Just a few days ago during a morning at work, we stumbled upon actor Emraan Hashmi’s Facebook post, revealing his first film as a producer, featuring the actor himself. Hashmi, in his ‘Captain Nawab’ avatar was looking quite intense and thus we started off the day with an article on a promising film. It certainly felt good. But soon, something struck! The poster was looking familiar AF. Oh dude, it is such a blatant copy of ‘Call of Duty’! This also reminded us, Kabir Khan’s ‘Phantom’ had copied the poster of a popular video game called ‘Homefront’.
If you’re a Bollywood buff, the feeling might be mutual. One will lose count of how many Bollywood films have their posters ‘inspired’ by other films or even non-film elements like video games! (Bangs head on the door)
For the ones who came late, here’s a quick recap you might not like. Shah Rukh Khan starrer Ra.One, which is undoubtedly one of the most expensive films made in Bollywood so far, had its poster visibly copied (or ‘inspired’, as they politely put it) from ‘Batman Begins’, the first film from ‘The Dark Knight’ series. Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra’s ‘Anjaana Anjaani’ flatly copied the poster of ‘An Education’ a film by Lone Scherfig. ‘Aitraaz’ starring Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor took everything from the poster of ‘The Graduate’. Again, Akshay Kumar’s ‘Rowdy Rathore’ poster looked a duplicate of ‘The Replacement Killers’ while the poster of Saif Ali Khan’s ‘Agent Vinod’ was picked from the poster of ‘Johnny English’.
Let us leave big stars and big films alone, and look at the small, less successful films. Poster of Mallika Sherawat’s ‘Ugly Aur Pagli’ was almost a clone of ‘Til Death’. Again, ‘Hisss’ starring Sherawat which did no hiss at the box office, also got its poster copied from that of ‘King Arthur’. Akshaye Khanna and Rimi Sen’s ‘Hulchul’ revealed its poster and boom! It was a copy of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’. Himesh Reshammiya’s ‘Damadamm!’ and Sunny Deol’s ‘Naksha’ made very little news, and the little can be credited to their copied posters.
Let us not dig deep and know that half of the posters we come across are not original and this is enough reason to be sad. Why would this even happen when we have no dearth of talents in the country? Most importantly, what are the possible reasons?
On a straightforward note, makers are probably aware that any kind of publicity is publicity. A few decades after globalization when the urban audience has every bit access to global infotainment and internet, identifying a copied (or an original content, for that matter) is no big deal. So it would be ignorant of us to think that filmmakers try to fool us with copied posters. At times, it looks like a deliberate attempt to grab headlines. But well, sometimes, it may actually be a foolish decision of underestimating the viewers’ intelligence and trying to get away with duplicate content. Most of the times, this fails.
This harms the face of Indian cinema in more ways than you can think. The first and direct impact is when we have very less which really belongs to us, our creations. Standing in an era where Indian actors and their works are taking over the entire world, would you like global audience to point out how so many of our posters are blatant copies? Does this not raise a finger on the productivity and efficiency of Indian artistes who put their sweat behind everything they create? Next, when you simply copy an idea, you restrict an artist imagining and executing his imagination. Instead of creating, you force him to recreate. Not a great environment for artistes to grow!
Ironically, the number of talents in the country grows everyday, and so does the number of films being made every year. For those who did not know, India makes highest number of films annually, IN THE WORLD! But how sad, we still fail our talents miserably.
An inequality so less talked about..