NS Madhavan accuses Higuita makers of being 'parasitic'; title the only connection, responds film director

N S Madhavan
N S Madhavan says he is deeply shocked by the turn of events. Photo: Twitter

Writer and political commentator N S Madhavan, who lashed out at the makers of the upcoming Malayalam movie 'Higuita' for using the title of his acclaimed short story as the movie name, said he was saddened and shocked by the turn of events. 

Responding to the issue, 'Higuita' director Hemanth Nair told Onmanorama that he is at a loss about why the title of the movie has become a controversy now as the poster was released three years ago.

Speaking to Onmanorama, the writer said he was saddened and shocked by the turn of events. “I pray that good sense prevails upon them. They are trying to piggyback  on my story’s undoubted popularity. Such actions would deprive authors of making a movie or selling the movie rights by claiming this title,” he said.

According to Madhavan, he came across the title poster only recently. “I am deeply shocked because Higuita was not a well-known goalkeeper. If you go through the 1986 reports, his name might have cropped up twice or thrice. He had caught my fancy and that is how I wrote the story. The filmmakers can't present it as one of the goalkeepers. The player came into Kerala's consciousness through me,” Madhavan argued.

The writer reiterated that he is deeply hurt. “I am still in a state of shock and have not formulated my thoughts clearly. There is no logic in naming a movie Higuita, had I not written a story. There were hundreds of goalkeepers at that time,” he said. 

Madhavan added that the filmmakers were being 'parasitic'. “Generally, Malayalam cinema is very respective of its writers. These people are being parasitic,” he said.

Clearing the air, Hemanth told Onmanorama that other than the title, the movie is in no way connected to Madhavan's short story. "His story has not been used to make our film. Higuita is a Colombian goalkeeper and we have used his name in the movie,” Hemanth said. 

He added that he decided to name his movie after a goalkeeper because his film talks about politics. “The story revolves around a politician. A political leader is someone who defends his party like a goalkeeper. We wanted a name with a punch, which is why we decided to name the film 'Higuita',” he said.

He added that he never thought the movie's title would court controversy since they have not used any characters, plot or mention from the book in the movie. “I never wanted to hurt N S Madhavan, whom I also deeply respect, in any way. It is only the name which has a resemblance. Anyway, I will be talking about the issue with my producers. I don't wish this to become a controversy,” he said.

Earlier the day, in a series of tweets, NS Madhavan said it was 'unfortunate' that the name of his popular short story was being used as the title of the upcoming film.

“Malayalam cinema has always loved and respected writers. What this venture has done is it has taken away my rights on the title of a movie based on my story, which generations have studied in schools. I wish no writer in any language to suffer my plight,” he tweeted (SIC).

NS Madhavan's short story focused on a Catholic priest named Geevarghese who was a fan of the famous and retired Colombian football goalkeeper Rene Higuita. Though the story does not have any direct link to the legendary goalkeeper, his traits have been imbibed to shape the protagonist's character.

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