South filmmaker Shankar on Thursday dismissed an allegation of copyright violation by his Tamil blockbuster Anniyan producer V Ravichandran, a day after the acclaimed director announced the film's Hindi adaptation.
Actor Ranveer Singh is set to headline the Bollywood film, an adaptation of the 2005 psychological action thriller featuring South star Vikram in the lead. Ravichandran of Aascar Film P Ltd, sent a legal notice to Shankar on Wednesday, claiming that he was "shocked" to learn that the filmmaker was proceeding with the Hindi film adaptation despite not holding its rights.
In a letter addressed to the director, Ravichandran said he had bought the "entire story rights" from writer Sujatha and was the "whole and sole owner of the rights of the storyline."
Hence, the act of adapting or remaking the film without his permission would be "totally illegal." Responding to Ravichandran, Shankar said the script of "Anniyan" is with him and he is entitled to exploit it.
"Everyone associated with the movie were aware that the script and storyline belongs exclusively to me and, in fact, the movie was released with the tag: Story, Screenplay and Direction by Shankar. I have not assigned in writing any script or screenplay to any person, and continue to retain the right to exploit the script in any manner I deem fit.
"As the admitted author of the literary work, my rights cannot be interfered with under any circumstances," the 57-year-old director said in a statement. Shankar, known for directing blockbusters like Rajinikanth''s Enthiran, 2.0 and Sivaji The Boss said the late writer Sujatha was engaged by him to write dialogues for the film and was accordingly credited.
"He was not involved in the script, screenplay or characterisation in any manner, and there is no scope beyond his engagement as a dialogue writer. Given that the script vests with me, I am absolutely entitled to exploit the same in any manner I deem fit."
The adaptation, billed as a pan-India project, will be produced by Jayantilal Gada of Pen Studios. God Bless Entertainment is attached as the film's co-producer. The director said Ravichandran does not have the right to remake or make any derivative rights for Anniyan, as "the said rights have not been granted to you in writing.'"
"In the absence of any assignment in writing from me, there can be no basis whatsoever to even assert that the 'storyline' vests with you," the statement read. Shankar called out the producer for attempting to "unjustly enrich" himself in the director's future endeavours which have no correlation to him.
"This reply is issued without prejudice, and to clarify the actual situation of me as a director and writer being subject to such avaricious and illegal claims to needlessly attempt to jeopardise my future projects," the statement further read.
The film is slated to go on the floors in mid 2022.