Copycat copycat… kill a rat, tell your mother I am fat…..
So went the childish chant at school when lesser mortals (read: so called morally weaker individuals ) succumbed to the ignominious sin of cheating or copying. Today if anti plagiarism activists were to take up a similar chant when it came to Bollywood, they would be thirsting for breath. Infact blind copies from Hollywood, vernacular movies, have become so mundane that no one even lifts so much as the proverbial eyebrow when another such crime is unearthed.
It was one of the highly underrated comedians of our times, Sajid Khan who actually brought such peccadilloes to the audience with his distinctive comic style in a lesser known series, “Kehne mein kya harj hai”. Like each individual goes through the adolescent thrill of discovery of sex, each movie buff goes through this phase of finding similarities in scripts, music or scenes. What used to be funny for sometime now has lost lustre and this loss has resulted in us, the audience, becoming a tad bored and tolerant of such transgressions. During research for this article, I found one of the best sites on plagiarism in Bollywood called www.bollycat.com, aptly subtitled, “Bollycats, the chronicles of plagiarism in India’s bollywood movies.”
Plagiarism as defined in the dictionary means, is the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship or incorporating material from someone else's written or creative work, in whole or in part, into ones own without adequate acknowledgment. Our film industry is rife with such examples of blatant stealing. Akele Hum Akele Tum was Kramer Vs Kramer, with a little twist and the usual happy, hindi movie ending. In the original, the hero wins the court battle and custody of the child, our desi version had the heroine winning the court case and then coming back to her real love and uniting the family. One of the recent hits, Hum Tum could be termed a rip off of when “Harry met Sally” albeit with a few Indianised differences.
Some of our film makers incidentally specialise in copying, be it scenes, entire storylines or special effects. Zinda was a bootlegged Oldboy, Reservoir Dogs could be morphed into Kaante. Sanjay Gupta, the man behind the scenes in both these movies has although been polite enough to mention that Zinda was a tribute to all the Korean movies that he had seen (he actually meant only one movie, Oldboy). Another big name in film making that comes to mind when we broach this topic is Vikram Bhatt. Ghulam – On the waterfront (Aamir Khan = Marlon Brando); Kasoor – Jagged Edge; Jurm – Fatal Attraction; Raaz – What Lies Beneath; the list can go on…. Unfortunately all his movies are called ‘inspirations’ instead of ‘translations’.
When Mario Puzo wrote the Godfather, he probably didn’t envisage the following that he would spawn, more so when Francis Ford Coppola made it into a movie, he paved the way for hundreds of adaptations, pathetic or otherwise. Aamir Khan one of the finest actors of our times can be condoned for acting in one of the worst ones which was Aatank hi Aatank. Dharmatma starring Feroz Khan was another. (Both competed with Al Pacino as Michael Corleone)
Sholay the best movie of our times, one in which the actors, plot and script have wonderfully dovetailed into each other is a loose lift of The Magnificient Seven which in turn was a lift of the Seven Samurai, which was also copied as China Gate and Khotey Sikkey. But copied or otherwise, we do agree that Sholay was the best Indianisation of a western / foreign / international theme.
Main Aisa hi hoon is I am Sam, Ab Bas is Enough, Hawas is Unfaithful, Judwaa is Twin Dragons, similarly, Khel was Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Ek Ruka hua Faisla was 12 Angry Men, Khwaish was Love Story (E) which was also Akhion ke Jharokhe Se.
The accolades and award winning Black is The Miracle Worker with a difference, the main protagonist is of a different gender. Dhoom was a loose The Fast and the Furious and Lagaan was a rehashed and rural Escape to Victory.( Aamir Khan also admitted to being extremely influenced by Asterix comics).Baazigar can be a rehashed Kiss before Dying.
Omigod…. The list is endless…. Can we please start a competition where readers contribute to this list and also start a new list for scenes, themes, music etc…
Where is the Creative police when we need them..?