Film-maker Jami clears air surrounding 'Jugnu' controversy

Published: August 28, 2018
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KARACHI: Featuring breathtaking visuals, the trailer of Jami Mehmood’s upcoming production Jugnu was released last week. While viewers were in for a feast for the eyes, one Lahore-based NCA student took to Facebook and claimed that the acclaimed film-maker had stolen his idea.

PHOTO: HARRIS JAVAID

PHOTO: HARRIS JAVAID

Ahmad Baig stated that “three years ago”, he had made a film for his university thesis titled Ibbo Ki Eid. He claimed that Jami’s Jugnu bears an uncanny resemblance to his work. He also posted a side-by-side comparison of his film against Jami’s trailer.

After garnering a lot of social media attention, Jami spoke to Ahmad and the two apparently cleared matters. However, things took yet another turn when the latter claimed that the Moor director was threatening NCA students and refused to be a part of the jury.

Sharing screenshots of his conversation with Jami, Ahmad stated that the issue was being blown out of proportion, even though the two had mutually decided to put matters behind them. Still accusing the Jugnu producer, Ahmad wrote, “For an idea, you just need a tagline. Later, the same line can be turned into a short film or a feature.”

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Talking to The Express Tribune, Jami revealed that Ahmad’s trailer for Ibbo Ki Eid was released in January 2016 whereas his idea of Jugnu – which was initially called Bakra – kicked off in October 2014. The film-maker then shared screenshots of a conversation he had with Jugnu’s writer and director, Ali Abbas Naqvi. The 46-year-old director explained, “How can I copy the trailer of a film which was released in 2016 when my ideas originated back in 2014?”

Jami added, “Ahmad edited the trailer to match Jugnu’s and then claimed that we copied his work. After speaking to him, he said that it was not the story that is copied, it was the shots. I explained to him that such coincidental similarities pertaining to stories and shots do come about, but he doesn’t seem to understand that.” He also shared that he was not present for the 2016 NCA jury when Ahmad’s film was screened and the film department at NCA is gathering details to prove that.

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Jami continued that a lot of people including NCA students started abusing him on Facebook too. “I am not boycotting NCA. I told Ahmad that if the students of the university are against me, I won’t come. He is taking a different meaning of my words which I did not intend.”

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On the other hand, Ahmad revealed that he was only sharing his opinion when he posted the comparison of the two trailers. “I did not accuse Jami of anything. Plus, you cannot tell the entire story of a film from its trailer so it doesn’t make sense for me to accuse him.”

He added that it was the team behind Jugnu which highlighted the matter as they are probably feeling insecure about their project. Ahmad, who has also worked as an assistant director for My Pure Land, continued, “Jami said that I reedited my film’s trailer to match Jugnu. All I want to say is that even if I did that, the shots were from my film.”

The NCA graduate also stated that he was waiting for the film to hit screens before passing a judgement but feels that matters seem to have escalated for no apparent reason.

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