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Bollywood now lawfully producing remakes

Finally, charges of plagiarism in Hindi films won’t stick as producers have started picking up remake rights. The current, Bumm Bumm Bole, is the first of a set of films lined up.

entertainment Updated: May 24, 2010 00:33 IST
Sharin Bhatti

Darsheel SafaryLast Friday, Bumm Bumm Bole entered the theatres as an official Bollywood remake of an international hit. Percept Picture Company (PPC), bought the rights to Majid Majidi’s Children of Heaven last year for, "adaptation on the Indian screen in Hindi", according to the legal agreement signed between Reza Tashakkori, head of international affairs of Majidi Productions and PPC in 2008.



Shailendra Singh, joint managing director, PPC says, "We wanted to make sure that when we adapted the screenplay, we were not just acknowledging the original scriptwriter, but also taking full responsibility for the adaptation. Since we were producing the movie, we wanted to take the right legal measures."



There have been enough cases of copyright infringement in the past and the industry has been constantly fighting legal battles with filmmakers across the world for breach of copyright and intellectual property rights.



Last week, one of 2008’s biggest grossers, Singh is Kinng, had a suit filed against it by the American Rights Management Company, on the grounds that the script is a copy of a 1929 short story, Madame La Gimp by Damono Runyon. Producers Viacom and Vipul Shah, the film’s director, are still wondering how to respond to the allegation. Director Anees Bazmi, the writer of the movie, is shooting in Canada and unavailable for comment.



Earlier in the year, soon after the premiere of 3 Idiots, Chetan Bhagat on whose novel, Five Point Someone, the film was based, had gone to press against producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, director-writer Rajkumar Hirani and co-writer Abhijat Joshi for not being given credit at the beginning of his film despite it being a clear case of story-to-screen adaptation. Later, he withdrew the allegation.



But things may be changing. Later this year, Dharma Productions’ remake of the 1998 tear-jerker, Stepmom, should enter the theatres. Producer Karan Johar is not expecting any hiccups, since he has officially bought the rights for a remake.



Producer Shrishti Arya of Rose Movies too admits, that an official remake of Bride Wars that starred Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway is on the cards. She says, "It is a co-production with the company that produced the original film (20th Century Fox). We will make an official announcement in two weeks."



Also up is Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai. Producer-director Ravi Chopra, though, has had his share of problems over this adaptation of My Cousin Vinny, with 20th Century Fox slapping plagiarism charges amounting to $1.4 million, a fortnight before the film’s release last year. This was the first time a Bollywood filmmaker was taken to court by a Hollywood company over the remaking of a film.



Fox argued that it had given Chopra permission to make a film "loosely based on the Oscar-winning movie" but concluded that the final product was a "substantial reproduction" of the original.



Despite claims that he had a letter of permission to remake the film, Chopra had to finally reach an out-of-court settlement of Rs 1 crore. The film is expected to now release by the end of the year.

Courting trouble
Rakesh Roshan’s Kites, due to release on May 21, has received a stay order by Bihar City Civil Court, according to which Roshan and Happy Hours Entertainment officials will have to appear before the court on May 24, before the film can open. This order follows a case filed by Laxmi Prasad of Sunbeam Holdings, alleging non-receipt of amount due for selling the copy right of action scenes, amounting to approximately Rs 10 crore. Roshan had apparently agreed to pay approximately half the sum.

BRIDE WARS
Shrishti Arya is scheduled to remake this 2009 Hollywood film in which two childhood friends get proposed to on the same day. They plan their wedding parties, using the services of the famous Marion St Claire. However, due to a mistake, their weddings are scheduled for the same day. None of them agrees to change the date and they become enemies, trying to sabotage the wedding party of the rival.

CHILDREN OF HEAVEN
Bumm Bumm Bole is the official Bollywood remake of the Iranian film, it is a poignant story of two siblings and the dilemmas they face over a pair of lost shoes. The Hindi film is directed by Priyadarshan and has Darsheel Safary and Ziyah playing the brother and sister. The original Iranian classic was directed by Majid Majidi with Amir Farrokh Hashemian and Bahare Seddiqi as the knee-high lead pair.

STEPMOM
Love You Maa is an Indianised adaptation of the 1998 Hollywood hit, Stepmom. Chris Columbus’ tear-jerker revolves around a terminally ill woman who has to come to terms with the new woman in her ex-husband's life being her children’s new stepmother. Kajol and Kareena Kapoor take on Susan Saradon and Julia Roberts’ role in Siddharth Malhotra’s Hindi remake. Arjun Rampal steps in for Ed Harris as the harried husband.

MY COUSIN VINNY
Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai is the Hindi version of the 1992 English courtroom caper, My Cousin Vinny. Jonathan Lyan’s film starring Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Fred Gwayne, Mitchell Whitfield, and Lane Smith, is about two young New Yorkers who are put on trial for a murder they did not commit. Cousin Vincent Gambini, a newly-minted lawyer, to defend them. Ravi Chopra’s Govinda, Lara Dutta, Tabu and Boman Irani-starrer, is supposedly about a middle-aged lawyer who ends up in a tricky situation when he has to fight his first-ever case with his girlfriend.
-Raj Morbia