3 Bollywood Films That You Did Not Know Were Copied from Hollywood

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 (2010)

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.

Mann (1999)

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.

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How Films Influence Our Notions of Death and the After-world

I think it was in 1993 or 1994 that I had a birthday party screening the one and only 1988 cult classic “Beetlejuice.” (A 7 year old’s birthday party with Beetlejuice, and that too in Turkey, weird family I know…). As an adult, I still love this film, and not only because of its unique premise, but also how the usually ghastly topic of death is portrayed in such a humorous way. Until then in cinema, we had not considered that the dead could be a sweet couple from the suburbs, or that the after-world could be a waiting room not too different than a dentist’s. There are very few films that have actually tackled death in this satirical way, and maybe this is also why the film obtained such cult status over the years.

Bhoot World Mein Teen Cheezo ki Kami HaiThe 2008 Hindi film Boothnath starring Amitabh Bachchan followed a similar path, albeit with less humor. It was successful in normalizing death and the dead however, just as Beetlejuice had done. In Boothnaath, the dead was a grouchy but good-hearted old man (based on Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost in fact), and the after-world was basically an Indian government office.

There have been a few other Indian films that have helped disseminate some of the stigma attached to death, for example the 2013 Telugu horror comedy Prema Katha Chitram and the 2012 Bengali film Hemlock Society. Rather than using satire to display a fantasized and ironically ‘normal’ death, these films mocked suicide by suggesting suicide, thereby bringing attention to high suicide rates among youth in India.

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It’s rather sad that this humorous and satirical take on death and what await us afterward, cannot become more mainstream in cinema. There is a plethora of films and TV shows releasing daily that remind us of the horror that we normally associate with death– serial killers, revengeful murders, painful accidents, and after it’s over, zombies, vampires, ghosts and demons to haunt us and give us sleepless nights. If you notice, death is the main thread in all horror products. I don’t think we even realize the extent to which the big screen influences how we think of death. If only more cinema could take death as lightly as it often does life, and remove some of the stigmas and subconscious fears usually associated with it.

Film List For The Holidays

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You can actually click on the image to learn how to make these!

It’s a tradition to watch family oriented films with both entertainment and an underlying message during this time of the year. A holiday film should have the right mix of surprise, fun and joy. Here are some Hollywood / Bollywood / Tollywood films you can enjoy this holiday season with your family. 

Hollywood

  1. Home Alone (1990) — Undoubtedly one of the best holiday family films of all time. This is one that everyone will enjoy! 
  2. Elf (2003) — Both funny and touching, this is a favorite for many families during the Holidays. It stars Will Ferrel.
  3. A Christmas Carol (2009) — An animated version of the classic Christmas film.
  4. Scrooged (1988) — A modern take on A Christmas Carol starring Bill Murray.
  5. A Christmas Story (1983) — Another Christmas classic you’ll probably come across on American TV this season.
  6. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas — There is an animated 2000 version but the colored 1966 original is probably better.

Bollywood

  1. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge — You probably guessed this one. Minus a few scenes, DDLJ is as homely as Bollywood gets. Coincidentally, Yash Raj recently celebrated the film’s 1000th running week in cinemas. All the more reason to watch the classic again this holiday season.
  2. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai — Another classic about family and love starring our favorite on-screen couple, this is a film that the whole family can enjoy. 
  3. Main Hoon Na — This is a great fun film with fantastic comedy, touching story, great songs and action. Perfect for this time of year! Alternatively, go for Farah’s Om Shanti Om.
  4. Dhoom 2 and/or Dhoom 3 — If you like some action in your holiday film, then get ready to watch the grand third Dhoom film with your friends and family. The second one starring Aish and Hrithik was also fun.
  5. Teen Thay Bhai — This may seem like an unlikely recommendation, but it’s always nice to laugh extra during the holidays and this film has some of the best situational comedy. Alternatively, go for the classics Andaaz Apna Apna or Hera Pheri.
  6. Dabanng — Great action entertainer – masala everything – for the whole family and especially for Salman fans. Violence not suitable for children though.
  7. Jab We Met — Another favorite that just never gets old. Enjoy the music and enigmatic performance of Kareena Kapoor and lively dances of Shahid. An alternative for Kareena fans is Gori Tere Pyaar Mein.
  8. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na — I love this film for its funny, easy-going modern script. It’s perfect for students who just want to chill during the holidays with a film.

Tollywood

  1. Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana — Funny romantic film that teaches us that love is about effort and sacrifice. Suitable classic for the whole family! Alternative cute films for students and family are Bommarillu and Ready.
  2. Race Gurram — If you want action, entertainment and brilliant Brahmanandan comedy this holiday, you’ve got to add this film to your list. Perfect for get-togethers with friends. Songs may not be suitable for children. An alternative is Julayi.
  3. Attharintiki Daaredi — Fantastic film about family with a powerful performance from Pawan Kalyan. The music is also a winner. No one will be bored while seeing this film. An alternative is Gabbar Sing — Telugu version of Dabanng. 
  4. Eega — This is the perfect option for kids and adults who get bored easily! The animation is great for kids but the story and action are also entertaining for adults.
  5. Arya and Arya 2 — Great entertainers from Bunny — funny and romantic at the same time. These are the best options for those who like romantic comedies during the holidays. Another option is Allu Arjun’s Happy, also very funny and entertaining.
  6. Chandramukhi — Must see classic for those who like a little scare during the holidays! An alternative is the Telugu sequel remake with Venkatesh — Nagavalli. 
  7. King — This is an entertaining action entertainer starring Nagarjuna. You will love the twist in the second half. Good film for the whole family.
  8. Aadavari Matalaku Ardhale Verule — Humorous and entertaining family film from Venky. 

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I wish all of you health, happiness, prosperity and peace, together with your loved ones in the new year.

May this be a season of miracles that washes away all our worries and troubles!

And may 2015 be a year of brilliant films!

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