That’s the total number of movie tickets sold in India in one year – the highest of any country – according to The Economist’s survey figures. This much amount is wasted for copied or below level films. Bollywood is one of the most glaring example of India’s copy/paste culture. One may call it the biggest photocopy machine ever created by the Xerox company. Every now and then, we hear cases filed against film directors for lifting others’ stories; music directors copying tunes from a distant foreign film and calling it sprung from heart. But in this technology savvy age you can not ullu banawing for long.
We have got so used to second hand works in cinema that we do not even complain anymore or do not even care to credit the genuine art/artist.
Most recent case of such lifting came to light when the poster of Amir khan’s film ‘PK’ was released. It is alleged that the poster is a copy of a French musician’s poster from 1978; he held a piano to cover his body. Anu Malik and Pritam were accused of copying music from foreign artists in the past.
Some directors choose to turn successful stories from other languages into Hindi cinema. While most of them get flopped (too many songs,you see), few of them manage to find a good audience. Ghajini, Madras Cafe and Holiday fall into this category of successful ones. They again show that Bollywood lacks good stories.
Another trend that is popular in Bollywood is to adapt from foreign film with or without due credit. Koi Mil Gaya was adapted from Steven Spielberg’s gem ‘ET’ and masalafied to include typical bollywoodish romance and songs; eventually killing the storyline. ‘Players’ was adapted from ‘The Italian Job’ and we all are witness how worst job it turned out to be; adding another flop to Abhishek Bachchan’s pocket. ‘Bang Bang’ featuring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif will hit the cinemas soon; it is adapted from Tom Cruise’s ‘Knight and Day’.
Hollywood directors often turn good books into films. Author Dan Brown’s novels ‘Da Vinci Code‘ and ‘Angels and Demons’ were turned into films and saw big success, though Da Vinci Code was banned in many countries for allegedly being against Christianity. This trend has caught up with Bollywood too. It is quite refreshing. Finally, our story starved directors are looking at books instead of copying or lifting stories. Chetan Bhagat’s 3 novels have been turned into successful movies. Mohit Suri (Aadhiqui 2) is going to turn Bhagat’s upcoming book ‘Half Girlfriend’ into a movie soon. Karan Johar’s Dharma production has bought the rights of Amish Tripathi’s successful book The Immortals of Meluha. We may get to watch it next year featuring Hrithik Roshan.
Gujarati cinema has also started experimenting with scripts. We have seen good films like ‘Kevi Rite Jais’; and this year we have ‘Bey Yaar’ and ‘Dhirubhai’. Looks like, Gujarati cinema is leaving behind its trademark stamp of desi stories that revolve around rustic life with out of sync characters. If cinemas really reflect society, gujarati cinema still reflects life of ’80s and ’90s.
Let’s hope we are spared from such duplicate works of art in future and get a bit of original creativity more and more. We have that potential. Lets learn to appreciate and credit the originality.