Copycats in Bollywood

Copycats in Bollywood

Rajan Singh13 May 2011

Ideas have met an untimely death. The day of original stuff has gone and now it's Hollywood's turn to rule the roost. Yes, ideas have disappeared from Bollywood and now more and more filmmakers are looking for West to get inspired or should we say plagiarize the content for their next movie.

Original ideas seem to have disappeared from Bollywood. Most of the film-makers are looking at International Cinema to get inspired or just copy the plot for their movies.




Ideas have met an untimely death. The day of original stuff has gone and now its Hollywoods turn to rule the roost. Yes, ideas have disappeared from Bollywood and now more and more filmmakers are looking for West to get inspired or should we say plagiarize the content for their next movie. The trend was always there but it was only in the past few years that it picked up momentum. Lifting stories from other sources has become order of the day and blatant plagiarism is the only apt term that describes this practice. Every second film now has its root in some Hollywood film or the other.


Aamir and Sarkar Raj are set to hit the marquee next week and if reports are to be believed Aamir derives its inspiration from Colin Farell starrer Phone Booth - so much for originality. In the next few weeks while Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic will see its reflection in Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee, makers of Memento will surely get astonished with Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini. Similarly its alleged that Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi has its inspiration from My Fair Lady. One common thing that links all these movies - they all are the most awaited films of the year and have the backing of reputed banners.

Thoda Saawariya,

If only we were to turn back the pages of Bollywood corrupt practices we would see that nothing is original in Bollywood, as Mahesh Bhatt had once summed it. None of Sanjay Leela Bhansalis or Mansoor Khans or works of Abbas - Mustan can be termed as original. They all have lifted story freely from Hollywood as per their whims and fancies, and the astonishing part being that they all are revered directors in Bollywood. Sanjay Leelas last flick Saawariya, derived its inspiration from White Nights, Black was a straight lift from The Miracle Worker. His previous films, which include Devdas, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam were, copied form Indian films only. Call it a case of old wine in new bottle. Mansoor Khan post his Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander became the darling of youth but not many know that out of the four films he made, three were straight lifts. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander plot was copied from Breaking Away, Akele Hum Akele Tum and plot of Kramer Vs Kramer were surprisingly similar while no one can deny the similarity between Josh and West Side Story.

The shame and the onus of lifting stories from other countries are just missing among Bollywood fraternity. Its a case of bankruptcy of ideas to which Hollywood is pretty ignorant. A splash was made when Sony Pictures took some initiative to sue the makers of Partner, as it was straight lift from Wills Smiths Hitch. The amount asked for damages by Sony Pictures was more than 100 million but the only outcome that the news made headline on TV channels and newspapers beyond that the outcome was a zilch.

HumJo Akele Murder


Abbas - Mustans every film is a lift; right form his debut film Khiladi to the present Race. The best part being that despite getting flaks for their copying habit every time, they have no iota of shame. The practice continues till date. Media did a wonderful job about his last film Naqaab that was released before Race. Even post-release of Naqaab the director duo had maintained that it was an original script but ultimately their elixir of source was exposed and it lay in a lesser-known film called Dot the I. The Bhatts have no qualms about admitting to the fact that to get them inspired they resort to the West. But should they be pardoned because they are honest about it? The answer is a clear-cut No. Raaz was What Lies Beneath in its purest form, Murder was Unfaithful in its raw form and on a more sober note their recent flick Jannat and Gangster had their inspiration from newspaper columns. Legal cases of plagiarism are still to plague the industry and thankfully Ram Sampath; the maverick ad jingles composer paved the way. It was he who took the initiative to drag Rakesh Roshans promoted Filmcraft banner to court as they had lifted his tune for one of their songs. And, thankfully the legal jury sided with Ram Sampath. It was a landmark judgment in more than one ways but alas a similar case for film still eludes cine buffs.

So who is to be blamed? And thats a difficult question to answer. With the production period of feature films getting lower and lower everybody has hopped on to a race to make more and more money in the shortest possible time. To this effect announcing a bouquet of six to seven films have become the norm by leading production houses. Just to meet deadlines they are ready to compromise on just about anything. And the biggest causality amidst all these is the plot of the film. Hollywood for them has become a soft target, as filmmakers out here know the lacunae and all the possible way, which will help them, go scot-free.

Just have a look at the list below and then decide for yourself. One interesting thing, which the list reflects, is that all the films mentioned were Bollywood blockbusters.


Partner Khiladi Race Naqaab

Rang De Basanti - All My Sons, Jesus of Montreal

Hum Tum - When Harry Met Sally

Judwaa - The Twin Dragons

Agni Sakshi - Sleeping With The Enemy

Baazigar - A Kiss Before Dying

Sarkar - The Godfather

Main Khiladi Tu Anari - The Hard Way

Deewana Mastana - What About Bob

Malamaal Weekly - Waking Ned

Bheja Fry - The Dinner Game


The list is almost endless. But the flip side also being that the copy magic has not worked every time. On many occasion they have bombed badly and one director who will vouch for it is none other than Vikram Bhatt. Vikram Bhatts last 11 films have been pure duds at the box office and most of them were either frame-by-frame copy or were inspired from some other film. Right from Elaan to Awara Paagal Deewana to Red was all copied stuff. So where does that leave Bollywood to? Chances of Bollywood being original are as slim as rate of petrol barrel going down. The need of the hour is more original ideas and fresh talents, one who are still not corrupt with Bollywood style of functioning, can only bring that elusive change. And for this one can only wait and watch for the day.

Jannat Baazigar Bheja Raaz Gangster Sarkar Awara


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I love the copy image from Hollywood to Bollywood. way to go! :-)
Posted by Pritam on  Jun 10 2008 11:24AM

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