has sent several times, the hard copies and other proofs to make her case.
When TNM called scriptwriter Abhilash Chandran, he said that the case had come to the Thrissur District Court five months ago, when both Lizzy's and his scripts were examined and a verdict was pronounced in his favour. The judge had found no reason to believe that his script was a copy of Lizzy's. "The case was over five months ago. The reason she has put this post now is because the film is releasing on August 23 and she wants to give negative publicity to it," he says.
In the court order, the judge has said that it was not possible to "come to an opinion or impression" about the similarity between the two scripts and that on the face of it, the petitioner's claim does not seem to be valid.
The story Abhilash has written is one that's been with him for a long time, he claims. "It is a story related to a church festival. I come from Irinjalakuda and these characters -- Kattalan Porinju, Pandi Jose and Mariam - are celebrated as heroes here. They are known characters. It is only these characters that are common in both our scripts. The stories are different. I have struggled a lot as a writer and this is the first film for which I have written a script. It's hurt me a lot that such an allegation has been raised against me. I will proceed legally once the release is done," Abhilash says.
Director Joshiy too forwarded the court order, when asked for a response.