Director Prem kumar responds to 96 story theft accusations
The director met the press along with Balaji Tharaneetharan, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, and Maruthupandian to address the allegations over 96 story theft allegations
After being accused of story theft by director Bharathiraja and his associate Suresh, 96-director C Prem Kumar has denied all allegations. Meeting the press, along with directors Balaji Tharaneetharan, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, and Maruthupandian, Prem Kumar said that he is open to any sort of legal confrontation. “They have neither submitted a script as proof nor have any other evidence to support their claims. If they have a script as they claim, titled 92, why didn’t they raise these questions earlier? We have been publicising the film since 2016. Why bring this up only after the film has been declared a success?" he questioned. Prem also furnished the various versions of his script at different stages, along with a registered copy, as evidence to support his argument.
Both Suresh and Bharathiraja had claimed that director Maruthupandian had ‘leaked the story’ to Prem, which was made into 96. While acknowledging the fact that he did listen to Suresh’s story, Maruthupandian affirmed that he did not find any striking similarity between the two scripts. “I was thanked by Prem in 96 as I was part of the script discussion he had with friends. By then, he had the entire written script. On listening to it, I genuinely wasn’t reminded of Suresh’s story. I didn’t mention Suresh or his story to Prem."
Maruthapandian’s account was further corroborated by Mani, his associate, who claims to have been present when Suresh narrated the story to the former. He added that Suresh’s treatment of the school portions were completely different and any resemblance to it in 96 was generic. “Suresh’s story could still be made into a good period film,” he said.
Balaji Tharaneetharan and Thiagarajan Kumararaja, who were present in support of Perm, both asked why the other side hadn’t legally approached the issue or filed a complaint with the writer's council. “We have immense respect for Bharathiraja sir and consider him a mentor. It is disheartening to hear him make such statements," they added.