Friday, January 1, 2010

A Drama of the Idiots

Barnali Saha

In the mortal world of Bollywood, mainstream plagiarism seems to be a pied-a-terre for actors and directors. The latest Bollywood drama 3 Idiots had hit the screen just a few days back and now as the popularity of the movie is soaring sky high, controversy about the originality of the script is raging. The producers and Aamir Khan have vehemently denied the fact that the plot of 3 Idiots is the brain child of Indian writer Chetan Bhagat's novel Five Point Someone and have even gone to the dire extent of calling the script "original"

 Anybody who is aware of Chetan Bhagat's innovative novel would raise his eyebrows to this outrageous claim of Bollywood of calling an openly borrowed theme as its own. Bollywood definitely lacks creativity and have often shown its great dexterity of stealing movie themes, plots, dialogues and even music from Hollywood. There are countless examples of stolen and used plots before us. From Aamir Khan's much talked about Ghajni (original plot Memento) to Amitabh Bacahan's Pa (Original plot Robin William's Jack) Bollywood have deftly been a copy cat. I have forever wondered why is it that Bollywood never mentions the names of the original movies where it had copied its plots from in its own cinematic versions. Why is it that they have forever been inclined to copy and forget? I guess it is the basic element of movie making in Bollywood that one should not have any scruples when entering the business. Now that they have Indianized their copy and forget policy, their targets have been shifted to a national base. From big budget Hollywood movies, Bollywood is currently concentrating on blindfolding humble writers like Chetan Bhagat by blatantly using his creativity and declining fervently that they have adopted the idea from him. It is sad that Chetan Bhagat who despite concocting the brilliant story of Five Point Someone had been given no credit, no respect whatsoever in the movie 3 Idiots. It is indeed ironic that he has never been mentioned in the movie 3 Idiots, he didn’t make any public appearances with the cast and the crew of the movie, yet it is he who has made the making of the movie possible. Bhagat was actually pretty excited about the movie since we all knew from the cover of Five Point Someone that the novel was soon to be a motion picture (the director did not turn out to be Ritesh Sinha though). I guess the writer had not expected the events to take such an awkward turn.

The Cover of the Book 

 3 Idiots is totally based on the novel; it has almost all the same incidents in it the only dissimilarity being that the incidents were jumbled for heightened effect. However, in spite of all fine tuning, the plot of Five Point Someone is a far better than its cinematic version. By over dramatizing the perfect plot Bollywood has just shown us the loopholes in its creativity. In a long, long time we have not seen Bollywood begetting any revolutionary movie ideas and to think of Bollywood of fabricating the revolutionary plot of 3 Idiots would be nothing but an idiotic idea itself. Since all its movies either deal with love or the platitudes of love, Bollywood could never have come up with the idea of scathing the sagacious education system in India; it seldom has concentrated on the subject of education let alone changing the system of education via cinema. It is Chetan Bhagat who is probably the first Indian to speak up vociferously about the backlogs of the Indian education system where creativity plays a second fiddle and mugging up un-understood lessons rules. Bhagat had introduced Ryan Oberoi to act as the rebel in his book and through him he had brought to light the threadbare condition of the education system in India. In the movie 3 Idiots Aamir Khan becomes Rancho (the Ryan of the book) and voices the same dialogues that Ryan had voiced in a different tone. Isn't it a little too much of a coincidence that Aamir has the same kind of name as Chetan Bhagat's character and even talks and acts like him through out the movie? Isn't it totally stupid for Aamir to convince us that the writer has personally declined any similarity between the movie and the book? It is sad that an actor like Aamir Khan who is probably on of the best, if not the best, actors of Bollywood being mendacious in public. This act of Aamir Khan will surely mar his reputation as a perfect performer and will bring to light the fact that everything is fair in Bollwyood and war. As for Chetan Bhagat, I guess it is time for him to understand when Bollywood is concerned one should never expect fame and respect as a writer, because stories are manufactured in Bollywood and are not created by imagination. I hope that all loyal readers of Bhagat's novel support him and protest against the atrocious attempt of Bollywood of declining him his due respect.