South Indian Film Writer's Association admits Sarkar's script isn't original
Writer of Sengol, Varun Rajendran had lodged a complaint with the writer's body that alleged both films are similar
Following the release of the teaser of A R Murugadoss' upcoming film, Sarkar, the team was charged with plagiarism allegations. Writer and assistant director Varun Rajendran lodged a complaint with the South Indian Film Writer's Association claiming that the film is similar to his script, Sengol, which was registered with the body in 2007. Yesterday, social media was abuzz with a copy of the association's judgement stating that both the scripts of Sengol and Sarkar were indeed one and the same. We reached out to the President of the association, veteran writer-director K Bhagyaraj, to confirm this.
"I do not know how the copy came out in the open, but yes, it is indeed true. Plagiarism charges are a serious matter of concern for us and we did our due diligence on this. When any writer registers with us, he/she pays a nominal amount based on the number of pages they have written and hand it over to us. We don't read through the manuscript but do check if the number of pages are the same as claimed, and after ascertaining that, put it inside a cover and seal it. At no point is this cover opened unless the writer asks for it, or if there is a dispute like in this case. When complaints are registered, first the disputes committee hears of it, and if it doesn't get solved there, then it is escalated to the executive committee. Here, both the committees heard the essence of the story - the start, the conflict, the inflection points, the end - and we felt Sarkar was exactly the same as Sengol. While the latter was registered in 2007, the former was registered under the name Pachai in 2017," said Bhagyaraj.
Asked what decision was taken following investigations, he said, "We asked Murugadoss if he can provide Varun a writing credit, but he didn't accept it. He said his inspiration for the script was Sivaji Ganesan's real life election campaigning back in the day. So we offered him an alternate solution. We asked him to add, 'Inspired by original events and adapted to screen by AR Murugadoss' to the start of the film and give an additional inspiration credit to Varun. But the director didn't accept that either. In light of these developments, we wrote the leaked letter to Varun that we tried our best but couldn't do anything more, and expressed our regrets on the same. We also asked him to take the matter up as he wished to, and told him that we won't be a hindrance to any of his further steps."
Bhagyaraj added that this incident and the fallout has made him feel the need for more workable solutions to such disputes in the future. "The trust placed in us will recede if writers feel they are not protected. So I am thinking of calling for a general body meeting and passing a resolution that our suggestions are taken up as part of redressal mechanism. Failing which, we would like all unions, inclusive but not limited to, FEFSI, Producer's Council, Artiste's Union to boycott such films."