Plagiarism or adaptation: everything fair in the ‘B’ world

by Esther Cabral

From Agneepath (1990) being a copy of Scarface (1983) to Josh (2000) which is a copy of West Side Story (1961). Plagiarism is not new to Bollywood. So when Aisha was an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma and We are family is based on the lines of the famous Hollywood flick Stepmom, it was a breath of fresh air. At least Bollywood is giving its due to the those who deserve it. Not too long ago, Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante never owned to be a copy of Reservoir Dogs. The audience was smart enough. Pyar to hona hi tha was a scene to scene copy of French Kiss which was quite a disaster.
Plagiarism is downright stealing of another’s intellectual property without giving credit. It is when a piece of art, in this case, the film is represented as it being their own. While adapting a movie from a foreign language the acknowledgement is given to the original artist. Plagiarism is immoral and it portrays the intellectual incapacity of the acquirer. Adaptation is preferred as it acquires prior permission from the original artist who sells fully or partly the rights of the movie.
In the Indian film industry or Bollywood as it is famously called the two plagiarisms and adaption are interchangeable and the least respected. Indian laws are not tough on plagiarism and neither is adaptation acknowledged. Movie-goers care less to book the guilty.
Even music composers are criticized for their music being inspired by other Asian musicians. Pritam the music has faced a lot of flak for the same. Chetan Bhagat fought relentlessly for not being acknowledged for adapting parts of his book five point someone in the movie 3 Idiots.
We are aware of this kind of double standards in the films we watch and enjoy. But our reaction is far from being actively involved in making the director giving credit to the original artist. Its time we stand for adaptation and against plagiarism. Intellectual property shouldn’t be misused by those who lack it.

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