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Suneet Varma to sue Yash Chopra, Rani Mukerji, Aki Narula

By Sita Menon
Last updated on: April 25, 2005 16:31 IST
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Suneet Varma displays the offending picture


nother year. Another controversy.

This time, it is designer Suneet Varma who is upset about the fact that one of his Fall 2003 outfits has been replicated in toto by another well-known designer.

It gets more exciting: the outfit was worn by actress Rani Mukerji for Yash Raj Films' Bunty Aur Babli.

The designer said to have 'ripped' Suneet's outfit: Aki Narula, who is designing the costumes for Bunty Aur Babli.

The photograph of Rani wearing the outfit -- a double layered chiffon poncho with silk tassels teamed with black bootleg embroidered trousers -- appeared in a leading daily.

Suneet says, "When I woke up this morning, I was bitter. But then I called up a journalist friend to check whether they [the newspaper] had sourced the picture right. He confirmed it. I called Aki, because I think he has a right clarify his stand. He was vague. He said he did not know it was my design, and that he had picked it off a store called Options [in Mumbai], because there was a sudden requirement for a poncho the next morning. He said there was no label on it; that is not possible."

Suneet draws attention to the fact that the blue poncho has been paired with the same pair of trousers. "The clothes used in that particular sequence are a complete rip-off from my fall/ winter 2003 collection and I have no doubt about it," says the agitated designer.

"It is shameless," Suneet says, adding, "I plan to take action against the movie, its producers, the designer concerned and the actress."

When asked about the reasons for action against Rani Mukerji, said, "I have not designed those clothes for her, which I have used in my campaigns for the collection," he said

Rathi Vinay Jha, the Fashion Design Council of India director general, says "The FDCI has yet to get a confirmed statement from Aki. He has said he is ignorant [of the fact that he is supposed to have copied from another designer]."

Narula is not participating in this year's fashion week.

The FDCI, she said, extends its support to Suneet Varma, though it cannot take this matter forward legally unless there is enough proof to substantiate his claim.

She also said the FDCI will soon provide courses and workshops for its member designers that explain legalities, patent laws about clothing and design and the code of conduct.

Despite repeated attempts, Aki Narula did not answer his phone. He is scheduled to meet the press later in the day.

With inputs from PTI

Photograph: Imran Shaikh


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Sita Menon