The Mumbai Police filed a First Information Report (FIR) on Friday against actor Kangana Ranaut and others following author Ashish Kaul’s accusation of copyright infringement against them regarding the Hindi film Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi‘s sequel calling it a “white collar crime”.
Among the umpteen complaints filed against Ranaut for her comments and opinions over interviews and Twitter regarding several ongoing issues including the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and the farmers’ protest, the latest FIR was filed following an order of the Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Bandra on Tuesday under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The FIR has been registered against Ranaut, her sister Rangoli Chandel, Kamal Kumar Jain and Manikarnika Films Private Limited for infringement of the copyright which amounts to criminal breach of trust, cheating, cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may ensure to person whose interest offender is bound to protect as well as cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, punishable under Section 406, 415, 418, 34, 120 B And 420 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 51, 63, 63A and other provision of the Copyright Act, 1957 and Section 65 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The police will continue investigating on the several offences and violations in the case.
On January 14, Ranaut announced on Twitter that her 2019 period drama film Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is coming with a sequel “#ManikarnikaReturns The Legend of Didda” in which she will be playing the role of the queen of Kashmir.
— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) January 14, 2021
Speaking to Silverscreen India, Kaul said that as soon as the announcement came to his knowledge, he approached several police stations to file a complaint, who refused to register an FIR against the actor. He said since the police didn’t support him, he approached the judiciary.
On January 18, Kaul tweeted that a legal notice was sent to Ranaut and others for refusing to acknowledge his book Didda: The Warrior Queen of Kashmir while announcing her new film Manikarnika Returns: The Legend of Didda, which is based on Queen Didda.
According to Kaul, who is a descendant of the queen, his book is the only historical and non-fictional account on Queen Didda and Ranaut’s film draws facts from his book.
“I would really have been very heart-broken if the court would not have entertained me,” Kaul said while mentioning that he was glad to have finally been able to present in the court all the facts and documents.
Refering the actor and her co-accused as “white collar criminals”, he said: “What they do is, they twist and they confuse you when it suits them. So, they began by creating this confusion that it (the story of Didda) was historical.”
Kaul said that he addressed the issue that he is absolutely not bothered by “historical”, but his fight is “to protect his exclusive copyright about the story of Didda, the incident, the characterisation, the times, the life of Didda, whatever happened during her life, getting credit for defeating Ghazni– not once but twice.”
Kaul claimed that the exclusive narratives are available only with Kaul and he has written these in his story.
“Just because you talk of nationalism, does not mean that you cannot be a thief or a criminal. In this case, I have been proved right. Just by talking of nationalism, does not mean you are a nationalist. You are ultimately what you do, and this case, you are a copyright thief,” Kaul said.
Kaul, who is the former group executive vice president of Zee Network & Essel Group, said that he does not need any credit.
“My battle is you cannot take my story and make or announce a film- you are already in violation of the law. You may now decide you want to make it or not make it, you have to go through me. You have to convince the court that you are not going to use my narrative and you have to prove it to me that your narrative is something which is not there in my book,” he said.
“This act involves taking for granted that a common citizen will not be easily entertained or helped by the police, add to it the reputation of the alleged popular public figure against whom a common citizen is seeking help from police! Alas their perception is nothing but the truth given the number of times this perception has been strengthened by the unhelpful attitude of law enforcement in such cases and I mean such typical cases where a commoner decides to raise his voice against the arm twisting, morale breaking and destructive deeds pursued by a public figure,” Kaul said.