Friday, February 09, 2007

Why we shouldn't fight piracy of Indian movies

I was just reading with growing interest about how the Indian film industry is taking firm steps to curb and fight piracy in Indian cinema. I was a little amused at the same time. When most of the Indian movies are blatant rip-offs of any foreign movie or other regional movie from within India itself, why should the public not encourage and promote piracy of those movies?

When I first saw the promo for movie Kaante, it sounded like a cool idea about a bank heist gone wrong. Though it reminded me of reservoir dogs and a countless other movies with similar theme, I wasn't prepared for what was served on-screen. I faithfully watched the credits and titles to see what each technician has contributed. I remember seeing Sanjay Gupta's name listed under screenplay. As the movie proceeded, the story kept sounding more and more familiar. More than that, even the dialogues were translated in Hindi verbatim. What Sanjay had done was a fusion of Usual suspects and Reservoir dogs. The only bit that wasn't copied was the role of bar dancer (was she needed in movie like this???). I kept wondering how these directors get away with such blatant copying. Least that Sanjay could have done was to give credit to the original screenplay writers and directors and just list his name under the producer's category.

Other movies that I can instantly recall for plagiarism are Aawara Paagal Deewana (Whole nine yards), Deewane huey paagal (Something about Mary), Raaz (What lies beneath), Murder (Unfaithful), Salaam-E-Ishq (Portions of Love actually), Zinda (Old boy) and many more.

I paid close to 8 Pounds for watching Kaante and I ended up watching a bad version of Reservoir dogs. Will Mr.Gupta reimburse my ticket fee now that I know I have been short changed? Should I feel bad if I happen to get a pirated copy of these movies that are not original and don't give credit to the original creators? To hell with these people. I wish more lawyers in India sued directors like Sanjay Gupta or Vikram Bhatt instead of going after actors for sharing a smooch. I heard Sanjay Gupta justifying his plagiarism by saying that he was bringing International movies to Indian audiences who wouldn't otherwise be able to watch them. If that's the case, he should probably do what Quentin Tarentino or John Malkovich does. I remember John Malkovich who, on seeing the movie Terrorist, immediately acquired the rights for the movie and screened them across theaters in the USA. Similarly, Sanjay should get the rights for those movies and distribute them in India with appropriate subtitles or dub them in Indian languages. Or, if he proceeds to do a remake, credit the people involved in the original version. Until he does that, I will feel no remorse in watching the movies he dishes out without paying the price of a movie ticket and I will then proceed to criticise his movies.

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