When given the freedom, most people usually steal from someone else. What could be a better example than Bombay’s tinsel town, whose very name is ‘inspired’ by its American original? Stating that Bollywood has a fetish of all things Hollywood is old hat. What, however, is a new Fedora is that having grown weary of stealing scripts, screenplays and music from the West, Bollywood has now decided to start buying the copyrights of
Hollywood originals to make ‘official’ Bollywood remakes. Nothing wrong with that. Hollywood has done a bit of ‘inspired’ creations itself. Akira Kurosawa’s Japanese 1954 classic Shichinin no Samurai (Seven Samurai) was turned into John Sturge’s acclaimed 1960 American Western, The Magnificent Seven. If Martin Scorsese can officially remake the 2002 Hong Kong film by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak Mou Gaan Dou (Infernal Affairs) as The Departed, why can’t Karan Johar legally rip-off Chris Columbus’ 1998 Julia Roberts-starring Stepmom for his forthcoming project Love You Maa?
By legally buying the right to remake movies, one can not only be honest to audiences, but also — and this seems to be the real reason behind the new enterprise — one can avoid getting into legal complications about being ‘inspired’ in an ever-increasing globalised world. But then, things can get a bit tricky if Indian filmmakers aren’t careful. For instance, one enterprising chap may ‘buy’ the rights to make a remake of the 2002 American horror flick, The Ring by Gore Verbinski.
But then, he may get a terse letter when Anghuti is out in cinemas from the producers of the Japanese 1998 film Ringu by Hideo Nakata. Heck, it may just be easier to think of a film plot by oneself.