Art & Entertainment

'Made In Heaven 2' Controversy: Netizens Stand Divided Over Yashica Dutt's Plagiarism Claim

'Made In Heaven 2' landed into controversy post its release as author Yashica Dutt claimed that the makers of the show used her work in one of the episodes without her consent.

Made In Heaven 2 controversy

Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti's 'Made In Heaven 2' premiered on Amazon Prime Video recently after a gap of 4 years. It has been a long wait for the fans of 'MIH 2', but it was worth the wait. The second season of 'Made In Heaven' throws light on some sensitive issues of our society with beautifully woven storyline with some stellar performances. The show is not just about marriages; it's more than that. Among all the episodes, one episode that has created a stir on social media is the episode titled, 'The Heart Skips A Beat'. 

Neeraj Ghaywan's directed episode is one of the most impressive addition on the show. Neeraj who is known for his previous works like 'Masaan' and 'Geeli Pucchi' (Ajeeb Daastaans) has been getting lots of appreciation for beautifully showing the complexities of caste system that is still deep-rooted in our country. But it got embroiled in controversy post its release. 

The episode has Radhika Apte who plays Pallavi Menke, a Dalit activist who is well-educated and independent and doesn't shy away to show her identity as 'ex-untouchable'. She is all set to marry an Indian-American lawyer who is a Brahmin. Menke wants a Buddhist wedding but she faces societal pressures and prejudices at home for the caste. She fights for it and later she gets married as per her wish. The particular episode has been lauded and Ghaywan is getting credit for it but no one stop controversy, right? 

Author, Yashica Dutt came in the limelight when she claimed in her Instagram post that the character Pallavi Menke has a stark resemblance to her and it is taken from her memoir, 'Coming Out As Dalit'. Dutt made a copyright claim against the makers including director Neeraj Ghaywan for allegedly talking about her life and work and not giving her formal credit. 

Yashica expressed her disappointment as how her words and her experiences written in her book (studied in Columbia and embraced her Dalit identity, grandmother was engaged with manual cleaning) was used in the Radhika Apte starrer episode without her permission. She wrote a lengthy post slamming the makers of 'Made In Heaven 2'. 

Here's her post. 

Post that, Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Neeraj Ghaywan, and Alankrita Ranjan Srivastava released a joint statement where they denied Yashica's claims. The statement read: “We are deeply disturbed with the misleading reports and comments in context of author Yashica Dutt claiming formal credit for her ‘contribution’ to Made In Heaven, a show set around wedding planners and remarkable brides who challenge prejudices deeply ingrained in our society.”

The statement also explained Apte's character, “In Episode 5- ‘The Heart Skips A Beat’, we peek into the life of Pallavi Menke a fictional character.” He refutes the claim saying, “None of the above is drawn from Yashica Dutt’s life or her book- ‘Coming Out As Dalit.’ We categorically deny any claim that Ms, Dutt’s life or work was appropriated by us.”

''In the episode, the character, Pallavi Menke mentions her grandmother’s back story. This narrative of cleaning toilets was included because it is a common history that came up recurrently in our research of the community. Pallavi Menke’s fictional book, “Denied” is a hat-tip to several books like Ants Among Elephants by Sujatha Gidla, Caste Matters by Suraj Yengde, Coming Out As Dality by Yashica Dutt and the Tarshi article by Sumit Baudh. We have immense respect for them and their experience and their work that has admirably shed light on caste based discrimination,'' it stated further.

This particular controversy has created a conundrum on social media and it has left netizens divided. While some have come out in support of the makers, some are all for Yashica Dutt. Have a look at some of the reactions on Twitter. 

Meanwhile, Yashica, responding to the makers' statement told The Quint that she feels that their 'response comes from a very condescending and calculated place'. She further said, ''I'm the one who has been denied credit, but at the same time I've tried to be as generous and compassionate with my response as possible. On the other hand the makers, who have the backing of one of the world's largest streaming platforms and who represent some of the most powerful people in the film industry, have taken a completely different tone and I wish things could have been better.''