When Bollywood Inspired Hollywood
Hindi filmmakers have always kept a meticulous eye on Hollywood and international films for drawing “inspiration” or getting an “idea” for their movies. Be it Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif starrer Bang Bang which was an official remake of Knight And Day or director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Black which had a plot similar to that of a film named, The Miracle Worker. Drawing inspiration and influence from each others’ art has always been a trend in the creative industry. Audiences need good stories – whether original or adapted is not much of an issue, but often critics have lambasted filmmakers for not being “original”.
This process of imbibing concepts and ideas is not just a one-way street. Hollywood and western filmmakers have also picked up Indian storylines, scenes, and concepts into their films. Here is a list of such international films which drew “inspiration” from several Indian regional and Bollywood films:
The Dirty Dozen (1963) and Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957)
Do Aankhen Barah Haath is a humanistic psychology film made in 1957 and was considered one of the classics of Indian cinema. Produced and directed by V. Shantaram, it revolved around the story of 12 jail convicts who are metamorphosized into good civilians. Just a decade after in 1967, director Robert Aldrich made the film The Dirty Dozen which had a parallel storyline. The film also showcased 12 convicts who were trained into military men. The Hollywood film starred Lee Marwin in a leading role and featured an ensemble cast of Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, Robert Webber, and Donald Sutherland.
Forty Shades of Blue (2005) and Charulata (1964)
Directed by Ira Sachs, Forty Shades of Blue was inspired by Satyajit Ray’s Charulata. Ray’s film showcased a triangular love relationship between a husband, a wife, and a young man. Forty Shades of Blue was placed at 92 on Slant Magazine’s best films of the 2000s and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was written by Ira Sachs and Michael Rohatyn and starred Rip Torn, Dina Korzun, Darren E. Burrows, D’Army Bailey, J. Blackfoot, Jerry Chipman, Stuart Greer.
The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) and Madhumati (1958)
An American motion picture released by Bing Crosby Productions and Cinerama Releasing Corporation, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud was directed by J. Lee Thompson and was inspired from Bimal Roy’s Madhumati. Peter Proud starred Michael Sarrazin in the title role along with Margot Kidder, Jennifer O’Neill and Cornelia Sharpe. Margo Even though the film is not entirely similar, there was certain resemblance with Madhumati, written by Ritwik Ghatak and Rajinder Singh Bedi starring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala in lead roles with Pran and Johnny Walker. It was one of the earliest films to deal with the subject of reincarnation and had a treatment of gothic noir. It was one of the most commercially successful films and won several awards.
Just Go With (2011) and Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005)
Directed by Dennis Dugan, the film Just Go With It is written by Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling and stars Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson and Brooklyn Decker in leading roles. The film had a striking resemblance with Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, Katrina Kaif and Sushmita Sen starrer Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya. The film was directed by David Dhawan and is based on the relationships of a womanizing doctor who ultimately gets stuck between two women – his nurse and a patient with suicidal tendencies.
Kill Bill Volume.1 (2003) and Abhay (2001)
In a private conversation with director Anurag Kashyap, Quentin Tarantino himself admitted that the famous animation-action sequence in Kill Bill was inspired from Kamal Haasan’s film Abhay. Kill Bill was a martial arts film starring Uma Thurman. Abhay was a bilingual psychological thriller directed by Suresh Krissna and produced by S. Thanu. Kamal Haasan played dual roles in the film and was ably assisted by Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala, Sarath Babu, Navin Nischol and Milind Gunaji in supporting roles. It is one of the earliest films in India based on magic realism.
Win A Date With Tad Hamilton (2004) and Rangeela (1995)
Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! was a romantic comedy film directed by Robert Luketic and written by Victor Levin. The film starred Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel, Gary Cole, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sean Hayes and Nathan Lane. It is widely known that the film was hugely inspired by Bollywood’s cult classic Rangeela starring Urmila Matondkar, Aamir Khan and Jackie Shroff was written directed and produced by Ram Gopal Verma.
A Common Man (2013) and “A Wednesday” (2008)
A Common Man is an American-Sri Lankan thriller film starring Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross and is largely inspired by Indian film, A Wednesday. The film is directed by Sri Lankan filmmaker Chandran Rutnam and won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor Awards at the Madrid International Film Festival. A Wednesday! was written and directed by Neeraj Pandey and had Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher playing the lead roles.
Fear (1996) and Darr (1993)
A psychological thriller film directed by James Foley and written by Christopher Crowe, Fear stars Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, William Petersen, Alyssa Milano and Amy Brenneman. Even though a different storyline, Fear drew inspiration from Shah Rukh Khan, Sunny Deol and Juhi Chawla starrer Darr.
Leap Year (2010) and Jab We Met (2007)
Leap Year by Anand Tucker had Matthew Goode and Amy Adams in lead roles. JWM was about a girl who goes out of the way to meet her boyfriend but ends up meets a guy who helps her complete the trip but eventually ends up “making a connection” with him. Leap Year had a similar storyline. Imtiaz Ali was more than happy about it and added, “I have heard that Leap Year takes inspiration from my film. I am happy and don’t want to get into things such as copyright or plagiarism. It feels good to know that Hollywood films can also take elements from us.” Definitely, a proud thing to be happy about, Mr. Ali!