Television

Writer locks horns with ETV Kannada over Akka

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MUMBAI: We’ve heard of instances where writers have been unable to stand up to errant television channels that have produced shows based on their scripts without informing them, let alone involving them.

However, having such a writer drag the channel to court and succeed in getting a stay order against the concerned show is a rarity in the television industry.

One such is Akka, the story of twin sisters, which was to air on ETV Kannada at 8.30pm starting Monday. As soon as Kannada writer-producer Rekha Rani got wind of the show being a replica of the draft copy she had submitted to the channel some months ago, she raised a stink. When ETV Kannada didn’t pay any heed to her allegations, she approached the Bangalore civil court which passed a stay order restraining the channel from airing the show from Monday.

When contacted, Rekha Rani told  indiantelevision.com: “It is my story and idea that they have copied. The channel also came to me for monetary settlement but that’s not what I’m after. I want my story back.”                                         

Rekha Rani says she only wants her story back, not money

“I had given the story to the channel and they seemed interested but I had no idea they had taken it ahead without my involvement.” Rani claims she has audio recordings of programming head of the channel Parameshwar Gundkal, asking her to come to a monetary settlement as well as recordings of the show crew describing the show which she says she has produced in court. When contacted, Guntakal refused to comment on the matter.     

Promos of Akka are already on air and a larger promotional campaign amounting to Rs 10 lakh is running across the state.

When contacted, Viacom18 EVP Ravish Kumar who heads ETV Kannada, Oriya and Bangla refused to comment saying the matter is subjudice. Asked about the replacement for Akka, he simply said: “Wait and watch what we do on Monday.”

“This is totally unethical. How can a writer now approach him? This is a clear signal to channels not to mess around with creative professionals. We need to safeguard the interest of writers,” says a senior executive from a rival channel.

Meanwhile, ETV Kannada lawyer Shyamsundar has this afternoon submitted a reply to the court to vacate the stay on Akka. Coming to Rekha Rani, it’s now a fight to the finish...

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