Bollywood Plagiarism: Hindi Cinema Leans On Hollywood

Plagiarism is defined as the use of someone else’s idea/material/work without their permission and passing it off as your own. You can Google it to get more clarity on this subject. On the subject of Bollywood, it is the Indianized version of Hollywood. That is, it is a term used to denote the Indian Film Industry. Taking care of the recreation needs of the world’s second largest population, Bollywood would be expected to be original. But think again…. It is not!

There is a very small distinction between liking somebody’s work and being inspired by it and blatantly copying it – a distinction that Bollywood has missed time and again. Here is a list of movies that have been unabashedly copied on to the Indian version. This list has been put together to create some awareness among the general public.

The thing is movie makers of Bollywood tend to capitalize on the fact that not many viewers understand “American” English and hence do not watch many movies from the west. This leaves an avenue for Indian Cinema makers to simply copy Hollywood movies without inviting any criticism. In fact they are often lauded for their efforts and these movies end up being money makers.

1. The Godfather (1972) | Sarkar (2005)

The Godfather is a movie that has been popular for a long time and makes for good viewing even today.  With legends like Marlon Brando and Al Pacino giving their lifetime performances in this movie, who can resist watching it again and again? One cannot ignore the author the book ‘Godfather’, Mario Puzo.  It is a classic that one should not think of ripping off.

Godfather 1972 Sarkar 2005

2. It happened one Night (1934) | Dil Hai ki Manta Nahi (1991)

An unabashed take off and that too from scene to scene “Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi” copies ‘It happened one Night’. Watching both movies one after another would throw light on the extent to which the original has been milked to create the Hindi version. It is no wonder the Indian version was a runaway success in the local markets.

Dil Hai ki Manta Nahi It happened one Night

Since the original movie happens to be quite old, the ‘Mahesh Bhatt’ (the director) would never have thought that many people would be aware of it. To tell the truth he did get away with it!

3. Oldboy (2003) | Zinda (2006)

When it comes to ripping off movie ideas, it seems like Bollywood leaves no industry alone. The Indian Movie “Zinda” is based on a Korean film about a guy who spends 15 years in captivity. He is then given 5 days to delve into the reasons for his kidnapping. The Indian version has the man is held captive for 14 years and is given 4 days to investigate the reasons behind his kidnapping.

Oldboy Zinda

By making such a minute change, the makes of the movie hope to get away with it. Wikipedia states that “At a November 2005 press conference, Show East stated expressed concern that the film was similar to their film, Oldboy, and were investigating the similarities, noting that at the time, they did not have the final version of Zinda available to compare it with. They stated that if they did find there was “strong similarity between the two [films]”, they would be contacting their lawyers.” The Hindu reviewer Sudhish Kamath and Planet Bollywood reviewer Narbir Gosal both note in their reviews of Zinda that they found the two films to be very similar in terms of plot, as well as in the depiction of specific scenes”. But once again no steps were taken and the Indian filmmaker got away with plagiarism once more.

4. Bluestreak (1999) | Chor Machaaye Shor (2002)

The movies share a story line where a thief steals a precious stone which he hides in a building before being imprisoned, On being released he seeks to retrieve the stone only to realize that the building he hid the stone is now a  police station. He masquerades as a cop to get his hands on it.

5. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) | Chachi 420 (1997)

Both films have the main male actor pretending to be a nanny/ housekeeper (female) in order to be near his kids.  He does this after he loses custody of his kids to his wife in a bitter divorce. This obviously leads to many funny and weird situations.

Here is a list on POPULAR Bollywood Movies copied from Hollywood Movies.

  • Welcome 2007 | Mickey Blue Eyes 1999
  • Race 2008 | Goodbye Lover 1998
  • Singh Is Kinng 2008 | Miracles 1989
  • Dostana 2008 | I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry 2007
  • Garam Masala 2005 | Boeing Boeing 1965
  • Rang De Basanti | All My Sons (1948) & Jesus of Montreal.
  • Phir Hera Pheri 2006 | Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 1998
  • Krrish 2006 | Paycheck
  • Raaz 2002 | What Lies Beneath 2000
  • Dhoom(2003)| The Fast and the Furious (2001) &Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
  • Koi Mil Gaya 2003 | E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982
  • Hum Tum 2004 | When Harry Met Sally 1989
  • Munnabhai MBBS(2003) | Patch Adams(1998)
  • Murder 2004 | Unfaithful 2002
  • Aitraaz 2004 | Disclosure 1994
  • Musafir 2004 | U-Turn 1997
  • Salaam Namaste | Nine Months
  • Black 2005 | The Miracle Worker 1962
  • Bunty Aur Babli 2005 | Bonnie & Clyde 1967

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