2 January 2010

An Idiot, An African --And the story of story ideas treated like "Kaminey"

Have you heard of Cajetan Boy?

Today was only the second time I came across the name, and that too, after an Internet search.
Strangely, symbolically and significantly, he shares the same initials as Chetan Bhagat.
And thereby hangs a tale on intellectual property.

Now, Cajetan Boy is the man whose idea gave rise to the story of "Kaminey" for which no less than four other writers took credit. But it goes to the credit of director Vishal Bhardwaj that the movie's starting credits clearly identify Mr. Boy.
Boys must be separated from Men. Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who asked reporters to "Shut Up" on New Year day when asked about writer Bhagat's wail that his story was not given proper credit in the making of "3 Idiots" could do well to learn a lesson from Vishal B, whose earlier two films Maqbool and Omkara were based on Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello. Given Vishal's treatment, he could have easily called the stories his own, but he did not.
That is the business of respecting intellectual property, even if it involves only an idea.
Check out the Internet Movie Data Base where Cajetan Boy gets due credit for his idea that gave rise to Kaminey
Or then, read here about the fascinating story of how an African stands at the heart of a story that talked about Guddu and Charlie lost in Mumbai's bylanes.
I agree with my friend Shubho. Smirking at Chetan Bhagat is one thing, but giving IP the recognition that is due is quite another.
3 Idiots may be a big hit, and Chopra the Man with the Midas Touch, but perhaps he should not assume that giving ideas away is a matter of Gandhigiri.
We shall await director Rajkumar Hirani's take on this.
P.S. --There is a conspiracy theory that Bhagat and Chopra are in league because the novel (Five Point Someone) and the movie (3 Idiots) can be cross-promoted by the controversy over intellectual property. In which case, we would be the idiots to play into their hands.