Anbu went on a 10 day fast, claiming that AR Murugadoss’s 'Kaththi' is based on his short film 'Thaaga Bhoomi' that came out in 2013.

Murugadoss must acknowledge my contribution to Kaththi Writer Anbu Rajasekar
Flix Controversy Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 12:18

Writer and short film director Anbu Rajasekar was on a hunger strike for ten days from October 31 to November 10. Anbu, a native of Ilankaadu village in Thanjavur district, began his strike along with his family members in Chennai on account of his long pending case against director AR Murugadoss.

Anbu claims that AR Murugadoss’s Kaththi is based on his short film Thaaga Bhoomi that came out on 20 February 2013. A couple of days after he began his fast, Anbu was admitted to the Government Hospital at Royapettah and was discharged only after he was requested to end it. In an interview with TNM, Anbu recalled his long struggle to get recognition for his work.

Fight for acknowledgment

Anbu shares that in 14 June 2013, he had emailed AR Murugadoss this very short film, hoping to join him as an assistant director. Anbu says he was responding to Murugadoss’s tweet from 30 May, 2013 calling for assistant director aspirants.

Not receiving any response from Murugadoss, Anbu continued making other short films like Meignnanam, Bale, Thazhppal etc.

Anbu further says, "When my film released, it was selected for the Norway Tamill Film Festival and won second prize in a short film contest judged by Director Balu Mahendra. Ananda Vikatan Magazine too gave the film 4 stars on 5. Following  this, I was invited for an interview on Thanthi TV."

So when Murugadoss’s Kaththi released on October 2014, he was shocked to see that the film looked similar to his short film. Anbu also shares a scene by scene comparison of his short film to the feature film, substantiating his claim.

Dismayed that his story was used without his permission, Anbu wrote to Murugadoss on October 26, 2014 for which he never got any response either.

On November 15, 2014, Anbu with the help of his lawyer sent a notice to director AR Murugadoss, lead actor Vijay, producers K Karunamoorthi and A Subashkaran and cinematographer George C Williams, asking for them to respond within 15 days. Anbu shares that while he never got any response from the others, the production company Lyca responded by saying that they had no connection with the film’s story and that Murugadoss had approached them with it.

On December 26 that year, Anbu filed a petition with the Tanjore High Court against the five, the case for which is still ongoing. Anbu says that in spite of 3 summons, no one had appeared before the court for the hearings.

Having spent 4 years without any success, on November 8, 2018, a petition signed by over 100 villagers from Tanjore was submitted to the Chief Minister’s office. Anbu currently awaits an appointment with the Chief Minister.

On October 25, 2018, Anbu filed a criminal case under Intellectual Rights with the Commissioner of Police in Chennai.

While Anbu awaits justice for his case, he is pained by total indifference from Murugadoss’s side. “I have waited enough. I lost a lot of things in life because of this. It is too late for them to include my name in the credits. I want Murugadoss to come forward and acknowledge my contribution,” he says.

Storyline

Murugadoss’s Kaththi is the story of a young man who helps farmers retain their cultivable lands when faced with the imminent threat of a corporate buy-out.

Anbu’s Thaaga Bhoomi, on the other hand, is a 14-minute short film that shows the plight of a poor farmer who first persuades his fellow farmers to hold off on the signing of documents that’d transfer their cultivable lands to a corporate buyer, but then ends up taking his life in defeat towards the end.

Water and the lack of rain play a pivotal role in both the films. Although the final films differ in great lengths, Anbu claims that the flashback sequence in Kaththi is based on his short film. He also draws scene by scene comparison with the former, drawing parallels between the elements seen in his film and the Vijay starrer by Murugadoss.

He particularly draws attention to the suicide scene in the film, claiming that his film was the first to show a farmer using a sickle to take his own life.

This, however, is not the first time a plagiarism allegation is being leveled against Murugadoss. Aramm director Gopi Nainar in 2014 had accused Murugadoss of plagiarising his story and had also filed a petition. However, he later withdrew the case.

How did Anbu feel when he came to know of the charges, especially since his allegations were similar? “I was shocked that Gopi sir had claimed the story to be his. But I had not interacted with him nor have I met him. I do not have anything to add on that,” he says.

TNM attempted to get in touch with Murugadoss for his views but did not receive any response from the director.

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