Chetan Bhagat is currently one of the most celebrated and “ridiculed” Indian fiction writers. His book 'Five Point Someone' is in the talks to be included by Delhi University (DU) as part of the course curriculum for English Literature students. It is now going to be a part of the popular fiction paper for second-year undergraduate students.
However, one fine day, Anvita Bajpai, a writer based in Bangalore, walked into Bhagat’s life. Between promoting his latest movie 'Half Girlfriend', and his debut book being chosen as the curriculum in DU, Bhagat is now being charged with plagiarism by the fellow writer from Bangalore.
According to Bajpai, Chetan Bhagat has taken ideas from one of her short story “Drawing Parallels” from her book, 'Life, Odds & Ends' for his latest bestseller 'One Indian Girl'. The Bengaluru author further claimed that the “characters, places and emotional flow” were so deceptively similar to her own story that it is obvious, Bhagat has copied off from her book which she had gifted to him for critiquing, during the Bengaluru Literature Festival in 2014.
“Together, all these facts and patterns point that ‘One Indian Girl’ authored by defendant No 1 in the year 2016 is adapted from the book ‘Life, Odds & Ends’ from the story of ‘Drawing Parallels’ published in the year 2014,” specified Bajpai.
Bajpai had sent a legal notice to Bhagat, seeking withdrawal of his book and a sum of Rs 5 lakh as damages. However, Bhagat replied with denial to all her allegations and stated that 'One Indian Girl' was a totally different story and not based on Bajpai's short story. Bajpai has now filed a lawsuit against the 'One Indian Girl' author and the Bengaluru court has ruled in favor, granting a temporary injunction on the sale of Bhagat’s book.
“I read my own book and Bhagat’s book twice and saw the similarities in the storylines. A few scenes are common and even a few names in the book are common,” states Bajpai in an interview with Quint.
Will this controversy affect Bhagat's credentials as a writer and the fate of his books? Only time will tell.