Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions involved in not one but two plagiarism rows

A song from JugJugg Jeeyo [2022], and the film as a whole is mired into a plagiarism row after a Pakistani artiste accused Dharma Productions of lifting his track Nach Punjaban, while an Indian writer alleged that Dharma has made JugJugg Jieeyo by stealing his story Bunny Rani.

A few days before his 50 birthday, producer Karan Johar is getting few headaches. No it is not Kangana Ranaut this time. Karan Johar and his Dharma Productions are in the dock after their film JugJugg jeeyo [2022] courted not one but two controversies.

One writer Vishal A. Singh has posted a series of Tweets accusing Dharma Productions of stealing his registered story Bunny Rani and turning it into their film JugJugg Jeeyo. The story credit for JugJugg Jeeyo [2022] bears writer Anurag Singh’s name, with the film having more writing credits – Rishhabh Sharrma [dialogue, screenplay], Sumit Matheja and Anurag [screenplay], and additional screenplay by Neeraj Udhwani.

“Had registered a story.. #BunnyRani with @swaindiaorg in January 2020. I had officially mailed
@DharmaMovies in February 2020 for an opportunity to co-produce with them. I even got a reply from them and they have taken my story.. and made #JugJuggJeeyo. Not fair @karanjohar.” tweeted Singh.

Singh later shared a screenshot of his e-mail that he sent to the official Dharma Production id to back his claim. The aggrieved writer claimed that he had registered his story in January, 2020 and had e-mailed his idea to Dharma on 17 February, 2020. The e-mail was addressed to Somen Mshra, Creative Head at Dharma Productions.

After his series of Tweets, Somen Mishra replied to an Opindia tweet (controversial right wing portal] urging Singh to take legal action if his claims were genuine. Mishra dismissed Singh’s claims as a publicity stunt.

“Arre bhai “the man” must sue, tweet karke threaten karna kya RTs count badhana bus. SWA is quite good in such matters, or the courts. He must must must approach. Anyway, we do not comment on speculation and hearsay. Our legal team has not received anything,” tweeted Mishra.

We tried reaching out to Singh to no avail. Word has it that the writer is likely to take the legal recourse here.

It would be interesting to know which story was registered first. Based on the trailer of JugJugg Jeeyo, and the e-mail screenshot shared by Singh, the two films have a common factor of divorce. However, as opposed to Singh’s story where the elderly couple willingly expresses a desire to divorce, in JugJugg jeeyo, the mother [Neetu Singh] doesn’t seem to be aware of her husband’s [Anil Kapoor] intentions, who is having an extra-marital affair with Meera [Tisca Chopra]. Besides, the son [Varun Dhawan] also wants to divorce his wife [Kiara Advani].

Expect more on this controversy in the days to come. Meanwhile, the film also courted controversy after one Pakistani artiste claimed that the film lifted his song Nach Punjaban. The song is heard partly in the trailer.

“I have not sold my song “ Nach Punjaban” to any Indian movie and reserve the rights to go to court to claim damages. Producers like @karanjohar should not use copy songs. This is my 6th song being copied which will not be allowed at all. @DharmaMovies @karanjohar,” tweeted Abrar Ul Haq.

Shortly after Haq’s allegations, music label T-Series, who has done the music for JugJugg Jeeyo, claimed to have legal rights to the song.

We have legally acquired the rights to adapt the song #NachPunjaban released on iTunes on 1st January, 2002 & available on Lollywood Classics’ YouTube channel, owned by
@1Moviebox for #JugJuggJeeyo produced by @DharmaMovies. The song is available here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=86e61b-khtE,” tweeted T-Series.

Following the above tweet, Haq later claimed that he hasn’t sold any rights of his song to anyone.

“Song “Nach Punjaban” has not been licensed to any one. If someone is claiming it , then produce the agreement. I will be taking legal action. #NachPunjaban,” tweeted Haq.

Dharma isn’t new to such rows. If one recalls, author Shuana Singh Baldwin had accused Dharma film Kalank [2018] of being lifted from her book ‘What the Body Remembers’ While Dharma didn’t produce Akshay Kumar’s Padman [2018], a former Dharma creative official was accused by a writer of leaking details, and some 12 scenes from his registered story on a similar subject. It was bizarre how those scenes made their way in another film that was co-produced by Twinkle Khanna and director R.Balki.

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