On 2 March, Devi, a short film featuring Kajol, Neha Dhupia, Shruti Haasan and several other seasoned actors released on YouTube. Written and directed by Priyanka Banerjee, the short is described as “a tale of sisterhood. A tale of suffering. A tale of truth” on the video streaming site. Since Devi, produced by Ryan Stephen and Niranjan Iyengar, stars a string of well-known faces and is also a powerful short, it got a lot of attention and rave reviews across media platforms.
However, there’s another short film titled Four on the very same concept made in 2018. This short is a student film that’s been written, directed and edited by Abhishek Rai and produced by AndaKurry Productions and Marwah Films.
Just as in Devi, the idea behind Four rests around a few women who have been raped and killed, who then come together under the same roof in their afterlife. The films also end similarly – in Four an infant who has been brutalised is left at their door and in Devi – a small girl comes to their doorstep.
While the cast in Four features victims from real cases such as Nirbhaya, Bhanwari Devi and Asifa, Devi’s actors represent numerous women across class and religious divides. Made at a bigger budget with established actors, Devi ends up looking slicker, better produced and performed. But, the similarity in the basic concept of both these films is too striking to escape notice. Also, the idea behind the ending of both films are identical, barring the age difference of the girls that join their home.
Abhishek Rai the director of Four has put up a Facebook post stating that his film has been copied by the makers of Devi:
Here’s something I’d like to bring to everybody’s notice.
We at AndaKurry Productions, made a short film when we were in film school, 2 years back called ‘FOUR’ that dealt with a premise of rape victims sitting together in a room when a new victim arrives.
And yesterday, a film named ‘Devi’ was uploaded to LargeShortFilms’s YouTube channel that has heavy resemblance and the premise is also of the film we made.
Ofcourse our film was a student film, with very little production design, bad audio and stuff, but still it’s a child of our own imagination and it’s ruthless how anyone can just pick up a piece of thought and claim it to be theirs.
The film is an intellectual property of Asian Academy of Film & Television.
Now, I have not been contacted by large short films or the makers of the film regarding any kind of query. This saddens me and I’d want your support to be heard so we can take action against the makers and the platform.