I cannot possibly go through every Bollywood film that was copied from Hollywood because there are too many for anyone to know or list them completely. We all know that a large portion of Bollywood films are direct copies of Hollywood films. Some others are not direct copies, but copy certain parts or scenes, and then there are others that don’t copy any scenes but their main theme is inspired from a Hollywood movie. In this post, I want to mention a few movies that were copied or heavily inspired from Hollywood films but few people are aware of it.
Aisha claims that it is an adaptation of the Jane Austen novel “Emma.” As much as I appreciate the try, they are not fooling anyone! Aisha is not an adaptation of Emma, but rather a copy of the 1995 Hollywood film Clueless, which was an adaptation of Emma! I watched Clueless as a child and it is a cult teen film. All Aisha did was adapt the film to an older age group (so that the characters were not in high school), but the scenes were quite literally copied otherwise. In fact, Sonam Kapoor even copied the style of some of the outfits! Although I am calling out Aisha on this, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the movie. In fact, I like it a lot and I think it’s one of the most successful and stylish Hollywood adaptations out there.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006)
Few people know that Karan Johar’s Shahrukh and Rani starrer KANK is also a copy. To give it its due, it is not a scene-by-scene copy but takes its entire premise from the 1984 Hollywood film Falling in Love which stars legendary Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep. I was lucky enough to realize this when the film was aired on television some years ago. I do love KANK, and have never succumbed to the pressures of mainstream conservative viewers who bashed it relentless for portraying infidelity. But I must make one criticism. I think where Karan went wrong with KANK is that he also gave us a deep insight into the personalities of the spouses– Riya and Rishi, played by Preity and Abhishek respectively. I think the audience made a connection with these characters and that is why there was such outrage when they were cheated on, as we naturally felt that they deserved better. Since this aspect did not exist in Falling in Love, and also because the chemistry of Shahrukh and Rani can never match a Robert and Meryl duo (if it had been Shahrukh and Kajol, maybe), the Hollywood version fairs a little better. Btw, train stations is a big theme in the original too.
I’m actually not sure to what extent people are aware that Mann is a remake. I myself did not know until I was re-watching my favorite Hollywood rom-com of all time, Sleepless in Seattle. In the film, there is a scene where Sam is having dinner with close friends Greg and Suzy and Suzy starts describing a scene from the film An Affair to Remember and suddenly starts to cry. Just watch:
When Suzy is describing the film scene, I thought to myself, wait a minute, that sounds familiar, it’s Mann! Mann is a scene by scene copy of the 1957 film starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. While Cary Grant’s character comes off as a womanizer, but a charming and classy one nonetheless; Aamir’s character in Mann is simply obnoxious.
But that’s not all. The songs are rip-offs too. I always knew Kali Nagin Ke Jaisi was a rip-off because I remembered the melody from childhood days, but I finally got around to googling what it actually was. It’s a copy of the 1997 Arabic song “Ya Rayah” by Rachid Taha.
If you are disillusioned by that, wait for it, there is more! Nasha Yeh Pyar Ka Nasha Hai is a copy of the 1983 Italian pop song “L’Italiano” by Toto Cotugno! I guess the only original thing in this film is the genuine acting of Manisha Koirala.
For a larger list of copies/remakes, including remakes of South Indian films, go to Guide to Remakes.