BIT, Noida

Review the Essentials of a Valid Contract from the contract between Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Chetan Bhagat in the context of ‘Five Point Someone’ and 3 Idiots.
Project Assignment by Arun Trikha

Arun Trikha, MBA PT 4706/10 1/1/2013

4. About Chetan Bhagat About the movie 3 Idiots The Agreement The Controversy Sequence of Events Similar Events References . 5. 2.Table of Contents 1. 6. 3. 7.

and starring Aamir Khan. New Delhi.What not to do at IIT was his first book. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani. Five Point Someone . and writes on political issues. The book is about their years in IIT Delhi and how they cope with the pressures of studies. Kareena Kapoor. He is an NRI and a citizen of Singapore. Sharman Joshi. family and relationships.About Chetan Bhagat Chetan Bhagat is an Indian author who has written Five Point Someone . and Boman Irani in pivotal roles. though Chetan Bhagat has stated that he was not involved in the scriptwriting in any way. the Hindi movie based on One Night @ the Call Center. His books have been best-sellers inspite of getting poor reviews and being widely criticized. He worked as an Investment Banker with Deutsche bank for eleven years in Hong Kong and moved to Mumbai with his wife Anusha in 2008. He has also written the script of Hello. This book was adapted into a movie. Ryan and Alok who come from three different backgrounds. Dhaula Kuan. Chetan Bhagat was born in New Delhi. One Night @ the Call Center. Despite poor critical response.Hari. He is married to Anusha. It was adapted into a play by the theatre group "Madras Players". who was his classmate in IIM. His writing style is simple with linear narratives and vivid story telling. Madhavan. 2009. R. and brought Bhagat a large fan following. He is a columnist with Dainik Bhaskar & The Times Of India. it was released on December 25.What not to do at IIT . He attended Army Public School. . Later he gave up his job to devote his entire time to his writings. He studied Mechanical Engineering at IIT Delhi and studied at IIM Ahmedabad. it was greeted with popularity. called 3 Idiots. The Three Mistakes of My Life and 2 States .The Story Of My Marriage. It's a story of three IIT Delhi students.

one of the best colleges in India. blaming it for Lobo's death. Rancho irritates his lecturers by giving creative and unorthodox answers. mindless rote learning mentality of the institution. Madhavan). While Farhan and Raju are mediocre students from modest backgrounds who want to lift their families out of poverty. ViruS labels him an "idiot" and attempts on a number of occasions to destroy his friendship with Farhan and Raju. and confronts Virus after fellow student Joy Lobo hangs himself in his dormitory room. Rancho then embarrasses the staff and students by asking them questions about non-existent concepts (Farhanitrate and Prerajulization).About 3 Idiots Farhan Qureshi (R. Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi). Rancho's passion for knowledge and machine-building rather than exam rankings. saying that he himself was completely unmoved by his own son's accidental death after being hit by a train. incurs the wrath of Professor Viru Sahastrabudhhe (Virus) (Boman Irani). However. Rancho denounces the rat-run. (Omi Vaidya) who sees a high rank at the prestigious college as his ticket to higher social status. and Rancchoddas "Rancho" Shyamaldas Chanchad (Aamir Khan) are three engineering students who share a room in a hostel at the fictional Imperial College of Engineering. conforming to the system and social climbing. corporate . Rancho is a wealthy genius who studies for the sheer joy of it. after which ViruS hauls his rebellious student and forces him to lecture the other students. prompting them to feverishly search through textbooks trying to find a definition. dog-eat-dog. Joy had requested an extension on his major project on compassionate grounds—his father had suffered a stroke—but Virus refused. The professor then proceeded to phone Lobo's ill father and inform him that his son will not be graduating. warning them and their parents to steer clear of Rancho. ViruS’ model student is Chatur Ramalingam or "Silencer". In contrast. Threatened by Rancho's talent and free spirit.

Raju and Farhan crash her sister's wedding banquet in order to get a free meal. The next day. The tensions come to a head when the three friends. which has been written by the librarian. The latter incident provokes an angry tirade from Suhas towards Pia about how much money she has lost him—he thinks that she was absent-minded and lost the present. by inserting obscenities into the text. and works by mindless rote learning. Chatur mindlessly memorises the speech. and to the students' uproarious laughter. while Chatur is always second. and then urinate on a door inside the compound before running away when Virus senses intruders. Virus sees an opportunity to break Raju's friendship with Rancho by offering to expel the latter instead. After this. much to their horror. who is awarded the honour of making a speech at an award ceremony. Raju jumps out of the . and unethical means of destroying his competition. the three students continue to anger Virus.power. such as trying to distract his classmates by feeding them pornography magazines. directing frequent vulgar language at ViruS and the federal education minister. and Farhan and Raju are inevitably in the last two positions. Meanwhile. Rancho humiliates Chatur. Rancho also falls in love with Virus's medical student daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor) when he. who is afraid that his ill father will die of the shock of his only son being cast aside and being unable to support the family and earn a dowry for his unmarried sister. without noticing that anything is amiss. but Rancho wins over Pia after first insulting her fiancee Suhas and then demonstrating that Suhas only sees Pia's hand in marriage as a means of furthering his career by marrying into an influential family. the pair fall in love and Pia saves Raju's ill father by administering emergency treatment after he collapses. Virus tells Raju that he is being expelled. although Rancho continues to come first in every exam. Meanwhile. and therefore wealth. Rancho does this by damaging Suhas's expensive material goods. Unable to choose between betraying his friend or letting down his family. This incident provokes further run-ins with Virus. This devastates Raju. break into Virus's house at night to see Pia. Chatur conforms to the expectations of the system. and then confiscating Suhas's gifts to Pia. who are already drunk.

