A new Levi’s ad featuring Deepika Padukone has been accused of plagiarism by the director of Yeh Ballet, Sooni Taraporevala. The filmmaker took to Instagram on Wednesday to call out the makers of the ad film for lifting the set design “to the very last detail” from her film Yeh Ballet.
“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 Shailaja Sharma (our PD) from scratch,” Sooni Taraporevala wrote on Instagram. “No such dance studio exists in Mumbai which is why we built it.”
The Levi’s ad shows Deepika Padukone entering a studio and dancing to the tunes of Auva Auva from the 1982 film Disco Dancer. It has been viewed more than 5 million times on YouTube.
In her Instagram post, Ms Taraporevala shared pictures from her own set design alongside screenshots of the Levi’s ad. “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),” she wrote, tagging ad director Nadia Marquard Otzen.
Ms Taraporevala also included a screenshot of a comment in which Rupin Suchak, who designed the set for Levi’s advertisement, acknowledged that the similarities were deliberate.
When one social media user pointed out the similarity between the set used in the ad and the one in Yeh Ballet, Mr Suchak said: “That’s what our director wanted so we had to recreate that.”
Sooni Taraporevala called out the plagiarism in no uncertain terms, saying that in the west, Levi’s and the ad director would not have thought of copying another person’s work without acknowledgement.
“This is not homage, this is intellectual theft!” she wrote.
“Copycat culture in India needs to be called out and cancelled,” the Yeh Ballet director wrote. “Are you so creatively bankrupt? What were you thinking?”
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