The teaser of much-awaited movie Jugnu was released on August 20, garnering praises and appreciation for its colourfully intriguing shots, acting, and intensity.
However, the movie, helmed by a young team of filmmakers from Karachi and produced by Jami, ran into a scandal when a student from the National College of Arts (NCA) alleged that it has been plagiarised. The student claimed that Jugnu team stole his idea and took similar shots in the teaser. He even made a comparison video on his Facebook page, but later it was termed as re-edited according to the teaser of Jugnu.
While talking to Pakistan Today, writer of the movie, Mir Areeb Ali, refuted the claims saying, “Our team started discussing the idea of Jugnu back in 2014, when Jami asked Ali Abbasi Naqvi, the director, and writer, to work on the script of a ‘Bakra movie”.
“Jami knows our team since 2014 when he first saw Ali Abbas’s thesis film during a film festival at Agha Khan University,” Ali recalled, adding that the team has screenshots of the conversation between Jami and the director in which they are discussing the plot of this movie.
“We were calling it ‘Bakra movie’ at that time because it was in early stages,” Ali said, mentioning that the thesis movie of NCA student came in 2016.
“His trailer was upload on the Facebook page of Film & TV Department, NCA on January 13, 2016 which is another proof that our idea is original,” he mentioned.
Talking further, the story writer said that the team worked on the movie for over three years.
“The team had been working on the plot for a while and 14 drafts for the movie were prepared until 2016,” he remarked, adding that in their quest for a strong script, they conducted first-hand research in interior Sindh and did recce across the province.
“We took over 1000 auditions to cast the right boy, Bhura, for our movie and held auditions in rural areas because we knew that a boy from the metropolitan cities will not be suitable for the role,” he revealed.
Talking about the similarities between teaser of Jugnu and NCA student’s film, he said, “Firstly, the NCA student re-edited it according to our teaser and secondly, there are a number of movies on subject of a child and his pet including Lamb (2015), Tahaan (2008), Little Mountain boy (2015), and Ali Mizah wa Ibrahim (2016)“.
“After watching these movies and their trailers, one can say that the student, Ahmed Baig’s thesis film is also copied,” Ali asserted, adding that his film trailer was released in January 2016, while they have been discussing the movie since 2014.
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“All these movies have a similar basic idea but the storylines are completely different,” Ali commented, adding that similar shots can be extracted from any movie and major example of this is Leonardo Di Caprio starrer Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant and Tarkovsky.
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“If you see the comparison trailer, you will say that Aljendro copied Tarkovsky because it is all about editing. Hence the claims by NCA student are totally false.”
Speaking further, Ali said, “The core team includes our Production Designer, DOP, and our director who left several paid projects for this movie. We have been working extremely hard on this because it is our first complete project as a team and such allegations are negatively affecting our struggle and hard work.”
Talking about the producer of the movie and their mentor, Jami, Ali said that he also had to face this situation. “He has played the main role in turning over dream into reality and he had to face all this because of some baseless allegations,” Ali said, adding despite all the drama, Jami will still be the member of the jury at NCA this year, which shows his love for the art and new talent.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, the spokesperson of Jugnu also rejected the plagiarism claims stating that this is their first project and they have been working on it for over three years.
“No one will plagiarise their first major project,” he said, adding that they are a young team and had to work with a limited budget.
He expressed his disappointment on the matter saying, “We were receiving an immensely positive response after release of the teaser but ever since the plagiarism allegations surfaced, our movie has been affected, which is hurtful.”
“Mr Baig should apologise to our team for the damage he has done to our reputation and movie,” he demanded.
The trailer of Jugnu is expected to release in the next couple of months.
“We are currently working on its post-production, editing, and trailer and we are sure that after the trailer releases, people will understand that this is an original movie and idea,” he concluded.