She tells Rancho of the exam. and refuses to cheat and throws the paper away. Pia reveals that Virus’s son and her brother was not killed in an accident but committed suicide in front of a train and left a letter because Virus had forced him to pursue a career in engineering over his love for literature.window and lands on a courtyard. Virus always mentioned that he unsympathetically failed his son on the ICE entrance exams over and over to every new intake of ICE students. A heavy storm cuts all power and traffic. the stunned recruitment personnel change their mind and tell Raju to name whatever salary he wants. Virus catches the trio and expels them on the spot. After the baby is apparently stillborn. Pia walks out on the family home. while Raju is unexpectedly given an interview for a corporate job. However. . they earn a reprieve when Virus’s pregnant elder daughter goes into labour at the same time. awakes from a coma. However. so she tells Rancho to deliver the baby in the college common room with the help of a webcam. and Pia is still in self-imposed exile. and he and Farhan break into Virus's office and steals the exam and give it to Raju. Rancho then delivers the baby with the help of a cobbled-together Vacuum extractor. she denounces him in the same way that Rancho did over the suicide of Lobo. After this. The experience has changed Farhan and Raju. who with his new-found attitude. after Rancho restores power using car batteries and a power inverter that Rancho had dreamed up and Virus had mocked. and they adopt Rancho's outlook. Rancho resuscitates it. Virus reconciles with Rancho and his friends and allows them to take their final exams and they graduate. is unconcerned with the prospect of failing. which the professor had been keeping for decades before finding a brilliant enough student to gift it to. He attends in plaster and a wheelchair and gives a series of non-conformal and frank answers. Pia hears him and angrily confronts him. After turning Raju down. However. Farhan decides to pursue his love of photography. and when Virus gives the same ruthless reply he gives to his students. Rancho comes first and is awarded Virus's pen. but after extensive care from Pia and his roommates. and takes Virus's spare keys with her. Virus is unsympathetic and vows to make the final exam as hard as possible so that Raju is unable to graduate.

they see a group of enthusiastic ethnic Tibetan children who are motivated by love of knowledge. In return. who has hundreds of patents. while the impersonator would sever all contact with the world and start a new life. When they arrive in Ladakh. Pia and the fake Rancho rekindle their love. who joins them. they walk into his father's funeral. as his ticket to further social climbing. now a wealthy and successful . trying to flatter Phunsukh Wangdu. he reveals that it Phunsukh Wangdu and phones Chatur. brazenly confident that he has surpassed Rancho. while he. After accusing the new man of stealing their friend's identity and profiting from his intellect. Raju and Farhan then find Pia. Chatur is horrified and falls to his knees. while Chatur mocks and abuses the schoolteacher before walking away. Raju and Farhan begin a journey to find him. so the family agreed to let the servant boy study in Rancho's place instead of labouring. to turn around and meet his prospective business partner. ten years after Chatur vowed revenge on Rancho for embarrassing him at the speech night and promised to become more successful than Rancho a decade later. They are joined by Chatur. and find a completely different Rancho. Chatur is also looking to seal a deal with a famous scientist and prospective business associate named Phunsukh Wangdu. The householder capitulates and says that their friend was a destitute servant boy who loved learning. the real Rancho would pocket the qualifications and the benefits thereof.wikipedia. the real Rancho. Having lost contact with Rancho. was a lazy wealthy child who disliked study. The real Rancho reveals that his impersonator is now a schoolteacher in Ladakh. the host pulls a gun on them. who disappeared during the graduation party and went into seclusion.Their story is framed as a flashback from the present day. Chatur sees Wangdu. who has turned his back. When his friends ask what his real name is. but Farhan and Raju turn the tables by seizing the father's ashes and threatening to flush them down the toilet. When they find Rancho's house. and having Raju turn up to the ceremony disguised as the groom and eloping with Pia in front of the guests. and take her from her wedding day to Suhas by performing the same tricks with his material possessions.1 1 http://en.

