Rip-off is a slang for plagiarism and, when it comes to films, is used in preference to the word plagiarism. Bollywood (rhymes with Hollywood) is an Indian film industry and its name is derived from Bombay, where it is located, and Hollywood, from which it is inspired. Hollywood is distinguished from Bollywood not only in its American location but also in being older, richer, more famous and more original and in being an iconic world leader in the film industry. Whereas it is not offensive to get inspiration from another source, it is so if the source is exploited blatantly. Bollywood has the history of being unashamed of many Hollywood rip-offs. No practice can continue for long unless there is some definite privilege in its continuation, and it is the box office in case of Bollywood.
1. God Tussi Great Ho
God Tussi Great Ho, literally meaning, God you are great, is a Bollywood film. Unlike Hollywood, which refers to a particular location, Bollywood refers mostly to the biggest Hindi films industry in Bombay. God Tussi Great Ho is a Hindi film starring the most famous Indian actors and actresses including: Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Sohail Khan. Although the film is inspired from a folk tale according to its director, most film critics agree that it is a rip-off of the Hollywood film, Bruce Almighty. Both are comedy films. Bruce Almighty stars Jim Carey as Bruce Nolan, a TV reporter, who expresses dissatisfaction over the works of God, whereupon he is extended an opportunity to play God for one week. He accepts the prayers of all the people and consequently creates chaos in the world. In God Tussi Great Ho, Arun, after an argument with God, is given powers by God to hold the office for 10 days. To skip the time-consuming process, he accepts all the prayers, even granting freedom to criminals, which culminates in a big crisis.
Kaante, literally meaning Thorns, is a Bollywood action film directed by Sanjay Gupta and starred by the senior most Indian actors, including: Amitabh Bachchan, Sunil Shetty, Mahesh Manjrekar and Sanjay Dutt. Kaante is considered the rip off of Quentin Tarantino’s Hollywood movie Reservoir Dogs. Quentin Tarantino is quoted as having said that Kannte was a favorite among many of his rip-offs of his film. In Kaante, the six main characters are detained by police for stealing a truckload of laptops. They are annoyed and plan a bank robbery. In Reservoir Dogs eight men at a dining table plan the robbery of diamonds. Reservoir Dogs was released on October 23, 1992 and Kaante was released on December 20, 2002.
3. Meri Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai
Meri Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai meaning ‘it’s my friend’s marriage,’ is a Bollywood blatant rip-off of the Hollywood movie, My Best Friend’s Wedding, directed by P.J. Hogan and starring Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Philip Bosco, Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz. It was released on June 20, 1997. Meri Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai was directed by Sanjay Gadhvi and starred Uday Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Tulip Joshi and Jimmy Shergill. It was released on June 7, 2002. On asking if Meri Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai was a rip-off, the director replied that it was word by word for the title and the entire plot, ‘but that’s it!”
4. Knock Out
Knock Out is a Bollywood film starring, Irfan Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Kangna Ranaut. It was directed by Mani Shankar and released on October15, 2010. It is a rip-off of the Hollywood film Phone Booth ,which was directed by Joel Schumacher and starred Donald Sutherland, Forest Whittaker?, Colin Farrell, Katie Holmes and Radha Mitchell. Phone Booth was released on April 4, 2003. The film is about a man held hostage in a phone booth by a sniper. In October 2010, the Bombay High Court ordered the producer of Knock Out to share with 20th Century Fox the revenues generated by the film. It was an average grosser in India.
5. Hum Tum Aur Ghost
Hum Tum Aur Ghost is a Bollywood comedy film directed by Kabeer Kaushik and starred Arshad Warsi and Dia Mirza. It was released on March 26, 2010. Hum Tum Aur Ghost is a rip-off of the Hollywood picture Ghost Town, directed by David Koepp and starred Ricky Gervais, an English Comedian, who can see and converse with ghosts. It was released on September 19 ,2008.After recovering from a general anesthesia, which the protagonist Ricky Gervais had undergone due to colonoscopy, he realized that he had been empowered to see and talk to ghosts. There are many ghosts who tease him and Bertram’s ghost assures him to keep the other ghosts away, in exchange for fulfilling his condition to break an engagement between Gwen and Richard.
