“Maidaan” Faces Legal Hurdle Over Accusations of Script Lift

The production team behind the eagerly anticipated Ajay Devgn-led biographical sports drama “Maidaan” finds itself embroiled in a legal tussle after a local court in Mysore, based on plagiarism allegations, reportedly issued an interim order halting the movie’s release. The narrative of “Maidaan” unfolds the inspiring saga of football coach Syed Abdul Rahim, hailed for steering India to its triumphant gold at the 1962 Asian Games.

Anil Kumar, a scriptwriter originating from Karnataka, has opened up a can of worms by claiming that his original screenplay has been purloined by the “Maidaan” creators. In his interaction with News18, Kumar detailed an account dating back over a decade, where in 2010 he penned a story arising from India’s regrettable withdrawal from the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Fast forward to 2018, Kumar’s social media outreach caught the attention of advertisement director Sukhdas Suryavanshi, prompting a face-to-face in Mumbai. Despite promises, including a supposed meeting with star Aamir Khan that never materialized, Kumar alleges he handed over his script to Suryavanshi after securing its registration with the Screen Writers Association (SWA).

As fate would have it, Suryavanshi would later occupy the role of an assistant director in the now contentious “Maidaan.” An astonished Kumar recounts, “Recently, I heard that a movie named ‘Maidaan’ is getting released. I was surprised because even I have the same story.” He claimed that after scrutinizing the movie’s teaser and producers’ assertions, it seemed evident to him that his story, which he titled “Paadakanduka,” was the underpinning of “Maidaan,” albeit with significant alterations.

In a rapid reaction to Kumar’s accusations, the Principal District & Sessions court in Mysore stepped in, and a judicial restraint on the release of “Maidaan” ensued. The motion picture’s fate now hangs in the balance, with the subsequent court date scheduled for April 24.

Responding swiftly to this courtroom drama, Punkej Kharabanda, the COO of BayView Projects LLP – the production company helmed by producer Boney Kapoor – took to social media to articulate the team’s stance and intended legal response. In a statement punctuated by determination, Kharabanda assured that they are poised to contest the unilateral court directive at the Karnataka High Court, emphasizing that the verdict was reached without their perspective being heard, as they were neither served a notice prior to the lawsuit nor apprised of the preliminary proceedings.

The crux of the argument laid out by the filmmakers is the timing of the order, which was passed after the film had already hit theaters on April 11. They argue such an injunction is rendered moot by its post-release issuance, and thus it holds no water legally. Vowing to seek urgent relief through the High Court, the statement underlined the production house’s resolve to forge ahead as planned, with assurances that moviegoers will not be deterred from experiencing “Maidaan” in cinemas.

The team behind “Maidaan,” directed by the illustrious Amit Ravindernath Sharma, is now poised for a legal showdown, setting up an intriguing case that spills from the cinematic realms into a courtroom, which could well influence the landscape of intellectual property rights within the intricate world of Indian cinema.

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