Kangana Ranaut in legal trouble for “hijacking” Ketan Mehta’s project

Filmmaker Ketan Mehta has sent a legal notice to Kangana Ranaut for allegedly “hijacking” one of his most ambitious projects, ‘Rani of Jhansi: The Warrior Queen’.

Mehta alleged that he shared the "script and research material" of the film with Kangana in June 2015 and that she gave her consent for the project. But later, the ‘Queen’ actress retracted and recently announced another film on Rani Laxmibai titled ‘Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi’, with producer Kamal Jain.

The movie was originally announced by Mehta, director of Aamir Khan starrer ‘Mangal Pandey: The Rising’, two years ago. “I always wanted to make The Rising as a trilogy. So, this film will be the second part after Mangal Pandey,” he had stated at that time.  

“This is regarding my project called ‘Rani of Jhansi: The Warrior Queen’ and her (Kangana’s) attempt with the producer Kamal Jain, at hijacking the project. Since 2015, I was in contact with Kangana for the project. I was sharing research material and several drafts of the script with Kangana and she was actively participating,” Mehta told Hindustan Times.

“Kangana introduced me to Mr Kamal Jain. We had an international producer and we were looking for an Indian co-producer. We had meetings with Mr Kamal where Kangana was also involved and we shared all the information. And then, suddenly, we hear about this project (Manikarnika). It is completely unethical. And this was after we shared access to all our research material from past ten years,” he added.

Mehta said that through the legal notice, he has asked for the halting of ‘Manikarnika’ as he plans to go ahead with his project. He added that his lawyers will take up the matter with the actress.

“This is for the legal lawyer to work it out. We have put 10 years of our life in this project as it's a great project for the world, not just India,” IANS quoted ‘Manjhi - The Mountain Man’ maker as saying.

Earlier, there were reports that Kangana and Mehta parted ways "because they couldn't find common ground on the language factor." Mehta wanted to make the film in English for an international audience while Kangana wanted it to be in Hindi.

Responding to the report, Mehta told the daily, “This was a fabricated piece of news. The film was supposed to be bilingual - English and Hindi. We believed it is a story that needs to be told not just in India, but abroad as well. Rani of Jhansi is one of the most fascinating characters of human history.”