Monday, February 06, 2006

Perfect Rip-off

I watched the 1998 thriller A Perfect Murder a few days ago. The Michael Douglas-Gwyneth Paltrow starrer went about on my TV screen like any other movie which promised a whole load of suspense – A Perfect Murder as it was called. I was looking forward to a nice, exciting Sunday evening at home with the right kind of suspense to make it complete. However as the plot thickened, the movie appeared more and more familiar. Uh-oh, I sighed. Here’s another mama of a bollywood offshoot.
When I watched Humraaz a few weeks after it was released, I thought I was impressed. The plot appeared perfect. The suspense generated was commendable. The actors did justice to both with their stupendous acting and the naach-gaana-khaana-peena made the movie look very Indian. And why not, I wonder now. Abbas-Mustan had chiseled the plot to satiate the Indian psyche. As Perfect Murder flowed smoothly in front of my eyes, Humraaz seemed to treacherously occupy my mind.
Humraaz is an excellent movie, no doubt about it. But it is still a rip off. Picking a hollywood flick and decorating it to serve the target audience does not celebrate the creative genius of our filmmakers. The English original is ofcourse, sans the loud music and expensive attires. It does not celebrate weddings with jewellery laden ladies and sherwani clad dandies. But it is still the original.

I can only hope our filmmakers stop churning out hollywood classics adorned with Indian makeup. So that the next time I watch a movie, I can watch it without flinching.


Blogger Dev said...

One good solution, stop watching Hindi movies. :D
90% of them are ripoffs anyway. :)

2/07/2006 12:25 AM  
Blogger Vinayak said...

better to watch profane and violent english movies, which the copycats would think twice before remaking...but if Fightclub can be remade, then anything is possible

2/07/2006 1:15 AM  
Anonymous Vijay Krishna said...

I don't think it is that bad a thing really. Tell me, how many of our junta would have got a chance to watch A Perfect Murder? By remaking popular angrezi flicks, our filmmakers are bringing us good entertainment. I'm ok with it.

P.S.: I've watched neither of the movies.

2/07/2006 6:56 AM  
Blogger Aparna S Mallya said...

but we cannot be complacent, can we?

2/07/2006 10:07 AM  
Blogger Suhas M Mallya said...

I kind of agree with Vijay Krishna. If a particular culture or society has entertainment to offer, making that available to another audience by "transporting" it through an appropriate medium (vernacular) helps in "cross-pollination" of sorts.

However, while on one hand, the fact that the 'junta' in general would not have access to or would not be able to appreciate an English movie is reason enough to make a remake, on the other hand, what irks me is the smugness (even if I can't see their faces) with which the Hindi remakes get passed off as original simply because people by and large do not have access to Hollywood flicks. Instead, if the Hindi producers explicitly acknowledge that the movie is a remake based on so-and-so movie/story, I am sure it would be well-received and clearly more ethical. Further, under a formal arrangement, I am sure the makers of the original movie will be more than happy to offer some assistance if they realize they have a ready market they can tap into. For instance, I am sure the makers of "A Perfect Murder" would have been more than happy to assist the makers of "Humraaz" with say, special effects (sound, lighting, portrayal of thematic elements) or the technology used for say, picture cleansing, editing, sound, etc. in return for allowing a Hindi remake. And of course, in return for a fee! A win-win situation all around as I see it.

2/07/2006 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Madhu said...

Copying the west seems to be the name of the game.

2/07/2006 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Vijay Krishna said...

Suhas, I would really appreciate it if some filmmaker accepted that his movie was actually "inspired by" - that's filmdom's lingo for copied - a foreign flick. It takes some amount of courage to accept that.

2/08/2006 5:37 AM  
Blogger dharmu said...

well, i couls give a dozen of the "inspired" movies in the recent times. but no qualms as the junta likes it and it earns revenues.

2/08/2006 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Melody said...

Want a peace of Trivia dear Apy??

'A Perfect Murder' was a remake of another English film called 'Dial "M" for murder'. That was a classic Hitchcock.

One good thing about English films which are remade though - they always state it's a remake (like "Fun with Dick & Jane", which I just reviewed) - unlike the Hindi films which the (weirdass??) directors/producers/actors still insist & claim on being original...

Kya kare? Let's not forget, this is the land which made Anu Malik famous.

2/12/2006 2:34 AM  
Anonymous Melody said...

oops... I meant a "piece" of trivia, lol

2/12/2006 2:36 AM  
Blogger Aparna S Mallya said...

thnx for the piece, melody, guess i'll have to do more research nxt time! And peace is right, atleast i'm feeling better that Indian filmmakers aren't the only 'remakers' :)

2/12/2006 6:28 AM  

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