Filmmakers in Bollywood, India’s movie industry, are notorious for borrowing liberally from foreign films far and wide, especially Hollywood.
Even when they don’t copy an entire film frame by frame, Bollywood directors often borrow from several films at once, melding story lines and adapting them to an Indian setting, complete with song and dance. They do this, of course, without buying the remaking rights. Despite a lot of original cinema coming out of Bollywood, plagiarism is rife.
Hollywood hasn’t cared until now, The Washington Post’s Emily Wax reports. Twentieth Century Fox recently settled a lawsuit with BR Films — a well-known banner — over its remake of the 1992 hit “My Cousin Vinny.” Fox accepted $200,000, paving the way for a release of the Hindi version, called “Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai” or “This Guy is Fearless”.
The Times of London has reported that a lawyer representing major American studios has recently sent warning letters to producers who he believes are copying Hollywood films. Among the titles are “Ghostbusters”, “Jerry Maguire”, “The Departed” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, the paper reports.
Will Fox’s action finally put a stop to the widespread plagiarism in Bollywood? More likely, Bollywood producers will just have to cough up the money to buy remaking rights, which is how it should be.