the makers made press statements like the movie is only ‘very loosely’.The Controversy The author Chetan Bhagat claims that the attribution (or rather the lack of it) to his book in the movie has been rather "unfair". Having seen the movie ("3 Idiots") and the book ("5 Point Someone").html . but rather reduced to a paltry amount of 3-5%. Bhagat entered into a contract with the production house (Vinod Chopra Films Pvt Ltd). since his book input has not been adequately "attributed". those who have read the book and seen the movie (and And I also think he may have an arguable case under Indian copyright law. plotline. Yes. theme. message – almost all aspects that make up the story are from FPS. I think those are the only people who have the right to comment) find the film to be an adaptation of Five Point Someone. I'm quite sympathetic to Chetan's claims that he's been "unfairly" treated. The setting. After release. dramatic twists and turns. Bhagat writes in his blog: "Pre-release. there are some changes.blogspot.” Examining the Key Facts/Issues Some specific facts and the various issues (both legal and moral) that they give rise to: 1. any adaptation requires that – but it is no way an original story. one-liners. ‘2%-5% inspired by the book’. 2 http://spicyipindia. characters. under which he assigned all rights in any audio visual format of the book 2 or its adaptation to the production house.

blogspot. As consideration.html . the credits right at the end of the film do mention the fact that the movie is based on the book by Bhagat. 3. 3 http://spicyipindia. whereas the contract stretches out the entire attribution to 3 lines. "It shall be obligatory on the part of the Producer to accord credit to the author in the rolling credits of any audio-visual moving image software (of any format or form in any media or medium) produced by the Producer in terms of the exercise and execution of the Rights granted as under: “Based Five By Chetan Bhagat” on Point The Novel Someone Although. So this is not really about 3 the money.2. This is buttressed by the fact that the credit at the end of the movie was so fleeting that even his mother missed it. it crams up the attribution (“Based on The Novel Five Point Someone By Chetan Bhagat”) in one line. This is mentioned below and is also clearly stated in Clause 4 of the contract. the form of placement was not complied with. Bhagat was also promised credit in the film. Abhijit Joshi was credited right at the start of the movie. The facts appear to indicate that he was paid this sum in full and Bhagat does not contest this in his blog post either. Contrast this with the fact that the script writer. Bhagat could therefore argue that even contractually. as contractually promised. Bhagat was to be paid a certain sum of money (totaling about Rs 11 lakhs or so).com/2010/01/3-idiots-copyright-controversy-will-all.

the end product (movie script) could be rightfully said to be a product of joint authorship.blogspot. 4 http://spicyipindia. Section 57 of the Indian copyright act vests every author with the right to insist that their works be attributed to them. the makers of the movie made statements to the effect that the movie was not really based on the book and that it was "original". Most damagingly perhaps.html . And not a mere 3-5%! Therefore. rather than as a mere rolling credit.Of course. " In other words. Bhagat assigned away his rights to any movie based on the book). If what Bhagat states is true. Or was the movie based substantially on the book? The copying has been rather significant. 4 Moral Rights and Lack of Attribution 4. The question now is: is it true that Bhagat's book only contributed 3-5% to the movie. Bhagat claims that in the pre-release publicity and even post the movie. then he has a decent case against the makers of the movie on grounds of moral rights.. And this right exists independent of the "economic" right to exploit the work. the makers claim that the movie was only based on the book to a paltry extent of 35% . even if the economic rights are assigned away (and in this one might argue that Bhagat ought to have bargained for better placement of his "credit" in the movie.. the author of a work shall have the right to claim the authorship of the work .independently of the author's copyright and even after the assignment either wholly or partially of the said copyright. the moral rights continue to vest in the author. In essence.. the section states that ".

com/2010/01/3-idiots-copyright-controversy-will-all. His father is paralyzed and requires hospital attention. a leading Bollywood star).html . Abhijit and Rajkumar Hirani. he refuses to go by the bookish definition of "machine" and defines it loosely as anything that makes life easier for humans. starting with their initiation ceremony (referred to as "ragging" in India) by their seniors. who goes by the name of "Rancho" (played by the legendary Aamir Khan. Let's examine the movie and book in closer detail. and earn enough to get his sister married off etc.blogspot. it is the world renowned Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).involving Chetan Bhagat. He is therefore under tremendous pressure to score well in college. it is titled the "Imperial College of Engineering". 5 A Factual Comparison SIMILARITIES i) The setting for the story is a premier engineering college in New Delhi. find a good job. iii) The smartest of the lot is an "out of the box" non conformist thinker. While in the book. iv) The second of the three musketeers (Raju) is really poor and his parents have just about scraped together all their earnings to put him through engineering school. Illustratively. v) The third friend is a very talented photographer (Farhan) but is in the 55 http://spicyipindia. ii) The story revolves around 3 friends who make it to the Imperial College of engineering and their various trials and tribulations. in the movie.

