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Filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala accuses makers of Levi's ad of plagiarism

The writer-director said the ad's set design was similar to that of her film, Yeh Ballet (2020).

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Yeh Ballet (2020) director Sooni Taraporevala has accused the makers of the new advertisement for Levi's Jeans, featuring Deepika Padukone, of plagiarising the set design of her film.

Taraporevala shared behind-the-scenes images from Yeh Ballet and screenshots of the recent ad, pointing out the similarities that led her to form the conclusion. 

Writing on Instagram, Taraporevala pointed out, "A couple of days ago Cindy Jourdain brought this Levis ad to my attention. I was shocked to see our Yeh Ballet dance studio set in this ad because it was conceptualized & created out of a derelict space by Shailaja Sharma (our PD) from scratch and dismantled after our shoot. No such dance studio exists in Mumbai which is why we built it."

The director further added that not giving credit to the makers is ''unfair'' to Sharma. She said, "Basically @nadiaeye (the director of this ad, Nadia Marquard Otzen) saw Yeh Ballet and decided to plagiarize our set down to the very last detail (swipe for screenshot). Would Levi’s and the director ever think of doing that in the west without permission/acknowledgment, and passing it off as their own creative work? This is not homage this is intellectual theft! It’s SO unfair to our wonderful production designer @shalzoid to have her work ripped off like that (sic)."

However, the filmmaker emphasized that she was only speaking out against the habit of plagiarising that is rampant across the industry, and not specifically against Deepika Padukone or the cast. She added, "Copycat culture in India needs to be called out and cancelled. You would think a foreign production company and director would know better. Are you so creatively bankrupt? What were you thinking? PS. contrary to what clickbait news headlines say, this has nothing to do with Deepika Padukone or anyone else in the cast."

Taraporevala's Yeh Ballet was released on Netflix on 21 February last year.

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