Betaal in Plagiarism Row, Marathi Writers File Case Against Red Chillies Entertainment and Netflix

Betaal in Plagiarism Row, Marathi Writers File Case Against Red Chillies Entertainment and Netflix

Two Marathi writers have accused that the story of Netflix’s new horror thriller series Betaal has been lifted from their script Vetaal.

  • Last Updated: May 23, 2020, 12:17 PM IST

Upcoming horror series Betaal has landed in a plagiarism row after two Marathi writers claimed that the story has been lifted from their zombie film script called Vetaal. Writers Sameer Wadekar and Mahesh Goswami have filed a case against Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and Netflix, who are the producers of the series.

After the trailer of Betaal was unveiled last week, Sameer and Mahesh moved Bombay High Court. Sameer told Mid-Day, “We had taken our script to several production houses. We hadn’t pitched it to Red Chillies Entertainment, so the onus isn’t on them, but on the platform that commissioned it. I haven’t been able to figure out how [the idea] reached them. I am told the show went on floors in July 2019, a year after my script was registered with the Screen Writers’ Association [SWA]. We’ve registered a complaint with the SWA too.”

While Betaal, written by Patrick Graham and Suhani Kanwar, revolves around a counter-insurgency squad that aims to displace tribals from a village, Wadekar claimed their Marathi feature is centred on an environmentalist who opposes a mining company that tries to drive away the villagers.

Wadekar said there are at least 10 plot points that are similar. While they have depicted zombies as descendants of the Vetaal army from Shivaji’s era, in the Netflix series they are from the British era.

The high court has dismissed their petition to put a stay on the show, but affirmed that the writers can seek damages if the plagiarism charges are proved.

Betaal is set to premiere on Netflix on May 24. Watch the trailer here:

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