Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Copycats and angry directors

Recently watched Dus Kahaniyan which is to put it politely not worth writing about or wasting time watching. Around the same time I also read this interview by one of the many (mis) directors and producer Mr. Sanjay Gupta who was a very angry man.

In his own words

“At a time when everyone is ripping off films, I'm still being called a 'DVD director'! Every story in DK is original. The other day I met people from an awards jury who told me they couldn't give my "Zinda" any awards because it was a remake of a Korean film. What are some of the recent Yash Raj Films?”

Q: You sound bitter.
A: I've every right to be……..Just because I don't come from a filmy background I'm given a raw deal. I've been attacked for no reason. All I do is make my films. And I'm having a blast. If today I'm called successful, my success lies in being able to make offbeat films like "Pankh", "Great Indian Butterfly" and "Dus Kahaniyaan".”

A very angry (not so) young man indeed. Err but what was the reason for the anger here?? In all fairness I think of Guptajee’s filmography and my stream of consciousness thoughts runs thus….

1) Debut movie - Aatish - a lift from John Woo’s breakthrough classic (and one of the best Hong Kong gangster flicks, your taste is undeniable) A Better Tomorrow…..
2) Biggest hit Kaante is all Reservoir Dogs except for the first 20 minutes which are very precisely lifted from The Usual Suspects. (To be fair you did not savage either Reservoir Dogs or the Usual Suspects the way Vivek Agnihotri did to the latter in Chocolate, but then a more precise job of wringing out every bit of style, substance and logic out of a great movie and finding finance for producing what is left is not a gift given to everyone),
3) Musafir is copied from Oliver Stone’s U Turn (it is probably his worst movie but still better than any of yours)
4) Ram Shastra – Hard to Kill (I think I am one of the very few people to have seen it so you cannot call me prejudiced sir, I am a dedicated consumer of your products)
5) Zinda – supposedly a scene to scent copy of the Korean Oldboy, whose DVD I have been unable to lay hands on (don’t have your contacts sir you see)
6) Hamesha – hmm slightly difficult because rebirth stories essentially have the same story. I am prepared to acknowledge a slight setback here
7) Khauff – This disappeared from the theatres so fast that I really could not catch it there, not that I wanted to and well I haven’t seen it entirely on cable either but the plot from what I little I saw is like The Juror. But I haven’t seen this so I pass.
8) Have I covered everything – I check IMDB just to be sure and surprise surprise, you also directed Jung. That’s Desperate Measures alright…

So, well the score reads 6 to the chaps who call u DVD director or whatever and 2 no results. Leading to the point that what are you really complaining about man? That other people also have access to DVD’s? Or is it that they do not consider your subtle changes as transforming the flick into an original?

Coming to the topic of changes I think one example should rest the issue. Towards the climax of A Better Tomorrow Chow Yun Fat and the lead chap whose name I forget (basically Aditya Panscholi and Sanjay Dutt) are in a church when lead chap asks Chow “Do you believe in God?” Chow with the trademark cigarette dangling from his face gives a piercing stare, the trademark John Woo pigeons fly around, and he says “Sure I believe in God, I am God, any person who believes in himself is God.” Cool… In your version everything goes as per script till Aditya opens his mouth to answer “Tu mera bhagwan hai Baba (that’s Sanjay), mera dost mera bhagwan hai.” Both wipe tearful eyes and hug with an understandably embarrassed Sanjay muttering “Kya bol raha hai yaar.” Should we talk about inspiration…sorry Sanjay ji inspiration is not a word for this.

So save the anger man and rent a DVD….

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