Controversies and legal notices continue to dog best-selling author Chetan Bhagat. This time, Bhagat's One Indian Girl, seems to be in legal trouble just six months after its release.
Anvita Bajpai, a Bengaluru-based author sued the writer, claiming that the ‘characters, places and emotional flow’ of his book had been lifted from one of her stories 'Drawing Parallels' from the book 'Life, Odds & Ends'.
"I handed a copy of my book to Chetan Bhagat at the Bangalore Literature Festival in 2014 for feedback, she alleged.
Bajpai handed Bhagat a legal notice on February 22 this year, asking him to withdraw the book from stores and cough up Rs 5 lakh as damages. Bhagat responded a month later denying all allegations, which prompted Bajpai to approach a civil court in Bengaluru.
Bhagat has been served a temporary injunction staying the sale of the book on charges of plagiarism.
The court granted temporary injunction till the next hearing, restraining Bhagat and Rupa Publications from selling the novel. The order was passed on April 19.
The banker-turned author categorically denied the allegations. In a Facebook post, he said, "This is deeply unfortunate. This is for one an absolute surprise for me as I have never read any of this author's works. My stories are always original - including One Indian Girl - and it is unthinkable for me to do anything like what is suggested. Surely, alleging anything like this in the current digital age is strange."
Interestingly, this comes at around the same time as the announcement that Bhagat’s debut work, Five Point Someone, will now be included in the Delhi University English Literature syllabus.
Chetan Bhagat and plagiarism
The banker-turned-writer who shot to fame with his debut novel, 'Five Point Someone', is not new to charges of plagiarism. Astonishing other incidents are quite similar to this one.
In 2014, a Dr Birbal Jha, director of British Lingua, a spoken English institute in Patna, alleged that Bhagat had lifted the plot of his latest novel, Half Girlfriend, from his bilingual play, Englishia Boli.
Bhagat had visited my institute in Patna in January this year. "I had presented him a set of books which I have written for students seeking to improve their knowledge of spoken English," he said.
Birbal said that his gift of books to Bhagat included his play called Englishia Boli. "This is an educational social drama which was written in the drama form basically to educate the poor students of Bihar who had problems in speaking English with ease," he said.
One Indian Girl
Bhagat's One Indian Girl is the story of Radhika Mehta, a worker at the Distressed Debt group of Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. While in Goa for an arranged marriage with Brijesh Gulati, she is contacted by two of her ex-boyfriends, Debu and Neel,and both ask her to elope with them respectively. Radhika must choose between the three of them and must come to terms with her past in New York and Hong Kong, while also maintaining her nerdy girl personality for her family's image.
One Indian Girl received mixed to positive reviews from critics. It received 3.1 stars out of 5 on Goodreads and 4.3 out of 5 on Snapdeal. Most sources describe the book as "an improvement over Half Girlfriend".