That Bollywood copies Hollywood is nothing new, but the last few months have seen so much ‘inspired’ stuff that it’s just too hard to ignore. The most recent in the list is reportedly Challa, the song from Shah Rukh Khan’s latest flick, which bears a striking resemblance to Swedish musician Eagle-Eye Cherry’s popular song, Save Tonight. This, soon after the line ‘It’s all about the English Vinglish’ from Sridevi’s comeback hit was slammed for being lifted from American musician Scatman John’s Scatman’s World.
Then, there’s Barfi! that ran into controversy not just for scenes identical to Charlie Chaplin acts, but also its theme tune, said to be ripped off French musician Yann Tiersen’s music for Amélie. Ditto with Yeh Jism, a song from Jism 2, reported a copy of a Turkish song.
This is just the tip of the icerberg, with posters, sequences and complete storylines of latest and upcoming releases being far too ‘inspired’. The poster of Yash Chopra’s movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan, for instance, bears a close resemblance to the poster of French film Forces Speciales.
Industry experts slam the rise. “When you’re insecure, you copy. Anyway, copying seems to be a safe option for many,” says ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar. Film critic Rajeev Masand says, “It’s sad that Bollywood is very casual and forgiving about it. It reflects lack of originality. But, there are bad apples everywhere, and we can’t take away credit from those doing good original work.”
1 Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer, Ek Tha Tiger landed in trouble after a writer registered an FIR against the filmmakers for lifting his script, which had been rejected by them in 2011. The film’s co-writer Neelesh Mishra, has however denied the charges. 2 The makers of Jannat 2 were also slapped with similar plagiarism charges by writer Kapil Chopra, who claimed that the script was his. In September, the Bombay High Court put a complete injunction on any activities regarding the film.
3 The makers of Barfi received a legal notice from Murphy Enterprises that owns Murphy Radio, which features in the film repeatedly, in songs and scenes. The company got miffed with UTV for not seeking permission before using their brand name.