Luckily. the three musketeers go up to the terrace of their college (near a water tank) to elevate their spirits and end up thoroughly inebriated. since it turns out that Rancho got the keys from Virus' daughter. something that most Indian institutions encourage even today. Raju cracks under pressure and tries to commit suicide. I personally felt that the movie highlights this aspect with greater impact than does the book. Farhan is the narrator of the story. Rancho strikes a different chord and in the process incurs the wrath of the institutional powers that be. His Hitler like attitude in foisting his rather conservative and austere value system on his children and students leads to his son committing suicide. with whom he shares a romantic relationship. I don't recollect finding any references to this photography talent of Farhan in the book. ix) The head of the institution. vi) In both the book and the movie. they come away unscathed.wrong place (engineering college).e those that do not question their professors or teaching methodologies. vii) On one particular occasion. x) During the course of their studies. viii) The entire educational set up is geared towards rewarding students who learn by rote i. whose rather long name is shortened to 'Virus" deals mercilessly with what he perceives to be student infractions or weaknesses. xi) Rancho and friends steal the exam question paper from the Directors' room and face the prospect of rustication. . but blindly spew out class notes for their exams.

html . with over 400 patents to his name. the book has Farhan doing so. The book misses out on this 7 resounding ending. 6 7 http://spicyipindia. the book does glorify Rancho's maverick nature and one could say that he is made out to be a hero of sorts. he is more of an informal innovator. iv) The film shows Rancho turning out to become a world famous inventor at the end of the movie. The book does not contain this inspiring ending. The book avoids this fraudulent act. Having said this.blogspot. the movie focuses more on the unconventional Rancho.blogspot. a reference to his rather average grades).com/2010/01/3-idiots-copyright-controversy-will-all. v) The movie also ends with Pia finding Rancho in his innovation friendly Shangrila and slapping him for deserting her.6 DIFFERENCES i) While the book appears to center around Farhan (the 5 pointer. ii) While the film has Rancho romancing the Director's daughter (Piya). iii) The film portrays Rancho as generous boy who loves learning for the sake of learning and enters engineering college only to acquire a degree and hand it over (fraudulently) to the son of his dad's boss. However. and some of the inventions depicted in his remote and rather picturesque Ladakh open air lab were borrowed from NIF http://spicyipindia.

The net implication is that the rest of the movie script really originated from other authors.blogspot. The book does not contain any of these Bollywoody references. most of its characters and sub plots.html . even Rancho's closest friends have lost touch with him after college as he gave them the slip. though perhaps insignificantly. viii) And lastly. To me. the polar opposite of Rancho. voluptuous wife and Lambhorgini) and attempting to locate Rancho and his friends to demonstrate that he has indeed won the wager. it appears that a significant portion of the book's storyline. he would have become highly succesful. It is highly misleading and downright dishonest to claim that only 3-5% of the movie was taken. Rancho switches the speech and has Chatur spouting out nasty adjectives for the 8 Director in his Hindi speech (a langauge he is not familiar with since he is born to expat parents). with beautiful apartment. The hunt begins and Rancho is found. if at all it is possible to precisely quantify such factors. including 8 http://spicyipindia. In fact.. He manages to locate the friends and get them to the college but Rancho is nowhere in sight. in that he is the typical conformist who cosies up to his professors and crams too One of the funniest moments in the movie is a speech read out by Chatur Ramalingam. I can't remember any references to such a speech in the book. The movie begins with Chatur returning from the US (where he leads a successful career. a proposition rather difficult to digest. vii) Chatur vows to avenge his humiliation and wagers that in 10 years. with whom Chatur's US company wishes to collaborate..not rotting away but flourishing in the beautiful Ladakh as a world class inventor. the names of all the characters in the book have been changed in the movie. while Rancho would be rotting in hell.

irrespective of whether or not significant book portions were taken. Therefore. Consequently. Chetan could claim that the script borrows significant amounts of copyrightable elements from his book and he is therefore legitimately entitled to be treated as a joint author of this script. the lack of appropriate attribution in favour of Chetan amounts to a violation of his rights to authorship guaranteed by section 57 of the Indian copyright act. The fact that some new scenes and sub plots were added afresh to the movie does not detract from the fact that significant portions of the book were copied onto the movie in the first place. Even otherwise. by crediting the movie to the book as per clause 4 outlined above (albeit a fleeting credit right at the end of the movie that one was likely to miss).some dialogues were all reproduced in the the claim that the book only contributed 3-5% of the movie is blatantly false. one might argue that the contract demanded it. couldn't one argue that the movie makers impliedly accepted that a significant portion of the movie was based on the book? Else. why would they need to credit at all? Though technically.9 9 http://spicyipindia.blogspot.html . On the contrary.

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