EXCLUSIVE! Pankaj Tripathi on Newton plagiarism row: I was in shock when I heard about it


Pankaj Tripathi is on a cloud nine these days. His latest film Newton has not only received rave reviews from the critics but also has been earning fair amount of money at the box office. The icing on the cake was when the film was selected as India’s official entry for Oscars. It was this selection that sort of helped the film in a big way, so much so that, despite lesser number of screens, it went on to beat the likes of Sanjay Dutt’s Bhoomi and Shraddha Kapoor’s Haseena Parkar. But the excitement of the team Newton, specifically for its Oscars entry was short lived as the film was accused of plagiarism and many claimed that it is a copy of acclaimed Iranian film Secret Ballot.

However, the makers later denied any such claims and Anurag Kashyap even got in touch with the producer of the Iranian film who too denied any similarity.

BollywoodLife got in touch with one of the stars of the film, Pankaj Tripathi who played the character of Atma Singh. I asked him about his first reaction when he got to know about such claims and why he think audience, instead of celebrating Newton’s entry started dissing it without watching the original. He exclusively told us, “Bahut bada mulk hai hamara Bharat, bahut bada desh hai aur logon ke paas bahut samay hai isiliye hamare yahaan timepass filmein banti rahin bahut saalo se kyunki we have enough time to timepass. Toh kisi ne dekhi bhi nahin (Secret Ballot) aap dekho tulna karo…Mere liye shocking tha main toh sadme mein aa gaya tha. Mujhe laga, ‘kya sach mein Amit (Masurkar) ne aisa kiya hai kya?’ Hamaare director ne…Toh main gaya YouTube pe maine ek aadh scene uske dekhe. Agar aap ek aadh scene dekhoge in terms of thought toh ek hi lagti hai, woh bhi ek chunaav ki ek din ki kahaani hai. Wahaan bhi do log hain. Lekin agar aap us film (Secret Ballot) ko poora dekhoge, is film (Newton) ko poora dekhoge toh aapko pata chalega ki yaar nahin yeh toh do kism ki filmein hain.” Also read: Rajkummar Rao’s Newton has a way better IMDB rating than Secret Ballot, despite plagiarism claim

He further added on the difference between the two films, “Newton bahut bade duniya ke saath aati hai. Ismein chaar log hain Naxal hai, threat hai, forest hai, bahut saare kirdaar hain. Wahan sirf do kirdaar hain. Aur maine baad mein padha woh director (Babak Payami) ka ki woh women empowerment ko leke hai. Iran mein aurton ki sthiti waisi nahin thi. Toh khair main us lafde mein padta nahin hoon, na kabhi us mudde pe koi safai ke liye koi tweet kiya. Yeh daur aisa chal raha hai ki log copy paste kar lete hain Google se. Unko lagta hai Google pe jo khabar hai woh sahi hai. Toh is selfie aur copy paste ki duniya mein zaroori hai ki thoda thehrein, thode rational ho, logical ho aur khud depth mein jaake analyse karein kya sahi hai kya galat aur fir apni rai de.”

(India is a huge country and people have lot of time that’s why we’ve witnessed a lot of timepass films. So most didn’t see Secret Ballot, first you see and then compare. It was shocking for me, I was in a shock. I thought, ‘Did Amit Masurkar really do it?’ If you’ll see just 1 or 2 scenes, in terms of thought it does look same but if you’ll see both the films completely then you’ll know they are two completely different films. Newton is on a bigger canvas with various characters, whereas Secret Ballot is about two characters. Anyway I don’t want to get involved in that controversy, that’s the reason I didn’t tweet about it. I just hope people to take a deep breathe, be logical and rational and then analyse in depth before giving out their opinion). Also read: Newton box office collection day 6: Rajkummar Rao’s film remains steady; crosses the Rs 10 crore mark

When I asked him if he contacted Amit Masurkar after Newton was accused of plagiarism, he said, “Nahin maine nahin kiya Amit ko contact, mujhe kuch samajh nahin aa raha tha aur main shooting kar raha tha main lagataar vyast tha aaj subah lauta hoon main Chennai mein tha. Mujhe laga main kya poochoo usse. Meri Mayank Tiwari se baat hui jo doosre writer hain unka phone aa gaya. Usne bola, ‘arey sir jo aapse koi sawaal karta hai mera number de dena. Mujhse aake baat kare.’ I said okay. Ab main toh actor hoon, ab mujhse koi sawaal karega mujhe kya pata. Maine jab script padhi thi mujhe behad pasand aayi.” (I didn’t contact Amit Masurkar, I was clueless and was shooting in Chennai. In fact the other writer, Mayank Tiwari, called me and said, ‘Sir if anyone questions you then give them my number. I am an actor, if anyone asks me anything about it, I wouldn’t know. I read the script and I loved it.)

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