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Qaidi Band, Lucknow Central, Phullu, Padman: Bollywood films with same plots being made

With quite a few movies being made on similar lines as an already released or an upcoming film, we find out if they end up eating into each other’s business share and whether audience are keen on watching multiple films on similar themes.

bollywood Updated: Aug 27, 2017 16:27 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Bollywood Films,Omung Kumar,Ashutosh Gowariker
Filmmakers Ashutosh Gowariker and Omung Kumar are both said to be making a biopic on Maharaja of Jamnagar.

At a time when Bollywood is witness to a host of films with fresh and off-beat scripts, another diametrically opposite trend seems to be picking up, too. That of films with stark similarities in their storylines. Sample this: Habib Faizal’s directorial Qaidi Band that has just released and Nikhil Advani’s production, Lucknow Central, slated for a release next month, both narrate the same story of a music band formed inside a prison. Also, Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra’s upcoming film, Mere Pyaare Prime Minister, addresses the issue of open defecation, just as Akshay Kumar’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.

Qaidi Band and Lucknow Central are both about prisoners forming a band inside the jail and trying to escape.

Speaking of why such similarities crop up, Faizal explains, “At any given point, filmmakers draw inspiration from what is happening around us — either something disturbs you or something excites you. So there will be an overlap and you can’t do anything about it.”

Film critic Omar Qureshi agrees, “There are so many movies to make and such few stories and that’s been the bane of Bollywood. The problem is that when biopics or true stories are told, the danger of someone else making it with a similar thought is even higher.”

Faizal states that when he started scripting Qaidi Band, he had no clue of a similar film being made by someone else. He says, “It’s for the producers to figure out if it does make good business sense to make a similar film. I feel that if both the films are entertaining enough and are able to engage the audience, there will be takers for both.”

Padman and Phullu are both based on spreading awareness about low-cost sanitary napkins.

Other recent examples include Akshay’s 2018 release Padman that talks about a man’s endeavour to make low-cost sanitary napkins available for women in his village, and Phullu, which released in June this year, that narrated a similar story. Starring Kalki Koechlin and Richa Chadha, the film Jia Aur Jia is about two girls on a road trip, as will be Rhea Kapoor’s directorial, Veerey Di Wedding, which is yet to be shot. Ayushmann Khurrana’s Shubh Mangal Savdhaan talks about erectile dysfunction and the 2016 film Fuddu, too, was loosely based on similar lines. Even Indu Sarkar and Baadshaho are both set against the backdrop of emergency in India from 1975-1977.

Mere Pyaare Prime Minister and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha both highlight the issue of open defecation in India.

Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha says two different filmmakers working on a similar storyline is “unfortunate”. “More often than naught, these coincidences are inadvertent. However, they certainly eat into each other’s business. If the films are of different sizes and budgets, they might not hurt each other. Unless there are four Bhagat Singh biopics being made simultaneously. Those episodes are rare,” says Sinha.

Qureshi opines, “There are cases wherein a super screenplay and a well made film with the right noise can pull the crowds away from the wannabes. When four movies were released around the legend of Bhagat Singh, even though some of those films may have been decent, fatigue drove the audience away.”

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First Published: Aug 27, 2017 16:27 IST