‘Udta Punjab’ plagiarised from British novel ‘High Society’?

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Mumbai: Is the super hit and controversial movie ‘Udta Punjab’ illegally ‘inspired’ by a British novel, High Society’ by Ben Alton?  The novel has characters that are very similar to the characters of Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh.  Even the title seems to be a direct lift, with ‘High’ translating to ‘Udta’ and ‘Society’ being referenced in Punjab.

“I don’t have anything to say. I am completely shocked by the same, haven’t read the book,” Anurag Kashyap, one of the producers, told media.

In the novel, Tommy Hanson is an extremely successful British musician with a drug problem.

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Jessie, a seventeen-year-old Scottish girl, runs away from home to London, who’s forced into prostitution, runs away from her pimp and deals with a drub problem herself.

And then there’s high-ranking Commander Barry Leman, who fights for justice after his daughter’s friend is sexually assaulted.

If you have seen the movie, you will easily recognise the similarities between the two.

The film’s writer, Sudip Sharma, while admitting to having read the book, said he couldn’t remember much of it and pointed out Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic and an article in Tehelka as his inspirations.

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Plagiarism is not new to Bollywood. Just a few years ago a post on a blog had gone viral for detailing the scene-by-scene lifts from foreign films in Anurag Basu’s Barfi.

Many snippets and character trajectories from the book, like the rockstar semi-tonsuring his head and getting a derogatory term inked onto his head, the rockstar’s posse roaming around with neckpieces declaring them to be his crew, being chased by fans and chancing into the immigrant girl while escaping, amongst others, have also found their way into the film.

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Director Abhishek Chaubey and writer Sudip Sharma have reportedly rubbished all plagiarism charges but all the obvious similarities are going to break the hearts of scores of the film’s fans.