Plagiarism

by meeta | 1 comments | 3,385 views | Add comment

I get extremely miffed when something I've written is copied and pasted elsewhere without permission. And yet, I find myself more liberal towards "inspired" movies. The anomaly has always bothered me.

One obvious factor is that the remake of a movie is not a blind copy-paste. However bad it is, actual hard-work has gone into it. Locations have to be hunted for, sets have to be set-up, shots have to be divided and planned, lines have to be learnt, and the actors most certainly bring their flavor. And this is assuming no changes are made to the script, dialogues have been simply translated, or used as is, camera angles, background score, and editing decisions are copied to the last frame - all of this is usually not true.

Then what makes one inspiration better than the other? Obviously the manner in which the frames have been copied and the changes have been inserted are the two main factors. Of course, like any other movie, it shouldn't offend the audience's sensibilities, and there ought to be something refreshing about the product as a whole.

I've found myself enjoying remakes, irrespective of whether or not I've seen the originals, and whether or not they have at least a little bit of originality in them. For example, I've seen the old and new Umrao Jaan and Don. And have liked all four. The Umrao Jaan remake was almost a frame-to-frame copy and the Don remake had a completely new second half. Similarly I hated Shaka Laka Boom Boom and Partner in which the new bits were worthless and likewise disliked the changes made in Heyy Babyy and Hari Puttar.

And there have been remakes which are known to be copies (I haven't seen the originals) that are joys to watch, like Bheja Fry and maybe Aamir. Of course, conversely I haven't watched the supposed original of Naqaab and don't feel like watching it either. I clearly cannot comment on how much of the concept was imitated here.

So, there is really no method to what works and what doesn't. If a single person has such a variant choice, the system, if any, will crack as soon as it is spread across people.

Okay I understand, you are struggling for new ideas, you watch something and feel compelled to tell it in your style. You take it one step further; you amalgamate 3-4 things you have seen. Fine? What's so difficult about acknowledging the sources? Why is it so difficult to say, "okay, I'm not creative in writing or forming a concept, but look here's what I can do creatively in the other departments"?

Well understandably, it is actually difficult to say that. And there are other bigger considerations. The expenses are overwhelming. The bigger the original and its producers, the dearer it gets. The smaller the remaker, the more convenient/tempting it gets to fight the lawsuits if/when they arise compared to going about seeking permissions.

Then, it is a very time-consuming process. Again the bigger the original, the more bureaucracy/procedure you need to go through. And the smaller the copier, the less you can/want to wait.

Looks like, in general, it is just easier to take refuge under the "after all only 7 stories in the world" theory. Then you can call them a thief all you like!

Yet, we do have a section of the audience who are bothered deep down by the lack of originality. And there are others, like me, who of course watch every movie with the hope of seeing something "never-seen-before", something "different", at the very least in the writing department, be it concept, script or dialogues. But then, we make do with a copy as long as it is enjoyable. And I'm sure there's this other section which couldn't care less.

Which section do you fall in? What is it that offends you about remakes? Is there a solution to the copyright and acknowledgement issues?

- meeta, a part of the audience

Comments (1)

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Anu:

Hi,

I think remakes are ok as long they make money. I think audience are all right about remake movies.

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