At the movies

What is the Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy dispute all about?

The Regional Censor Board has given the UA certificate to `Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’. But the certificate will be subject to the ruling by the Telangana High court after its next hearing on Monday.

At the heart of the dispute is the case filed by 22 legal heirs of Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy, on whose life the movie has been made with Chiranjeevi playing the title role. They have demanded that they get to see the movie before it is released on 2 October.

The second demand is that producer Ram Charan (Chiranjeevi’s son) should pay each of the seven families Rs 15 lakh each as remuneration for using Narasimha Reddy’s story. That will work out to Rs 1.05 crore for a movie that has been made with a budget upwards of Rs 200 crore.

“Ram Charan is neither willing to show the movie nor is he willing to give any money. Last year, he and the 22 legal heirs had signed on stamped paper stating that this movie is being made on Narasimha Reddy’s life. Now conveniently they say in court that it is not a biopic and that it will put a disclaimer saying so at the beginning of the movie,” says K Jagadeeshwar Reddy, counsel for the legal heirs. 

Jagadeeshwar Reddy claims the petitioners are extremely impoverished, live below the poverty line, working as daily labour.

Dastagiri Reddy, the first petitioner in his affidavit points out that the producers of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy approached the 22 legal heirs on 2 August 2018 through a Telugu TV channel and requested the family to enter into an agreement.

“Believing their words, 22 members of the Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy family met the producer (Ram Charan) at his residence on 20 August. He promised us orally that he will provide us all regal claim for the use of our family history and places like our house and other articles, literature of Narasimha Reddy before the release of the theatrical trailer. We never gave any consent in writing,” says the affidavit.

To say that the movie is not a biopic would be strange given that it has been promoted as the story of the first freedom fighter from Kurnool district. For the makers to now say it is not a biopic amounts to lying.  

In fact, in its caveat, the production house mentions that the film is based on the freedom struggle of India and the contribution of Late Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy. The caveator after conducting extensive research from the material available in public record had made this movie.'' But for certification purpose, they intend to put a disclaimer saying, “it is not a biopic”.

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