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Rani Mukerji's Hichki runs into a hiccup, writer speaks of 'ill treatment'

Nishant Kaushik, a novelist and writer, took to Twitter to suggest that he was among the early people involved in the creation of the story for Rani Mukerji's film. 

Our Correspondent

Rani Mukerji returned to the big screen with the launch of the trailer of Hichki on Tuesday, 19 December. The actress will be seen playing a teacher with Tourette's Syndrome in the film directed by Sidharth P Malhotra. However, Nishant Kaushik, a writer, took to Twitter today to suggest that he was among the early names involved in the crafting of Hichki's story. 

In a long Twitter rant, Kaushik wrote 'Landing in India this morning, I watched the trailer of #Hichki which served as a rude reminder of how easy it is to treat writers like trash. I will rant in this short thread after I have collected my composure.' 

Kaushik, author of My Father A Hero, wrote that he had been contacted by director Sidharth P Malhotra in March 2015 for help working on a story. While Kaushik was hesitant, considering his location in Australia and a full time job, he said Malhotra was eager. 

According to Kaushik, he began work on Ka one-liner brief and developed plot, synopsis, character lines over the period of a month and sent them across to Malhotra through e-mails. However, he never received a reply or any intimation of further progress on the project. 

Kaushik assumed the absence of reply to be a sign of the project being dropped. However, the writer said the release of the Hichki trailer made him 'notice a rather similar storyline, a protagonist with the same speech disorder' 

Despite the similarities, Kaushik maintained that he had no copyright or ownership claim over the script of Hichki. He wrote, 'Does this mean Hichki is my story? NO. Does it mean I worked on it and was owed the courtesy of a response or acknowledgement of the effort I invested? HELL YES.'

Kaushik's complaint seems to be towards director Malhotra's lack of response or intimation about taking his plot, or using certain characters in his story for Hichki. 

The scenario seems reminiscent of Apurva Asrani's recent spat with actress Kangana Ranaut over the writing credits of Hansal Mehta's Simran (2017). Asrani had claimed that he was the initial writer on Mehta's project, and that Kangana Ranaut had only suggested minor changes. The writer later shared his script version for his followers to read. 

Incidentally, Asrani retweeted Kaushik's thread on Twitter, and wrote 'Plagiarism or not, the way our industry treats writers is appalling.' 

The writer further tweeted that he will take the matter up legally with the Australian Writers' Guild in Melbourne.

The four main writers credited for Hichki are Anckur Chaudhry, Sidharth P Malhotra, Ambar Hadap, and Ganesh Pandit. The film is being produced by Yash Raj Films, and will be released on 23 February 2018.