Manipuri Film World and Plagiarising Inspiration :: Part 1

Bobby Wahengbam *

A poster for 'Sanakeithel'

A poster for 'Sanakeithel''

Any work of art is attached to inspiration of some form or the other. The same dogma is applicable to the composite art of filmmaking. Since films have been considered more a commercial venture than a work of art, the word 'inspiration' has been exploited to the level of 'copying'.

So, copyrights has been becoming an issue all over the world especially in big industries such as Hollywood, Bollywood, South Indian, European, African and Asian film industries.

Being a minuscule industry, we (Manipur) have not faced any objection from our source industries including South Indian, Nepali, Bollywood, Assamese, Korean film industries even from television channels. As far as we have not crossed the thin line that separates 'inspiration' from 'plagiarism', we are safe. And we should not take it for granted though we have been spared so far considering our small market.

Drown with profit making, Bollywood film makers and musicians resort to plagiarism making the otherwise big industry 'belittled' that leads to drastic criticism. To cite some example Raaz is a remake of What lies Beneath, Kasoor of Jagged Edge.

Though nothing happened to these two films some were not secured. Distributers of Hitch and Old boy (Korean) took the makers of Partner (2007) and Zinda (2005) to court for copyright violation.

Makers of Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai settled out of court for an illegal remake of My Cousin Vinny (1992) by paying $200,000, paving the way for release of the earlier film (wikipaedia).

But couple of films could manage to escape by not showing plagiarism loud enough to draw attention of the original creators. But many critics including Darius Cooper, an American settled in India, are not satisfied with the trend.

"Why can't we achieve first-world status on our own Indian intrinsic-ness instead of constantly 'borrowing' and what is worst 'stealing' from America. Plagiarism has reached an all time high in Bollywood. Let' turn to the recently released 'Lagee Rahoo Munna Bhai, which is making waves.

The Gandhian fantasy figure in the film is created out of a Frank Capra archetype and not the real Mahatama one, and this reduces the film to a desi Capracorn or Caprabutta" (Cooper Darius. The Certain and Uncertain Tendencies in Today's Bollywood Cinema. Silhouette; Vol. VIII 2010, p. 208,214).

The plagiaristic nature is also discussed in the making of Sholay, India's most successful film ever, in four different books I've read. One is quoted here.

"Salim-Javed and Ramesh formed a script-writing trio and in a month developed a story that heavily borrowed from foreign influences, such as Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Sergio Leon's (Italian) spaghetti Westerns. But to these they added those touches that make Hindi cinema so distinctive. If this made it the first truly masala curry Western, it also carried the story forward with a plot much tauter than any previous Hindi film of this genre" (Bose Mihir. Bollywood, a History, Lotus, Roli Books, 2006;p.283).

Nevertheless, director Ramesh Sippy openly admired The Magnificent Seven (itself based on Kurosawa's Seven Samurai) and writer Javed Akhtar puts a name to his inspiration.

To be contd...

* Bobby Wahengbam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was webcasted on August 07 2015.


Who is the Best Actress?

  • * Abenao
  • * Binata
  • * Devita
  • * Kamala
  • * Manda
  • * Sonia
  • * Sunila


Powered by Disqus

Back to top