New Delhi, March 21: Celebrity memoirs and biographies, despite the terrific attraction they have for readers, have come to be quite controversial in recent times. It was not very long ago that actor wazuddin Siddiqui was compelled to withdraw his memoir “An Ordiry Life” and it seems yesterday once more with Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt “upset” over his “uuthorised” biography by Yasser Usman. For well over past one month, the publisher, Juggerut Books had been approaching media outlets with their “hottest book in March”, sharing the electronic copy or the pdf of the book with concerned reporters and setting an embargo till March 20 for extracts from the book to be published. Even as a couple of extracts appeared a day or two before the agreed embargo, it was only on Tuesday evening (March 20) that Dutt took to twitter and conveyed that he was “upset” with this “uuthorised” biography by Yasser Usman.
Sanjay Dutt 'upset' but what can he do?
“I have not authorised either Juggerut Publications (sic) or Yasser Usman to write/publish my biography. Our lawyers had sent them a legal notice, in response to which Juggerut Publications said that contents of the proposed book are based on information available in public domain from authentic sources. “However, from the excerpts that are appearing in the newspaper are partly based on my old interviews, but rest all seemed to be based on hearsay, 1990s’ tabloids and gossip magazines, most of which are figments of imagition and not true. I have consulted with my legal team on the next course of action,” the actor wrote.
Juggerut responded on Wednesday morning, saying that they were “sorry to hear that Mr Sanjay Dutt was upset” with the book and “to pay respect to Mr Dutt’s wishes,” they would not be putting out “any more extracts from the book in short-form media”. The publishing house, whose investors include ndan Nilekani and Bharti Airtel, however, clarified that “the book has been painstakingly footnoted” and that Usman has referred to stories that were already “uncontested and widely reported” in the public record for many years.
This is evident from the fact that Juggerut is currently selling its e-book version for Rs 50 on its website. While Dutt may be “upset” with the book, publishing insiders say there’s little he can do legally in this regard.
The reason is the difference between an authorised and an uuthorised biography. While the former has complete approval and support of the subject, the latter does not. And one can gain little by contesting an uuthorised biography in court until and the material is defamotory. For this book, however, Usman has referred extensively to direct quotes from Dutt, reports that have already been published and have gone uncontested for many years. The book also carries an extensive 20-page reference section for the 200-page text on the actor.
Taking into consideration the long reference section of the book, almost everything that Usman has written in the book seems to be based on material that is already available in public domain. “To show that we respect his words and don’t want him to be unhappy, there are a couple pending (extracts) and we will hold off on them,” Chiki Sarkar, Publisher of Juggerut said. (IANS)