Popular Hindi crime fiction writer Surendra Mohan Pathak has alleged that his novel Dhabba has been “mischievously misrepresented” in Amazon Prime’s Mirzapur 2. In a letter to the OTT platform, Mr. Pathak, a cult figure in Hindi pulp fiction, has described it as a violation of the Copyright Act.
Referring to the episode 3 of the series, Mr. Pathak said character Satyanand Tripathi, played by veteran actor Kulbhushan Kharbanda, is shown reading from his novel Dhabba. “What the character has been shown reading through a voice-over is sheer pornography, which I cannot even dream of writing, supposedly to titillate the reader. It has no bearing with the original text of Dhabba. In fact, there is no character named Baldev Raj in the said novel,” said Mr. Pathak. He is seeking immediate removal of the said sequence failing which he would “initiate legal proceedings against the producers, writers and the actor”.
The 80-year-old prolific writer said the “sequence defames him as an author and puts him in a bad light”. “I have been published by the multi-national publishers such as Harper Collins and Westland which is, ironically, an Amazon company.”
Dhabba was originally published by Raj Pocket Books in 2010.
Film critic Bobby Sing, who wrote about the misrepresentation in a Facebook post, said it showed the “absurd assumptions” of certain writer-directors about Hindi crime novels and their authors. “They would not have done it with foreign writers,” he said.
“We could understand that a production assistant came up with the wrong book at the last minute but how can you show reading an excerpt from a book which is not there in it,” said film critic Ajay Brahmatmaj. “Surendra Mohan Pathak is not Mastram. He is not symbolic of the kind of writing that the writer and director are referring to. It reflects that many of those who are writing and directing films and web series in Hindi are not aware of the social, cultural, literary aspects of Hindi,” added Mr. Brahmatmaj.
Interestingly, the Hindi Day, the PR Agency promoting Mirzapur issued a press release wherein it said the team of Mirzapur would help you speak pure Hindi. But the words that it cited in the release were bhaukaal (awesome impression), kantaap (a slap delivered near the ear region) and bawaal (chaos). “These are slangs or colloquial words which practitioners of dignified language avoid even in eastern part of Uttar Pradesh where the series is set,” said Mr. Brahmatmaj.
The Amazon Prime PR team didn’t respond despite repeated attempts. Mr. Pathak said he had been approached by a senior team member and had been promised a discussion over the issue.