Hindi Classics Inspired From Hollywood
Since 1940s, Indian filmmakers have been drawing inspiration from Hollywood flicks. Right from Mehboob Khan’s Aurat (later remade into Mother India) to Guru Dutt’s Baazi and even the latest one, Barfi – all these movies entail some western influence at their core. Hollywood has always remained a significant stimulus for successful Hindi films. Be it Shahrukh Khan’s starrer Baazigar or Aamir Khan’s Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahi, both these movies are allegedly based on “A Kiss Before Dying” and “It Happened One Night” respectively. Even if they are not fully copied from the original version, yet they share a similar plot line with these stirring masterpieces.
One of the most prominent example of Hollywood influence on Hindi cinema is evident in the form of India’s finest cult-classic, Sholay. Widely proclaimed as an “Indian curry Western film”, this 70s blockbuster is said to be inspired from not just one but seven Hollywood films. Another glorified Indian version of great Hollywood happens to be the underworld flick Sarkar, which is stated by Ram Gopal Varma as his tribute to “The Godfather”.
As an attempt to understand what made these Hollywood influences work in India, Pandolin presents you selected Hindi classics inspired from remarkable foreign films.
Sholay: Undoubtedly, Sholay remains one of the best Hindi films that earned an iconic status in India. Its powerful dialogues, eccentric characters and unforgettable scenes till date continue to inspire many advertisements and parodies. After the release of this film, Amitabh Bachchan shot to intense fame and people start worshiping him like anything. Though very few people know the fact that this stupendously roaring hit scripted by Salim-Javed was actually being extracted from some wonderful western classics, such as “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”, “The Magnificent Seven”, “Once Upon A Time in The West” and “For A Few Dollars More”. If you watch these four films, you will be immediately able to figure out the apparent similarities. Lifting up scenes from these movies and beautifully blending them into alike Indian locales along with some desi Bollywood music, Ramesh Sippy did a fabulous job by churning out this magnum opus.
Karz: A Blockbuster hit of the year 1980, this Bollywood suspense thriller was hugely inspired from the English film titled “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” released in 1975. Though the concept of these two films seem to be exactly similar yet Subhash Ghai’s ace direction and Laxmikant Pyarelal’s fresh music came together to create one gem of a love story based on re-incarnation theme. Also, the soundtracks like, “Om Shanti Om” and “Dard-e-Dil” set a new trend for disco music in the Hindi film industry.
Agneepath: Regarded as Amitabh Bachchan’s one of the best performances, this film directed by Mukul Anand drew heavy influences from Hollywood classic “Scarface” staring Al Pacino. People who have watched its original version can easily spot out the instances that were copied and adapted in the Bollywood edition of it. Not only the plot and the scenes but the background score and some of the dialogues also got adapted as per the Indian style. However, the few things still unique about Agneepath included the exemplary direction, Amitabh’s angry young man persona and his modified voice that he maintained throughout the film.
Satte pe Satta: A remake of Hollywood musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, this Hindi comedy film has been ranked as the most enjoyable Amitabh Bachchan’s work in the early 80s. An amusing story of seven brothers living on a farm and their relationship, this fun flick became a semi-hit at the box-office owing to its impressive portrayal of laughter and love. Taking meek inspiration from the English version rather than copying it scene for scene, this film happens to be one of the decent bollywood adaptations of all times.
Abhimaan: There’s a bit of debate against the actual source of stimulation behind this film. While many people believe that Abhimaan is a remake of Hollywood film “A star Is Born”, there are few who still insist that it is inspired from the real lives of singer Kishore Kumar and his first wife. No matter what’s being said, this musical movie directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee went on to become a blockbuster and boosted the careers of real life couple Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri like nothing else.
Sarkar: Though, this film generated initial controversy due to the striking similarity between its protagonist and the real-life politician Bal Thackeray yet after its release everything got settled down. Ram Gopal Varma openly came out and admitted that Sarkar is his personal homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather”, a film that remains unparalleled till date in the world cinematic history. In the role of Subhash Nagare aka Sarkar, Amitabh Bachchan delivered some brilliant performance in this awesomely directed remake of a Hollywood classic. Right from its opening sequence to the compelling dark shots, Varma framed this interpretation fantastically in his very own style. Even if Sarkar is not as good as “The Godfather”, still it’s considered to be an exciting underworld flick.
Black: Studded with mesmeric performances from Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee, Black happens to be one of the most sensitive and inspiring films of recent times. Based on the real life experiences of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan, an Oscar nominated film “The Miracle Worker” became inspiration for this Indian adaptation by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. However in the film credits, there was no reference or acknowledgement to the original makers or Hellen Keller’s autobiography. Bhansali refused to call it a copy and expresses Black as his own interpretation of Hellen Keller’s life. Regardless of what one wants to call- inspiration/tribute/plagiarism, this film intensely captures the nuances of a blind and deaf girl’s dark and silent journey.
Ghajini: Loosely inspired from Christopher Nolan’s “Memento”, Ghajini was first made in Tamil and subsequently in Hindi by the same director A.R. Murugadoss. Revolving around the life of a rich businessman who develops a short-term memory loss following a violent encounter, this action psychological thriller holds the record of being the first one billion-crosser. Picking up the basic premise from its Hollywood counterpart and spicing it up with enormous Bollywood flavor, Ghajini makers did everything to make it work among Indian audiences.
For the last many years, Indian directors are opting for a tried and tested formula by visiting Hollywood rather than coming out with an original script or story. Though there is no dearth of talented writers in Hindi film industry, yet the filmmakers prefer not to take any chance and remake movies that have already been applauded worldwide. In spite of creating some out of the box cinema, they are just looking out for interesting Hollywood concepts that can be reworked to suit Indian audiences. However, as long as masses enjoy these films, one can’t really judge, whether it’s for the good or the bad of the futuristic Indian cinema.
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