6. Dil Hai ki Manta nahi
Dil Hai ki Manta nahi is a Bollywood film produced by Gulshan Kumar, directed by Mahesh Bhatt and starring his daughter Pooja Bhatt in female lead role and Aamir Khan in male lead role. It was released in 1991. It is a rip-off of the Hollywood film It Happened One Night, directed by Frank Capra in 1934. The film revolves around a socialite who wants to get rid of her father’s influence and falls in love with Clark Gable, who was a reporter and a bad guy. It was the first film to win all the five major Academy Awards including Best Director, Picture, Actor, Actress and Screenplay.
7. Chor Machaye Shor
Chor Machaye Shor literally means ‘a thief makes the noise.’ The proverbial expression is used when a looter poses as a looted person to divert attention of the chasers. It is a Bollywood comedy film and considered a rip-off of the Hollywood film Blue Streak, which itself is a rip-off of the British film, The Big Job. The story relates to Shiyam, who had managed to hide the stolen diamonds in an under construction site, hoping to recover them after he was released. Ironically, however, when he visited the site after his release, he found a police station constructed over it and the diamonds were a part of its foundations.
8. Chachi 420
Chachi 420 or ‘the cheater aunt’ is a Bollywood film directed by Kamal Hussain, who himself played the lead role. Other actors and actresses include: Om Puri Lakshay Gulia, Johnny Walker, Tabu, Paresh Rawal, Rajendranath Zutshi, Ayesha Jhulka, Baby Sana and Nassar .It is a second degree rip-off of Mrs. Doubtfire, the first one being the Tamil film Avvai Shanmugi. Mrs.Doubtfire was a comedy film, based on Anne Fine’s novel Alias Madame Doubtfire and it won the Academy Award for Best Make Up. It was released on November 24, 1993. Chachi 420 was released on December 19, 1997. The story of both the films revolves around a divorced actor who disguises as a female housekeeper.
Sangharsh, meaning ‘struggle,’ is a Bollywood film, directed by Tanuja Chandra and stars, Preity Zinta, Akshay Kumar and Ashutosh Rana. Sangharsh was released on September 3, 1999. It is a crime thriller and a psychological film. It is a blatant rip-off of the Oscar Award-winning film, The Silence of the Lambs, released on February 14, 1991. It was based on The Silence of the Lambs, a novel by Thomas Harris. The story revolves around finding the treacherous criminal who has abducted and killed many children, believing in the sacrifice of children to attain eternity. In both the movies a trainee police officer is assigned to find the criminal and he seeks help from an imprisoned serial killer.
Deewangee, meaning ‘madness,’ is a Bollywood Hindi film directed by Anees Bazmee and starring Akshay Khanna, Ajay Devgan and Urmila Matondkar. It was released for the first time on October 25, 2002. It is a rip-off of the Hollywood film Primal Fear, directed by Gregory Hoblit and starred by Edward Norton, Richard Gere and Laura Linney. The film is based on William Diehl’s 1993 novel Primal Fear. The film was released on April 3, 1996 and was nominated for Academy Award. The story is about a defense attorney who tries to defend an altar boy charged for murder of a Catholic archbishop.
There needs to be sufficient reason behind labeling a movie as a rip-off, otherwise it is more like an accusation. On the other hand, using the words like an inspiration for an obvious and blatant rip-off, is taking only a too lenient view of the matter. For a movie to be considered a rip-off, it needs to be literally too close with the source material. It is enough to opine about a movie as a rip-off, if the source material has been only too much in the mind of the film maker. As a matter of fact, the copycat approach in Bollywood is too prevalent to be noticed as something extraordinary.