Beetal is an upcoming Netflix horror web series set in a remote village. The village is the battleground for the showdown between British Indian officer Betaal with his battalion of zombies and the Indian Police. The trailer for the web series came out last week. Shah Rukh Khan
’s Red Hot Chillies Entertainment is bankrolling the series. The show is now facing allegations of theft at the hands of Maarti Writers Sameer Wadekar and Mahesh Gosawi who claim a plotline theft from their zombie film Vetaal. The writer claims a 10 point similarity between this film and the Betaal.
A counter-insurgency squad trying to displace tribals forms the basis for Betaal. Vetaal features an environmentalist who stands against a mining company that is trying to drive the villagers.
“We had taken our script to several production houses. We hadn't pitched it to Red Chillies Entertainment, so the onus isn't on them, but on the platform that commissioned it. I haven't been able to figure out how [the idea] reached them. I am told the show went on floors in July 2019, a year after my script was registered with the Screen Writers' Association We've registered a complaint with the SWA too," said Wadekar. “There are at least 10 plot points that are similar. We have depicted zombies as descendants of the Vetaal army from Shivaji's era while, in Betaal, they are shown as belonging to the British era. We had written a sequence where the army dances to folk music during a procession. A similar scene is included in their trailer,” he added.
Even though the High Court dismissed their case to acquire a stay order, Wadekar seems a silver lining. "The court has affirmed that we can seek damages if the plagiarism charges are proved,” he says. Netflix has issued no statement regarding the claim.