Finally, author gets her due from Ekta Kapoor
Varsha Adalja has been paid Rs 7.5 lakh by producers of Bandini for drawing inspiration from her novel
Mehul S Thakkar (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 16, 2011)
Justice might have come late for feminist novelist Varsha Adalja, but Balaji Telefilms did have to finally pay her the dues. Varsha, 68, who started as a journalist, had to go through a horrifying two year long battle with the television production house, which allegedly used her Gujarati novel Retpankhi as an inspiration for their TV series Bandini starring Ronit Roy and Aasiya Kazi. The show ran for nearly two years, the period which was fruitful for the makers but not for the writer who had to fight for her dues. And finally, after innumerable trips to various offices and a two-year-long wait, Varsha was paid an amount of Rs 7.5 lakh by the production house.
An industry watcher explained how the drama unfolded. "Some associates of Ekta Kapoor working on her flagship show Kyunki..., met Varsha and told her that her Gujarati novel has caught their attention and they wanted to adapt it for TV. After the meeting, they never returned. An unsuspecting Varsha, after watching a few episodes of Bandini, realised that the concept was similar to her novel. She immediately approached The Film Writers Association (FWA). The association, after going through the book and a few episodes of the serial, gave out a verdict in her favour."
Varsha told Mirror, "The two years were rather difficult for me. I had to travel from my home in Churchgate to the suburbs frequently to meet people. The FWA helped me a lot. I deserved more than what I have finally got. I am happy that some sort of justice has finally been done."
But it was not easy. A friend of Varsha informed Mirror, "Initially, when FWA forwarded the case to IMPPA, they ignored the case. Even the production house turned a deaf ear. It was perhaps because Varsha has a humble background and she was fighting with someone as big as Ekta Kapoor. However, when it reached Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), they looked into the matter and urged IMPPA to take an action. They found a lot of similarities between the serial and Varsha's novel. They couldn't have ignored it,” added the friend.
Manuj Agarwal, CEO, Balaji Telefilms said, "We respect the Film Writers Association. Yes, we did give a certain amount as asked by the association. But it was not a settlement. We at Balaji Telefilms maintain that Bandini was an original product from our company."