Earlier today, Kangana Ranaut announced that she was all set to return with a sequel to the 2019 film, Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. Titled Manikarnika: The Legend of Didda, the second instalment in what is now going to be a franchise, will chronicle the life of ‘The Cleopatra of Kashmir’ Didda, who ruled in the Valley directly and indirectly for around five decades during the 10th and 11th centuries. However, the announcement took author Ashish Kaul, who has penned a book on the ruler, by surprise.
Claiming that he is the sole copyright owner of the biography, the English version of which has already released, Ashish added, “I have the exclusive copyrights to the life story of Didda who was the Princess of Lohar (Poonch), now in Jammu & Kashmir, and the Queen of Kashmir”. Incidentally, the author had approached Kangana to write a foreword for the Hindi version of the book. “On September 11, 2020, I had written to her on her official email ID, which belongs to her sister Rangoli, requesting her to pen a foreword for my book ‘Didda – Kashmir Ki Yodha Rani’, which is yet to release in 2019. Appended in the same email was the entire life story of the warrior queen,” relays the author, adding that he is yet to get a reply from the actress or his sister.
Given the recent developments, the author is now claiming that Kangana has, knowingly or unknowingly, chosen to commit an intellectual fraud. “Is it believable by any stretch of imagination that a story and a book is being usurped by a renowned actor-turned-social activist? She may even turn around and claim that Didda is a historical figure, which is true except the fact that no historian in the world, apart from Kalhan who wrote just two pages on her, and me, who has spent six years on research and documentation, who have information on her. I am deeply aghast that a person as aware, knowledgeable, and apparently a nationalist and a voice for causes, has chosen to belittle her image so. She has blatantly violated my sole rights; it is illegal and an absolute violation of the IPR and copyright laws of the same country that she swears by. I find it so brazen and hideous and I am still inclined to believe that Kangana has been misguided,” concludes Ashish, who is in talks with Zeeshan Ahmed of 70mm Talkies for the film adaptation of his book.