Director Sooni Taraporevala has accused the makers of an advertisement featuring Deepika Padukone of plagiarising from her film, Yeh Ballet. The ad's production designer, Rupin Suchak, admitted that the similarities were deliberate.
Watch the Levi's ad starring Deepika Padukone
"A couple days ago someone brought this @levis_in ad to my attention," Sooni wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday, attaching screenshots from her film and the advertisement. "I was shocked to see our Yeh Ballet dance studio set in this ad, because it was conceptualized & created out of a derelict space by @shalzoid (our PD) from scratch and dismantled after our shoot. Basically @nadiaeye (the director of this ad) saw Yeh Ballet and decided to plagiarize our set down to the very last detail (swipe for screenshot). Would Levi's and the director ever think of doing that in the west without permission / acknowledgment, and passing it off as their own creative work? This is not homage this is intellectual theft! It's SO unfair to our wonderful production designer @shalzoid to have her work ripped off like that."
She added, "Copycat culture in India needs to be called out and cancelled. You would think a foreign production company and director would know better. Are you so creatively bankrupt? What were you thinking? @levis_in @nadiaeye @offroadfilms @rupinsuchak @newland.tv."
Yeh Ballet was released on Netflix in 2019. The film follows two Mumbai kids, who dream of dancing the ballet, much to the disapproval of their families and the society. Deepika shared the advertisement, for the apparel brand Levi's, on her Instagram page last week. Among those who applauded the ad were her husband, Ranveer Singh, actor Ayushmann Khurrana, her future co-star Hrithik Roshan, and others.
Rupin admitted that Yeh Ballet was indeed a part of the brief. "That's exactly like the studio in the film Yeh Ballet, did you guys shoot there?" one person commented, and Rupin's reply, according to the screenshot shared by Sooni was, "Yes we did :) in fact that's what our director wanted so we had to recreate that."
Deepika was last seen on screen in Chhapaak. She is currently filming Pathan, opposite Shah Rukh Khan, and recently concluding shooting for Shakun Batra's domestic noir. She also has Fighter, with Hrithik, in the pipeline.