3 Idiots director Rajkumar Hirani clears the air on the controversy surrounding 3 Idiots created by Five Point Someone author Chetan Bhagat.
We are saddened and appalled by the unnecessary slandering in public by Chetan Bhagat. We have till date not received a call or text message from Mr. Bhagat. We have been traveling and that’s when the murmur started in media. We chose to ignore it at first only because we didn’t want to comment on the frivolity of the charges by Mr. Bhagat. He has accused us of copying his novel for the screen and then denying him credit. The following statement is very short, but should fully answer the allegations:
1. We legally purchased the rights of the novel, with complete authority to alter the text to suit the screen. We also have a clause on page 2 that mentions that Mr Bhagat’s credit would be in the end rolling credits. Agreement was signed in September 2005 (copy of the same has been given to the media). If Mr Bhagat had any issue with credits or money given to him… why did he wait for more that four years to respond? Most importantly, why wait till one week post release.
2. Mr. Bhagat claims that he had never seen the script that evolved from his book. I personally gave a 4-hour reading to him in my office. He has even signed a non-disclosure agreement on 3rd October 2007 (copy of the same given to media), which all actors, technicians and people working on the film sign upon reading the script so that details of the script don’t go out. He has given several interviews where he has said that “Raju has narrated the entire script to me and I have liked it.”
3. Mr. Bhagat has now started claiming that most of the narrative of the film is copied from his text. This is entirely irrelevant because we hold the rights to the novel. We choose to dignify this wild charge with an answer only for the following reason: We believe that it undermines the tireless efforts of two writers who put in 3 full years of their lives into creating a new story and screenplay based upon the book. It is the same team of writers that 3 years ago created Lage Raho Munnabhai. Using the book as a take off point, the writers brought about massive changes both on the macro and the micro level of the story. Two friends undertaking a perilous journey to find their lost friend, accompanied by a disgruntled young man obsessed with a long forgotten bet— this is the backbone of the story of the film. It has nothing to do with the book. None of the major narrative bulwarks of the film are in the book: The mantra All Is Well, the childbirth, the bet, Phunsukh Wangdu, the two weddings, Chatur’s balatkar speech… none of these exist in the book. There are scores of other changes that we are putting up on our blog www.vinodchopra.com for those who are curious or interested in the literary debate. We have always said that if we had not read the book we wouldn’t have made the film. But it must be remembered that the screenplay that has evolved from the book is very different from the book and has a life of its own.