February 27, 2006


TAXI NUMBER 9211 starring Nana PatekarOver the weekend I went to see TAXI NUMBER 9211, the new Bollywood flick starring Nana Patekar, who's fast becoming one of my favorite actors. Besides being a lousy movie that was perfectly enjoyable for the first 2/3's and then took a trip into boring land as it wrapped everything up with a forced happy ending in the last 1/3, thus negating everything that had gone before, I was surprised to find that this was yet another Bollywood copy of a Hollywood movie: CHANGING LANES.

I'm a huge Bollywood fan, and I have no problem with remakes (in fact, I think the Hong Kong remake of DOG DAY AFTERNOON, PEOPLE'S HERO, is better than the original) but Bollywood has gone crazy with cheap knock-offs recently. While some fans attempt to defend this trend by claiming that "Hollywood copies, too" I would point out that these days if Hollywood wants to copy it has to either change the story dramatically or it pays for the remake rights. But Bollywood, in the past six months, has turned out ZINDA (a shot-for-shot remake of OLDBOY), TAXI NUMBER 9211 (swipes the plot of CHANGING LANES), FIGHT CLUB (a light-hearted remake of, well, FIGHT CLUB), EK AJNABEE (a plot swipe of MAN ON FIRE), and SARKAR (a remake of THE GODFATHER that lifts some scenes wholesale). What bugs me the most is that these are all big movies, for the most part, and ZINDA and SARKAR in particular have been praised for being original and exciting films.

Check out Bollycat which catalogues Bollywood movies that have been "inspired" by other movies.

February 27, 2006 at 09:23 AM in News | Permalink


I totally agree with you on this point, Grady. Having seen a lot of the Bwood remakes that you've mentioned, they either have to start making original films or start paying for the remake rights. Why haven't Hollywood studios gone after them? Do they not have legal rights over their copyrights worldwide? Do they feel that there's no real monetary benefit to pursuing lawsuits in India?

Posted by: Al | Feb 27, 2006 11:10:44 AM

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that international lawsuits are very difficult and hard to finance. The suit would have to be conducted wherever it was filed, which I would imagine would have to be India. And I'm not sure, but wouldn't the person filing the lawsuit have to be a citizen of India? You can hear me treading water here as I'm out of my depth on legal matters.

Maybe a lawyer who reads this blog, or just someone who watches a lot of Judge Judy, could provide some actual insight?

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Feb 27, 2006 2:09:44 PM

what bugs me is when the movie is awful -- i mean, it would be one thing to lift scenes, plots etc and make a good movie, it's quite another to make something as dumb and clumsy as sarkar.

Posted by: jevya | Feb 27, 2006 6:49:45 PM

I think there actually was one successful suit brought by a foreign author over an unauthorized remake of a Jane Austen adaptation. It was a couple of years ago, and my memory has gotten fuzzy, but maybe someone else knows more about this.

Posted by: David Austin | Feb 28, 2006 7:50:22 AM

Ram Gopal Varma always maintained that SARKAR was his ode to THE GODFATHER and he even acknowledges this before the opening credits of the film. The issue of acquiring required copyrights might still exist, but the makers of the other flicks you mention in your post vehemently denied the obvious plagiarism in their movies.

Posted by: George Thomas | Mar 2, 2006 4:36:50 AM

You're right that SARKAR is a different case than the other movies since RGV acknowledged the source, but I was really disappointed by it. It was well-acted and well-made but at the end of the day it was just THE GODFATHER transported to India.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Mar 2, 2006 6:00:28 AM

Ram Gopal Varma also used some direct lifts from Scarface in Company, but they are a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the original material - more homages than theft.

Posted by: David Austin | Mar 2, 2006 11:19:55 AM

I need to find out how to get copyrights to use a couple of scenes from scarface movie.Thanks,Tamaod

Posted by: Tamaod hudson | Jun 14, 2006 6:51:13 PM

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