Campaign India Team
Jun 21, 2024

Kondurkar Studio responds to ideation controversy over 'The Steel of India'

The studio credited for the ideation behind the Cannes Lion-winning 'The Steel of India' film claims it is being unfairly targeted for criticism over Wieden + Kennedy's claims to be the originator of the work.

Screengrab of Kondurkar Studio and Earl Man Films' 'The Steel of India' film.
Screengrab of Kondurkar Studio and Earl Man Films' 'The Steel of India' film.

Kondurkar Studio, which earned a Silver and Bronze Lion together with Early Man Films in Film Craft for Jindal Steel's 'The Steel of India' campaign, is claiming it is being unfairly targeted following press coverage of ongoing controversy surrounding the campaign's ideation.

Campaign, along with other press outlets have reported on the controversy which had been amicably resolved back in May but resurfaced following the awards in Cannes this week. The issue dates back to March when ad agency Wieden + Kennedy took Jindal Steel to court, claiming they were the original creators of the ‘Steel of India’ campaign and be recognised for the same. Eventually the matter was settled out of court and copyright was transfered to Jindal.  But the question of whether some credit should be given to W+K remains a sore spot, as it was not listed in the entry credits at Cannes.

Here is Kondurkar Studio's statement in full, entitled 'The Steel of India Film: Setting the Record Straight':

In recent weeks, Kondurkar Studio and its founder, Mr. Amrish Kondurkar, have been subjected to a wave of negative , unfounded and unsubstantiated media coverage regarding the "The Steel of India" campaign. Mr. Kondurkar embarked on an independent journey with integrity and creativity, dedicating his talents to creating original and impactful work. Despite his commendable efforts, he and his studio are being unfairly targeted by a larger competitor in the industry, under the pretext of bizarre accusations of copyright infringement and lack of originality.

Kondurkar Studio developed this film based on the client's brief, aiming to bring alive the Indian resilience to land on the brand line of "The Steel of India." The film, which signs off with "The Sound of India," is entirely original. We had no prior knowledge of anything that the larger agency might have earlier shared with our client. It is worth noting that Mr. Amrish Kondurkar, our founder, left his previous role in January 2023, and our client reached out to them for a pitch in late July 2023, well after his departure, negating any overlap or claim of idea theft.

This is a montage film, a genre that involves creating a narrative from various shots and scenes. The brief was always to celebrate the power of steel and the resilience of India. Hence, any montage film on India & Steel will naturally portray these themes. To claim copyright infringement on such a basis is not only baseless but also a stretch of the imagination. The allegations are supported by misrepresented screenshots that arrange shots from various sources to falsely suggest direct copying. However, a 2-minute film is much more substantial than a few misleading screenshots added to create a narrative post final film creation.

The Delhi High Court, after thorough adjudication, found no wrongdoing on the part of Kondurkar Studio. The resolution highlighted broader corporate concerns rather than individual actions, validating our position that the campaign was independently and originally created by Kondurkar Studio.

In reality, our film is a unique creation. The film created by Kondurkar Studio, brought to life by the talented director Ayappa from Earlyman Film, involved no collaboration or communication with the larger agency during its development. It is therefore absurd for them to demand credit for a film they had no part in conceptualizing or producing. The entire process from briefing the director, to sharing treatment notes, to conducting PPM, shoots, and post-production, was carried out independently by Kondurkar Studio and Earlyman Film.

After dedicating years to building a reputation for integrity and creativity, it is disheartening to face such baseless allegations. Mr. Kondurkar’s transition to an independent path was driven by a desire to pursue creative freedom and innovation. It is unfortunate and unjust for his reputation to be attacked by unfounded allegations from larger industry competitors.

We urge all media houses to refrain from publishing reports without hearing our side of the story. It is expected that media houses maintain journalistic integrity and post unbiased stories. As responsible professionals, we ask that you verify facts before printing , and avoid blindly supporting larger agencies at the expense of independent creators. Kondurkar Studio remains dedicated to delivering innovative and original creative solutions while upholding the highest ethical standards.

Campaign India

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