S Shankar hits back at Aascar Ravichandran over Anniyan storyline ownership
A day after Aascar Ravichandran accused director S Shankar of “resorting to unlawful acts” by planning to make a Hindi remake version of Anniyan when the ownership allegedly resided with the former, Shankar has hit back saying the script and storyline belonged exclusively to him.
He put out a statement, similar to that of Aascar’s, and said Anniyan had been released with the tag, ‘Story, screenplay and direction by Shankar.’ He added that he continues to retain the right to “exploit the script in any manner he saw fit.”
Shankar wrote, “I am shocked to receive your mail dated 14.04.2021 stating that you own the storyline of the movie Anniyan. In this context, I submit that the movie was released in the year 2005 and everyone associated with the movie were aware that the script and storyline belongs exclusively to me and in fact the movie was released with the tag: story, screenplay and direction by Shankar. I have not assigned in writing any script or screenplay to any person, and continue to retain the right to exploit the script in any manner I deem fit. As the admitted author of the literary work, my rights cannot be interfered with under any circumstances (sic).”
Talking about late writer Sujatha, who had written dialogues for the film, Shankar said Sujatha was only involved in writing the dialogues of the film and had nothing to do with the story. “He was engaged by me only to write dialogues for the film and was accordingly credited. He was not involved in the script, screenplay or characterisation in any manner, and there is no scope beyond his engagement as a dialogue writer,” Shankar wrote.
He reiterated that he was “entitled to exploit the script” in a way he deemed fit, and explained, “Given that the script vests with me, I am absolutely entitled to exploit the same in any manner I deem fit. Infact, you/your entity does not have the right to remake or make any derivative rights for Anniyan, as the said rights have not been granted to you in writing. In the absence of any assignment in writing from me, there can be no basis whatsoever to even assert that the “storyline” vests with you.”
Shankar concluded by saying that he hoped “good sense will prevail upon the producer after the clarification” and said his statement was issued because he wanted to clarify the situation when he was “being subject to avaricious and illegal claims to needlessly attempt to jeopardise his future projects.”
He said, “You as the producer have gained substantially from the success of the film Anniyan, and are needlessly trying to unjustly enrich yourself even in my future endeavours which have no correlation to you. Needless to state, I can only hope good sense will prevail upon you after this clarification and you will stop agitating such baseless claims. This reply is issued without prejudice, and to clarify the actual situation of me as a director and writer being subject to such avaricious and illegal claims to needlessly attempt to jeopardise my future projects (sic)."
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