'Drove me close to suicide': Chetan Bhagat slams ‘3 Idiots’ producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra

Indian author and columnist Chetan Bhagat has been firing back to back tweets, condemning media critics for writing rubbish in the name of reviews and ruining lives.

In a series of tweets shared on the micro blogging site, Chetan wrote, “Sushant's last film releases this week. I want to tell the snob and elitist critics right now, write sensibly. Don't act oversmart. Don't write rubbish. Be fair and sensible. Don't try your dirty tricks. You have ruined enough lives. Now stop. We'll be watching.”

“To the media organizations who hire these snob critics - it's an awful business strategy to hire elitists who don't understand India and think they are better than Indians. These brown outside - white inside people will ensure your organization goes bankrupt. Many have already,” he added.

Reacting to Chetan, popular film critic Anupama Chopra wrote, “Each time you think the discourse can’t get lower, it does!”

Bhagat was quick to respond and hit back by stating, "Ma'am, when your husband publicly bullied me, shamelessly collected all the best story awards, tried denying me credit for my story and drove me close to suicide, and you just watched, where was your discourse?"

For those unversed, Vidhu Vinod Chopra is the producer of the film ‘3 Idiots’ starring Aamir Khan in the lead role, and is directed by Rajkumar Hirani.

The film courted controversy a few days after its release in 2009. According to reports, Bhagat stated how 70% of the film was based on his novel ‘Five Point Someone’.

During the promotion of ‘3 Idiots’, Chopra lost his cool at a press conference and asked a reporter to shut up after being questioned whether his hit ‘3 Idiots’ was lifted from Bhagat’s book. He also alleged that the whole row over the film credits was a publicity stunt.

Asked whether the film, was 70% taken from the book as claimed by Bhagat, Chopra countered, demanding to know whether the journalist had seen the movie and read the book.

The scribe said while he had seen the film and not read the book.

Chopra then got up and shouted: “Then you shut up. When you have not read the book, then how can you say that the movie is 70% of the book?”

Chopra’s reaction evoked anger among the media persons present with many demanding that the filmmaker apologise.

Actor Aamir Khan and director Rajkumar Hirani later apologised on Chopra’s behalf but the producer didn’t budge, saying that the hard work Hirani and film writer Abhijat Joshi had put into the script was being taken away by someone who is publicity hungry.

“I would have apologised if you would have read the book. Then you wouldn’t have asked me this question because you would have been aware of the truth. The fact is that the person, I don’t wish to name…is getting unnecessary publicity. Credit of these two persons has been taken away…who have worked so hard on it,” Chopra told reporters at the Big Cinemas.

Hirani also backed Chopra and maintained that “3 Idiots” was just 5% similar to Bhagat’s bestseller.

“It is easy to say that the movie is 70% of the book. I would request you all to read the book and watch the movie and only after that you should judge us or those allegations,” said Hirani.

“Abhijat and I have read these 150 pages of the book and we know what we have taken from it. And trust us it’s not more than 5%,” he added.

Before Chopra lost his cool, he had clarified that in the agreement between the producer and Bhagat, it was clearly mentioned that the author’s name would be put in the closing credits.

“Have you ever seen a movie that starts with rolling credits?” Chopra asked.

“Some people want their pictures to be published in newspapers. Let it be. He should have asked his mother before signing the agreement with us,” an angry Chopra added.

Following this, Chetan wrote a blog post titled, Closing remarks, "While we maintain our stance on the issue, me and my fans want to move on, and we have."

“It’s fine that they've given me credit in the rolling credits, but how can they not give me credit for the story? The film is based on my book, they have to give me,” Bhagat said.

Chopra also apologised later. “I was shocked to see myself on TV screaming like a maniac. This is nonsensical behaviour and I apologise for it with my whole heart,” he said.

In 2014, Chopra, while interacting with the delegates in the NFDC's Film Bazaar, said "The character of Rancho (Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad) in the movie is (based on) me. It is inspired from my life."

"I never attended classes in the Film Institute. I failed in the final examination. So, when I was nominated for Oscars, the institute called me as a guest and gave me my passing certificate as an honour," he added.

According to Chopra, his family wanted him to become a doctor, but he pursued his dream of filmmaking.

The Bollywood producer-director purposely wrote the medical entrance exam paper incomplete, so that he could fail in it. Chopra said it would have been difficult to convince his father about his desire to become a filmmaker.

"When I was nominated for Oscar, I confessed to my dad about the truth. I thought since I am nominated for the Oscars my father would say well done. But he looked at me and said 'you fooled me' and gave me a slap with love and affection," said the filmmaker, whose short film 'An Encounter with Faces' nominated at the Oscars in 1979.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal