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A screenshot of Indian actress Lisa Ray's Instagram post pointing out the similarities between the movie's poster and an artist's work
A screenshot of Indian actress Lisa Ray's Instagram post pointing out the similarities between the movie's poster and an artist's work

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Indian movie accused of copying background and plot

An Indian movie has allegedly copied the background of its movie poster from an artist, and has even supposedly stolen its plot from a French movie.

Saaho, a movie made in India by Telugu film director Sujeeth Reddy, was promoted with a poster that had the two lead actors striding through a background of a field of flowers. The background of flowers looks similar to an artwork by artist Shilo Shiv Suleman. The piece, called “Pulse and Bloom”, is from a 2014 installation at the famous Burning Man festival that Suleman had staged.

The similarity lies in the shape of the flowers, and other aspects of the work, such as “the sand storms, the dust, the rose-pink clouds, the thunderstorms,” according to Suleman, who said these elements are unique to her work.

But that's not the only allegation of copyright infringement. In another accusation of plagiarism, French filmmaker Jérôme Salle, who directed the 2008 movie Largo Winch, claimed that Saaho is an unauthorised remake of his movie.

Both movies centre around how the death of the head of an organisation leads to a power struggle.

In Largo Winch, billionaire Nerio Winch is murdered and his adopted son Largo Winch is identified as the rightful heir to his fortune. But a power struggle ensues as his father’s former partners are sceptical of his claims to the company.

In Saaho, the death of the head of a crime syndicate leads to a power struggle between the son and a competitor. Other followers also rise in rebellion to try to claim the position for themselves.

This is not the first time Salle has accused an Indian director of stealing his movie.

In 2018, Salle accused the movie Agnyaathavaasi, directed by Trivikram Srinivas, of copying its plot from Largo Winch. Jerome Salle said then on Twitter: "Indian cinema has all the necessary talent and creativity for not having to plagiarize. And the silence from #Agnathavaasi team since one week is deafening.” Although Salle threatened to sue, there was no resolution to the matter. The makers of Agnyaathavaasi did get sued, though, by T-Series, an Indian film production company that held the rights to remake Largo Winch. Both parties settled the case out of court.

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Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

Press contact Managing Partner (+65) 6223 2249