According to the media reports and a press release the honourable Civil Court of Patna has allowed a petition of Dhananjay Kapoor and Jamshaid Ashraf on 16th March, 2013, and has issued injunction on the release of a film made on the life of the late Dashrath Manjhi by the eminent filmmaker Ketan Mehta until the final verdict is delivered. The late Dashrath Manjhi was known as the ‘Mountain Man of India’ who successfully chiseled alone through a mountain for 22 years to make a road for the love of his late wife Falguni Devi, who had died due to lack of medical treatment because the nearest town with a doctor was 70 Kilometres away from their village in Bihar.
Dhananjay Kapoor claims that he began researching on the life story of Dashrath Manjhi in 2006 and decided to make a biopic on him. Kapoor took Manjhi’s consent in July 2007, a month before Manjhi’s demise. According to Kapoor, Manjhi told him the essential elements that must be present in the film. Later, Kapoor found a producer in Jamshaid Ashraf who was equally committed to the project.
However, according to Kapoor and Ashraf, they got to know in October 2012 that Ketan Mehta was shooting a film on Manjhi in Gehlor. They immediately sent a legal notice to Mehta informing him about their agreement with the late Manjhi. In January 2013, when it again came to their knowledge that the production and shooting of the film on Dashrath Manjhi has not stopped, they moved the court. And finally, the honourable Civil Court of Patna has admitted their petition on 16th March, 2013, and issued an injunction directing Ketan Mehta and his filmmaking company not to exhibit the film on Dashrath Manjhi till the pendency of the suit.
Dhananjay Kapoor is also making another biopic based on the life of Kamleshwari Singh a.k.a ‘talaabi baba’ who dug a pond on a piece of his land for the welfare of his fellow villagers in Manikpur village (Barh) of Bihar toiling tirelessly for eight years. This will be the second film in the ‘thematic’ trilogy Kapoor has planned and he has secured the rights of this story as well.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)