There are 2 things I want to say upfront before you start reading further:
- I have not read FPS (yes, I'm one of the few!)
- I have not seen 3idiots (not as yet, may go tonight!)
The whole controversy created around the similarities and differences between Five Point Someone and 3 Idiots has certainly been blown out of proportion (one of my followers in Twitter even suggested I write a book about the controversy, its sure to be a big hit!) Like all fights of this world, this one also was started by a lady's tears (Chetan Bhagat's mother's precious tears that fell on the red carpet taking her out of the movie's premier). The few days that followed saw praises for the movie, the twitter world saw a rather happy Chetan Bhagat sharing the pics of his wife and family with 3 Khans, etc. And then some emotional fan of his (highest selling Indian novelist!) set the cat amongst the pigeons - "Why did your credit zoom out so fast in the movie?", he asked the big Indian author and that was the start of a big Twitter battle, followed by an embarrassingly lengthy blog post, press conferences and what not!
Amazingly, these can not much of a legal battle in this whole controversy. Remember that Chetan Bhagat is not some meek and petty commoner who has been wronged by the big sharks of the Bollywood world, he is after all the biggest selling Indian author till date! He knows that his blog posts can create a flutter, his tweets are going to be re-tweeted thousands of times and influential people from all quarters would be ready to reply to his comments. The media, like always, has harnessed the whole situation beautifully (its not everyday that you can get Vidhu Vinod Chopra to speak that way in a press conference!)
Chetan Bhagat's intention are something that only he can know but he sure has got a tremendous publicity from this whole issue. He may be the No.1 selling author in India but Amir Khan is after all one of the mighty Khans and no one goes unnoticed after pointing a finger to him. And how did he point a finger to him? Simple, by saying that he does not want to point a finger to him as Amir is yet to read the book! (that is pretty smart - Chetan Bhagat is a former IITian, IIMian and banker!) Apparently, he does not want a legal action either. Reason - he is content with the love his fans have given him! My question is, why did he start it all in the first place then? Just to check if his fans really love him or are they just following his tweets in vain?
The people behind 3idiots are smart people. One thing that a smart person does is gets his papers right, and they did! VVC has even published the agreement papers online (if I were him I would put it all in a blog and put some adsense code there, I'm sure it would make a decent money!) What was not so smart is the fact that they reacted to the blog post and the remarks of Chetan Bhagat in a naive way. Making Amir a spokesperson (when he, allegedly, has not even read the book) was stupid. The best (and only) people to talk about the whole issue were the Script writer Joshi, VVC and Hirani. But, from the movies perspective, it is just a lot of free publicity (I'm sure they wish all this happened after the initial craze for the movie mellowed down!) Nevertheless, 3idiots is going to be the biggest hit ever! More than 125 Crores in the opening week is proof for that!
Twitter, Blog and justice. This is a great episode for New Media and Twitter. Twitter's popularity in India is touching the skies, even more now. The people to be thanked for that include Mr. Shashi Tharoor and now Mr. Chetan Bhagat! We know that justice can not be delivered on Twitter or through some Blog post comments but one thing is for sure, the online world is with Mr. Chetan Bhagat, not just because they feel he is the right party but for his sheer presence in the online world! Very few movie stars are present in Twitter and most have decided to be mum (in most of the replies I've got from people from the movie world I can see a will to distant themselves from the controversy!)
This whole episode in the end is just a controversy. I won't say media hungry but ego could be the right word to describe both sides of the story! You read the book, see the movie, you decide. And no matter who's side you take, it is always fun to Tweet :P