Bhargav Saikia is a talented filmmaker from Assam who came under the spotlight after his film ‘Kaafiron Ki Namaaz’ was widely appreciated by movie lovers and critics across the country. His latest short film, ‘The Black Cat’ is based on a short story by Ruskin Bond. One of the most anticipated short films of the year, The Black Cat has a stellar star cast including Tom Alter (who recently passed away after battling cancer) and Shernaz Patel.
Kaafiron Ki Namaaz centers around three people – an army man, a writer and a musician who confess their most personal secrets to each other on a rainy Christmas Eve somewhere in Srinagar, Kashmir, while a fourth person, the writer’s camera assistant, stands as a mute spectator and records everything on his camera.
Recently, Bhargav write on his Facebook page that a short film ‘Jiya Jaye’ directed by Dr Palash Sen had used some of the shots from his movie without taking proper permission from the team at Lorien Motion Pictures.
Here is an extract from the post —
‘A few days ago, I stumbled upon a short film called “Jiya Jaye” directed by Dr. Palash Sen (of Euphoria) on the official YouTube channel and Facebook page of Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films. I was shocked to discover a number of shots from my feature film, “Kaafiron Ki Namaaz”, in “Jiya Jaye”. The makers of “Jiya Jaye” have re-used shots from “Kaafiron Ki Namaaz” without permission from my production company, Lorien Motion Pictures. On further investigation, I found out that one of those shots from “Kaafiron Ki Namaaz” has also been re-used in the music video “Jiya Jaye Na”, released on Euphoria’s official YouTube channel and Facebook page; and in the trailer of the short film “Jiya Jaye”, the makers of the film have re-used shots from a video titled “To Kashmir, with Love”, a tribute video to Kashmir which was produced by Lorien Motion Pictures using shots that didn’t make it to the final edit of “Kaafiron Ki Namaaz” but were filmed originally for the feature film in 2012. The story of “Jiya Jaye” is set in Kashmir, but I believe the film has been shot in Naggar, Himachal Pradesh (the makers have given special thanks to the people of Naggar in the film’s opening credits). The shots from “Kaafiron Ki Namaaz” have been used in “Jiya Jaye” to establish visually that the film is set in Kashmir. This is a serious case of copyright infringement and as the sole copyright holder of “Kaafiron Ki Namaaz”, I am taking strict legal action against the concerned parties. My lawyer has already sent legal notices to the makers of the short film “Jiya Jaye” and music video “Jiya Jaye Na”, and Large Short Films. I am appalled to see an established and celebrated musician like Palash Sen using unethical and illegal means to present his first film as a director.’
Over a phone conversation with Bhargav, he informed that he started to watch the film by Dr Palash Sen when he realized that the young girl actor who had acted in his short film ‘Awakenings‘ was also been cast in Jiya Jaye. ‘It was the same day that Tom Alter had passed away, I was not having the best day after hearing that news. I was actually in Kerela attending a festival. Since I woke up early because of the news, I decided to watch the film. After watching for like 17 minutes, I realized that the shots were the same. Few of them from Kaafiron Ki Namaaz and some from To Kashmir, with Love.’ It was a bit shocking for the filmmaker and he contacted lawyer Rohini Vakil Kapoor, soon after, they sent a legal notice. Palash Sen’s team has asked for 48 hours to look into the matter which means that Bhargav can expect to hear from them latest by tomorrow.
‘He (Palash Sen) called me and said that they used stock shots which were in the possession of the editor but in Kaafiron Ki Namaaz, we used no stock shots, I have three hard drives with raw footage that will prove my statement. He is the director and producer of the film so shouldn’t he know about what shots his editor is using in the film?’
Both films are available for free viewing on Youtube.