Right from its very inception Bollywood has been copying from or what they say “inspired” by Hollywood—from the time when Bombay + Hollywood became Bollywood.
Whether a movie is popular or profitable, there′s a good chance that our Bollywood will eventually get around to remaking it. Many of these movies are blatantly copied or partially plagiarized from other movies. Some of them just take some inspiration while others are simply a remake and several more also go to the extent of copying the original movie scene-by-scene.
However, while some movie remakes do better the originals, the remaining turn out to be disasters and make a complete mockery out of the cast and crew.
Why is it that watching most of the Hindi movies gives a sense of deja vu—a sense that tells you that you have seen something same or at least similar in some western flick? Why is it that Indian film makers copy the west to such a great extent? Is it that they suffer from lack of originality or have the producers realized that it is safer to move down a tried-and-tested road rather than experiment? Is it that difficult to please the Indian audiences? Or, does Bollywood lack creativity of its own?
Well, I wouldn′t say there is no creativity. After all it takes a creative mind even to copy, isn′t it? The audience doesn′t really care whether a film is original or a remake as far as it is made well, with a story line that synchronizes with the role played by the actors—something that is an entertaining and sound copy would be applauded. There are instances where Indian directors have asked the cast to watch the original film and perform similarly--that spoils the fun—let there be SOME originality.
Hindi movies that were INSPIRED from Hollywood
The latest horror flick - Sangeeth Sivan′s Click is a horrendous frame-to-frame remake of the Thai film “Shutter” released in 2004.
Block-buster movie Ghajini, directed by AR Murugadoss starring Aamir Khan has been copied from Christopher Nolan′s “Memento”, released in 2000.
Furthermore, Govinda and Salman Khan′s super-duper hit Partner directed by David Dhawan is a ditto of Andy Tennant′s “Hitch”, released in 2005. In fact the surprising part is that even the dialogues have been copied word to word—just translated into Hindi dialect.
Kunal Kohli′s Hum Tum which too hit the block buster chart in no time, was a complete replica of 1998′s super hit “When Harry met Sally”, directed by Rob Reiner.
Kaante - A Sanjay Gupta directorial too was copied from “Reservoir Dogs”—a 1992 movie directed by Quentin Tarantino.
John Abraham - Bipasha Basu starrer Jism, directed by Amit Saxena was lifted from Lawrence Kasdan′s “Body Heat”, released in 1981.
Remake of a super-duper hit in 1995, Bryan Singer′s “The Usual Suspects”, Chocolate, directed by Vivek Agnihotri - flopped dramatically at the box office.
Kucch Toh Hai, directed by Anil V Kumar, is, in true sense, a true replica of hit suspense thriller “I know what you did last summer” (1997), directed by Jim Gillespie.
The list is unending…
Why this copying?
We don′t mind English movies inspiring Hindi movies. What the matter of concern is why is it happening on a repetitive basis—almost 60% of the movies made in India are either “inspired” or lifted from its western counterparts. There could be quite a few reasons behind the copycat behaviour of the Indian film makers.
There are many producers who feel that it′s safer and easier to invest in a tried-and-tested piece of work rather than experimenting with something new. “New original stories are hard to come by,” some producers say.
The Indian film industry is also facing a void of good and effective script writers. The best ones are already bought by huge production houses who demand lofts of money and the remaining aren′t any where in comparison to being GOOD.
Then, what is happening is bound to happen.
It′s not just Bollywood
Plagiarism is a global phenomena – Hollywood too is caught up in this frenzy of bootlegging. A number of the so-called movies of the West too are copies of many European and Asian films. The Departed (2006), directed by the Martin Scorsese, is lifted from Hong Kong film series The Infernal Affairs (2002).
The Matrix which was released in 1999 was directly copied from Japanese animation films—Ghost in the shell (1995) and Akira (1988).
The question remains, how far would Bollywood be able to go with this? Can′t it do any better than this?