Dear Shirish Kunder,
My name is Aneel Neupane and I’m a filmmaker.
My team at Jazz Productions and I worked relentlessly to make our latest release BOB. We gave our blood and sweat to this project. With no well-known name to fund this project, we pleaded our friend Tejaswee Rajthala to produce the movie. With the budget of NRs. 50,000 (32,000 Indian Rupees) and a cast and crew who believed in the story so much that they volunteered, we were able to create this movie.
We had it ready in October 2015. I had uploaded it on Vimeo as a private video to share it with close friends. You can see here (https://vimeo.com/145062291) that the video is 7 months old. On May 12, 2016, we finally released it on Youtube. As of right now, there are 3033 views. I know that’s not a lot of views but I have been getting a lot delightful messages and amazing feedback from the viewers that more than compensate for the views.
Yesterday (June 23, 2016), I woke up to find ‘Kriti’ on Youtube. My excitement to watch a short film starring Mr. Manoj Bajpayee (a great actor whom I admire a lot!) and Neha Sharma (whom I’ve had a huge crush on ever since I saw her in Crook) was washed off with the pang I got from the first shot. As the movie progressed, I was shocked to find so much similarities. You had practically stolen my plot and I couldn’t just toss it off a mere ‘inspiration’ or ‘co-incidence’.
However, I had no idea how to go about on this. As much as I was outraged and offended, I also felt helpless thinking I wouldn’t be able to reach out to you or, even if I did, you would be indifferent about it. Yes, I’m disappointed and offended because you stole the plot and made it into ‘your’ film. But my team and I didn’t work without being concerned about our pays just so some rich guy from India could turn it into this and get away with it. That’s just not fair.
Honestly, I’m still clueless as to what I have to do next. I’m not equipped financially or otherwise to take this forward. While many people have told me that you will just get away with it, just as so many others have, by ripping off of numerous other films from all over the world, there are far more people telling me that I got to do what I can do. With the online posts, comments and tweets, I have mustered enough support and courage to post this and call out for an explanation.
This isn’t just about me now. This is a letter from all small-time rookies and independent artists, writers, filmmakers and producers who put every ounce of their heart and soul to their work just to have it ripped off by people who should have instead been figures of admiration, inspiration and respect. Ripping off a few movies to make another and calling it an original isn’t fair. It shouldn’t be something one can get away with so easily.
So with all due respect, I want to know whatever it is that you have to say and do about this because I feel this deserves an explanation. I hope your reply to me will not only be just and fair to me and my team, but one that sets an example in the industry and provides hope for everyone who has ever been or will be affected by similar insensibility and irresponsibility.
An Open Letter to Shirish Kunder From Aneel Neupane
Dear Shirish Kunder,