Call it breathtaking inspiration or cheap imitation, one can’t deny that Hollywood has always served enough for an Indian film maker to directly lift scripts from any English movie. Some acknowledge it, some don’t , some deny and some fret but at the end of the day one can always find that one little scene, that twist towards the end or that line that acts as a complete giveaway.
A couple of weeks back I happened to see Tara Rum Pum regarding which, Khalid Mohammed wrote in the Hindustan Times “…the screenplay of this movie is as original as the output from a Xerox machine”. A number of times while watching a Hindi movie, I’ve jumped from my seat saying, “Hey! That’s a copy…” and while I wish I’d made a note of every single jump thus far , I guess it’s never too late for anything. So here goes a list of my top copied scenes that I recollect sitting in my room in an attempted chronological order.
1. Tara Rum Pum: The most recent copied scene I’ve seen. Saif Ali Khan begging for money in a New York pub. Co-incidentally even Russell Crowe was also supposed to be in a New York pub in Cinderella Man. I picked this particular scene because of how Ron Howard used a different shade of light to show the interiors of the pub. And Siddharth Anand was inspired in his sleep to give the same effect in his movie.
2. Guru: Abhishek Bachchan’s trial scene towards the end of the movie seemed a little too similar to Howard Hughes deposing before Senator Brewster in the Aviator. Though many differences can be noted in this case, I think it’s the treatment and how Alan Alda and Roshan Seth act as impeccable judges that make the scenes similar. Al Pacino’s deposition in Godfather-II could also possibly be an inspiration.
3. Dhoom II: Surprised? Well, the scene between Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan over a table in a restaurant and the ensuing conversation was a lift from the Al Pacino-De Niro classic Heat. In my books, I’d refer to this scene by a very special name: Fall from Grace.
4. Sarkar: Another re-make but this time I think RGV did all he possibly could to minimize the damage to the gripping monologue of a man in distress appealing to the Godfather for justice. Of the scenes I’ve mentioned this far, I think this one made me feel least disparate.
5. Aitraaz: The first attempted rape of a guy in Hindi cinema ? A la Disclosure? Would you rather be in Michael Douglas’ shoes than Akshay Kumar’s?
6. Deewane Huye Pagal : While the movie itself was heavily borrowed, the dog-shock scene was a direct lift from There’s Something About Mary. I don’t think however that they got the Border Terrier breed of dog used in the English version. (Yup, the kind of trivia Google can throw up is amazing. :-D)
7. Musafir: What a blatant copy this one is! Both Sameera Reddy and Jennifer Lopez wear red skirts while Anil Kapoor and Sean Penn lend a helping hand to their backs. The difference: Sameera was trying to get inside her house and J’Lo was already in her house trying to fix some drapes in U-Turn.
8.Murder : Diane Lane, you beauty. And to be fair to Mallika Sherawat, you tried ! Funnily, after all the making out, the director made even Mallika Sherawat travel by a train on her way back home replaying what she’d just gotten herself into. If you looking for a subtle difference, you wont be disappointed. Diane Lane had her knee bruised in Unfaithful while Mallika didn’t .
9. Kasoor: “I lied to you. I didn’t want to. But I had to…”. Glenn Close listening to Jeff Bridges’ confessions in a picturesque setting, in Jagged Edge was directly transliterated to make way for Aftab’s disclosure to Lisa Ray. When I told a friend I was planning to write something like this, she hit the nail on the head when she said, “… your list will comprise all Vikram Bhatt’s movies…” . I had to include at least one.
There are a few more scenes in my mind but I’m getting a little bored of this now so just to add a little bit of variety, I want to point this out. I think a few of our film makers are simply too indifferent (or lazy) to the thought of adding even a dime’s worth of originality to anything that they copy. So much so, that even when someone from Yash Raj Films decided to re-make My Best Friends Wedding , he just couldn’t come up with any name other than “ Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hain”!!!
P.S.: For the record, Casablanca is reportedly being re-made in Hindi too…
Sigh! It’s time to sleep.