The controversy surrounding the similarities between two recent films Seema Pahwa’s Ram Prasad Ki Terahvi and Umesh Bist’s Pagglait has now snowballed with Ms Pahwa claiming that Umesh Bist shot his film in the same haveli in Lucknow where Ms Pahwa’s film was shot.
Umesh Bist in a chat with me also claims he has not seen Ram Prasad Ki Terahvi. While commenting on the alleged similarities between the two films, Umesh said, “You are the best judge. I haven’t yet seen the other film. You have seen both.”
Said Ms Pahwa, “As far as I know they saw my film at (the Mumbai Film Festival). They made their film after mine. They are so much ahead of me in marketing, etc. Ekta Kapoor is the producer. She knows the business inside out. They could have easily made the changes needed. In fact, the mature thing to do would have been for the two teams to sit together and compare notes so that there would have been no embarrassing similarities.”
Ms Pahwa is not in the least angry. "I am just sad and puzzled. This whole episode could have been avoided." The veteran actress-turned-director is still willing to give the other film the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe it was just two minds thinking the same idea at the same time. I know it sounds far-fetched. But it’s not impossible. They even shot in the house that we did. Again it could because they saw that property to be cinema-friendly. Just as I felt that the house lent itself well to my vision, they too must have felt the same….I don’t know.”
Ms Pahwa pauses for pondering. Then says, “I just want to know why they didn’t make the necessary changes to avoid replication when they had the time to do. After all, we started shooting long before them. We released months before. Initially, they must have thought their film would turn out differently although both are about a joint family during the 13-day mourning after a death. But their protagonist is a young girl and ours an elderly lady. Unfortunately, the similarities between the two films don’t end there.”
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