Date: November 21, 2013
From: Anubha Bang
To: Cast and Crew of 3 Idiots and Chetan Bhagat
Re: Story Credit Row
3 Idiots is the highest grossing box office hit in India’s movie history. To date, the film has collected USD 60M worldwide from theatrical ticket sales. But, 3 Idiots is better known for the story credit controversy that surrounded its release in December 2010 than the actual content of the movie. The author of the book Five Point Someone, from which the movie is allegedly adapted, has accused the makers of the film from denying him due credit. This is a classic problem in the Indian movie industry where unknown writers are pushed over by more financially ...view middle of the document...
For e.g., you may own The Starry Nights and have the exclusive right to display it, but this does not make you the painter of the masterpiece. The credit for painting it still resides with Vincent Van Gogh. Similarly, when the makers bought the rights to the book they wrongly justified it to themselves that they had actually bought the creativity of the content too whereas they had just bought the right to use the creativity.
Another facet of their dishonest behavior can be attributed to the fact that the makers of the movie were removed from receiving any direct cash benefit by ‘stealing the credit for story’ and this thus encouraged them to cheat. They had paid all monetary dues to the author and now when there was no direct cash incentive but rather an intangible fame incentive, it made it easier for them to cheat. Finally, the way the Indian movie industry is organized producers and directors have a lot more power than a writer and thus can get away with such unethical practices. This is classic abuse of power behavior where the underdog is overwhelmed by the strength and clout of the people above.
Producer yelling at the media: Underestimating Peer Influence
The producer of the movie made the biggest faux pas when he yelled “Shut up” in public directed towards a journalist assembled during a press conference. He underestimated the power of peer influence and failed to recognize the impact of the journalist’s decisions to support Bhagat on other journalists. Previously, other members of the press were uncertain about which party to support. However, after Chopra, the producer yelled at a fellow scribe, Bhagat gained great persuasive leverage when he utilized media peers to communicate to other reporters the fallacy of Chopra’s actions. This is a classic success story in applying Peer influence. The makers of the film could have used the same tactic to benefit their cause; if only...