Copy cats

cat_vp1.bmpExperiencing déjà vu while sitting in the movie theatre or while listening to a song on the radio? This is Bollywood for you today. Or should I say Bollycat? Afterall a lot of the most popular songs and movies are blatant rip offs of Hollywood or some other international counterparts.

A glance at the Bollywood top ten, twenty or even thirty clearly reveals the extent to which plagiarism has crept into the Indian entertainment industry. The trend, though it has become a rage recently, has existed for a long time. It goes back to music geniuses like O P Nayyar! His ‘Yeh hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’ is one song which is popular even with our generation. Unfortunately it’s a rip off of the song ‘My darling clementine’ by Freddy Quinn.

Another familiar number ‘Babuji Dheere Chalna’ from the movie ‘Aar Paar’ is also a partial rip-off of the song ‘Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps’ by Doris Day. Surprised? Read on.

Many of R D Burman’s songs are blatant rip offs including the oh-so-sensuous ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ from the movie ‘Sholay’. It’s a rip off of Demis Roussoss’s ‘Say You Love Me’. Demis’ song was released in 1974 and R D Burman’s in 1975. You have to listen to the song to believe it!

Rajesh Roshan also has many lifted tunes to his credit. ‘Jab koi baat’ from the movie ‘Jurm’ is a rip-ff of the song ‘Here the Whistle Blow…a hundred miles’ by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Anu Malik’s song ‘Bheege Hont Tere’ from ‘murder’ is a copy of the song ‘Menu Tere Naal’ by Pakistani singer Najam Sheraz. More recently composer Pritam has plagiarized a number of international songs .’Zahreeli raatein’, ‘Bheega Bheega sa’ & ‘Halka halka sa’ [Chocolate (2005)] have been lifted off Jal’s ‘Aadat’, Abrar-ul-Haq’s ‘December’ & Jesse Cook’s ‘Breeze from Saintes Maries’, respectively!

Ya ali, Lamha lamha, Bheegi bheegi & Tu hi meri shab hai [Gangster (2006)] .Bheegi bheegi is inspired legitimately (!!) by Mohiner Ghoraguli’s Bangla jibhonmuki gaan, ‘Prithibi’! ‘Ya ali’ is a direct lift from the Arabic band Guitara’s ‘Ya ghaly’ (from their 2002 album, Qisati), Lamha lamha is lifted from Waris Baig’s 1998 track, ‘Kal shab dekha maine‘, while ‘Tu hi meri shab hai’ is a direct lift from ‘Sacral Nirvana’ by Oliver Shanti & Friends.

And its not only songs which have been ‘inspired’ but whole movies. ‘Hum Tum’ has been taken from ‘When Harry met Sally’, ‘Murder’ is a copy of ‘Unfaithful’, ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ has a plot on the lines of ‘ET: The Extra Terrestrial’ and ‘Forrest Gump’. ‘Kaante’ starring Amitabh Bachchan is a copy of ‘Reservoir Dogs’, ‘Sangharsh’ is a copy of ‘Silence of the Lambs’, the Naseeruddin Shah movie ‘3 Deewarein’ is a rip off of the English movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.

Pal, Pal (Lage Raho Munnabhai), Kaisi Paheli Hai (Parineeta ), Dil Mein Baji Guitar (Apna Sapna Money Money), Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai (Woh Lamhe), Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai (Gangster) …the list of rip offs in Bolllywood is endless.

To quote filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, “For me, there’s nothing like plagiarism, since there’s nothing like originality. The human brain is a recycling bin. If you hide the source, you’re a genius.”

Ruma Kulshreshtha