Wilson Louis: Never accused Anurag of stealing my idea
After Wilson Louis notes how Netflix's Choked seems identical to his short film Choke, Anurag Kashyap calls him to clear the air; director to not pursue legal action
Director Wilson Louis was in for a rude shock last week when he chanced upon the trailer of Anurag Kashyap's upcoming film, Choked. The almost identical titles aside, the Netflix film had a lot in common with the Louis-directed Choke — if the Saiyami Kher starrer revolves around a housewife who finds money flowing out of her kitchen pipe, the 2019 short film starring Seema Biswas tells the story of a BMC officer who hides gold in a choked pipe of his building.
On Friday, Louis, in a terse Facebook post, highlighted the uncanny similarities between the two stories. "Hansal Mehta, whom I have worked with in the past, reached out to me after reading my post. He had seen Anurag's film and was sure it's an original concept. By then, I had contacted Monika Shergill [VP, content, Netflix] who was taken aback by the similarities," shares the director.
A poster of Choke
Soon after, Kashyap called the filmmaker to discuss the matter. "I never accused Anurag of stealing [my idea]. But, let's admit that we live in an industry where ideas are often passed around. Writers don't feel secure about their material, and creators don't have the integrity to credit the original writers. In such a scenario, you assume the worst in everyone. After the conversation, we agreed that both films have an uncanny resemblance as far as the idea is concerned." During the chat, Kashyap also informed him that writer Nihit Bhave had registered his script with Screen Writers' Association as early as June 2013. "I am not pressing charges of plagiarism. However, after consulting my team and lawyer, I want to put forth the fact that we created the film first and released its promo a year ago," adds Louis.
On his part, Bhave reiterates he had developed the story in 2013 with Choked as the title. "I have years' worth of correspondence on e-mail as I shared the script with multiple producers. Once Anurag decided to helm it, we developed it together over five years and tweaked it to include demonetisation. Wilson and Anurag have agreed that there is no similarity between the two films, apart from the title and [the plot point of] the pipe. Also, since my script was registered four years before his, shouldn't I be the one worrying about similarities?" FICCI Frames corroborated that Bhave had sold the script of Choked to Phantom Films in 2015 at their event, Frame Your Ideas.
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