India's movie industry has never hidden its admiration for Hollywood. Even its name implies that the industry is content to be a clone of its American counterpart.
Take a Hollywood premise, add cheesy song-and-dance sequences and a gallon of melodrama to the mix. If you give it a good shake, you'll get a Bollywood movie.
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However, after best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford persuaded India's Supreme Court in May 2003 to block a 260-part TV series that she claimed plagiarized significantly from her novels, Bollywood, which produces around 800 films per year, appeared to have been compelled to change its source.
The struggle of a woman to establish herself is the subject of Bradford's "A Woman of Substance" and two sequels. Karishma Kapoor, a Bollywood actress, overcomes challenges to become a business mogul in the TV series "Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny." This Supreme Court judgment may have, perhaps, forced Bollywood to for once, look inward to tell their own story in very authentic ways.
The Associated Press said that Bollywood writers frantically scribble dialogue while viewing the latest Hollywood DVD and that directors examine the DVD onset before replicating the movie pixel by frame.
Up to 60% of Bollywood films, according to Tarun Adarsh, editor of the Bombay-based Trade Guide magazine, are remakes of classic Indian or Hollywood films.
Adarsh stated, that the present-day writers are merely translators whose stories, characterizations, plots, circumstances, and even the way a picture is taken are all lifted. They may claim to have been inspired by Hollywood, but they know deep down that they have plagiarized.
Some Indian filmmakers dispute this, claiming that a Hollywood film would never be successful in India unless it was adapted to reflect the Indian culture as well as be shot in India.
While acknowledging that Bollywood frequently plagiarizes Hollywood films "dialogue for dialogue," director Sanjay Gadhvi said his film "My Friend's Wedding," in which the male lead tries to ruin the marriage of a childhood friend, was inspired by earlier Hindi films rather than Julia Roberts' 1997 film "My Best Friend's Wedding."
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The Roberts picture, according to Gadhvi, contributed less than 1% of the inspiration for his film. This he considers insignificant. In an interview, Gadhvi argued that you could only draw a parallel with the title and the plot. Staying that there was a measure of resemblance, but it's not a duplicate.
He did say then, that he believed that the Bradford court case would make artists reconsider borrowing from Hollywood.
When it comes to functioning as source material or simply lifting the plot, Bollywood has taken inspiration from books, plays, and Hollywood films. The list of Hindi films that plagiarized the plots of well-known Hollywood blockbusters is infinite. From Judwaa (a remake of Jackie Chan's Twin Dragons) to Partner (a remake of Will Smith's Hitch), the list goes on and on.
After working with overseas companies, Bollywood directors have only recently begun the practice of formally duplicating Hollywood films. Parineeti Chopra's official remake of The Girl on the Train, for example.
The Bradford case may make producers more cautious, but filmmakers know they are protected by the slow-moving Indian legal system, according to Aabad Ponda, a lawyer who represents major Bollywood performers.
Litigation in India requires the litigant to have a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy, he explained. And that is something that most individuals aren't prepared to devote that much time to.
Many in Bollywood, including the outspoken Bhatt, argue that there is no such thing as an original idea. His argument is that the human brain, in his own opinion, is incapable of producing something unique. He feels that like a waste disposal facility, we only recycle ideas.
The reality is that even the fascinating Hollywood with its acclaimed writers and directors still draw inspiration, and to an extent, copy ideas from other sources. No one, it can be argued, can truly lay claim to a 100% authenticity of their film plots or ideas.
However, it appears that Bollywood has no qualms or shame for that matter that it is seen as nothing but a copycat of its American counterpart, Hollywood. Hopefully, as the largest producer of films in the world; it will also follow that enviable position in the international entertainment industry with originality.
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Aug 30, 2021
by Eguaogie Eghosa