Did Kalank steal Shauna Singh Baldwin’s book, “What the Body Remembers” without author’s permission?

One of this year’s most awaited movies – Kalank had a trailer teaser few weeks ago. The trailer was launched in the presence of the film’s lead actors and actresses; Madhuri Dixit Nene, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sonakshi Sinha, and Sanjay Dutt at the event. After creating all the hype with the actors’ first look posters and songs, the viewers got the change to see the teaser trailer.

For a long time, Kalank was considered one of the most anticipated films of the year with producers Karan Johar (Dharma Productions), Sajid Nadiadwala and Fox Star Studios backing the film. It is said that the movie was developed by Karan Johar and his father 15 years ago.

As of lately, people on social media began to notice the similarities between the movie and one of the lesser known novels written by Shauna Singh Baldwin, What the body Remembers based on rising tensions of the India’s Partition. It can be assumed that the author is dissatisfied that the film being produced by three major productions; they did not credit her work with the major film.

Now here is where things gets even interesting. 

Karan Johar said in an interview, “I have always said we need to empower writers. Films fail and succeed because of the writing. How can they not be given center stage in a film that is all about writers? I will execute it nut the true leaders in the game are the writers. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, and it’s about time.”

Interesting….isn’t it?

If you still are not sure, here is a quick summary of What the body Remembers, and you can compare that with the overall premise of the Kalank. It’s a bit telling where the producers have gotten their inspiration regardless of how much creativity was needed to develop this film.

This is the official premise as shared by the Dharma Productions:

Kalank, a period film, set in pre-independent India is a story about an elite family and many of its hidden truths that begin to unfold as communal tensions rise and partition nears. Caught in this situation are Dev, Satya, Roop, and Zafar who find themselves in this battlefield of love. While the whole town is bathed in the shades of red, the question is – will these four see that red in violence or love?

Here is a quick summary of What the Body Remembers:

Roop is a young girl whose mother has died and whose father is deep in debt. So
she is elated to learn she is to become the second wife of a wealthy Sikh landowner in a union beneficial to both. For Sardaji’s first wife, Satya, has failed to bear him children. Roop believes that she and Satya, still very much in residence, will be friends. But the relationship between the older and younger woman is far more complex. And, as India lurches toward independence, Sardarji struggles to find his place amidst the drastic changes.

– source

Note that the partition background, concept of a second marriage, even the names are similar. Now, this is what Karan Johar said about the movie on his Instagram:


The book was published in 1999 and Karan Johar claims that he had this idea 15 years ago, that would be year 2004. I didn’t find any credit given to the author. Throughout the promotions for Kalank, Karan Johar stated that his inspiration by an acclaimed director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali – who have made films like Devdas, Padmavat, and Ram Leela, to name a few- and this movie is dedicated to him. It can be assumed that this director is very much inspired, if you ask me.

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