Highway – Highway Robbery of The Chase

(Thanks to SI Blog reader rvasam who first alerted me to the lift)

Let’s get to the big question right away.

Is Bollywood film Highway a lift of the 1994 Hollywood movie The Chase?

The short answer – Yes, to a significant, unignorable, inexcusable, unpardonable degree.

There are far too many similarities between Highway and The Chase to be dismissed as mere coincidence.

Highway Robbery

Imtiaz Ali claims to have “written and directed” the Bollywood film Highway.

I will throw a sop to the Bollywood Cerberus and concede that Highway is directed by Imtiaz Ali.

But “written” by Imtiaz Ali?

Now, that’s a delusion so bizarre it can only be matched by yours truly claiming to be Alexander the Great!

Don’t make me laugh, kiddo.

Highway director Imtiaz Ali is a shameless thief and Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda are his two accomplices in crime.

In retrospect, I should have been more Argus-eyed with Imtiaz Ali.

Remember how the hit song Yeh Ishq Hai in his 2007 film Jab We Met was stolen from Anggun’s Etre Une Femme.

Imtiaz Ali is like a car thief who after purloining a two-decade-old jalopy paints it in a different color, changes the license plates, rolls back the odometer, sprays some car freshener and peddles it as new.

In short, Imtiaz Ali has stolen the plot of The Chase and Indianized it as Highway.

Also, keep in mind that Highway producer Sajid Nadiadwala is a big-time criminal who stole the plot of the French film Trois hommes et un couffin (Hollywood version: Three Men and a Baby) and regurgitated it as Heyy Babyy (Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan).

Highway – My Anguish

Rarely do I like a Bollywood movie.

Most Indian movies are unwatchable trash made by talentless scumbags for the viewing pleasure of degenerate philistines.

So when a SI blog reader mentioned last night that the new Bollywood movie Highway, one that I greatly loved, was lifted from the Hollywood film The Chase I found myself in deep anguish. Almost, in extremis!

Oh, not again, I told myself! :(

I wanted to find out if Highway was one more instance of Bollywood dickheads overcoming their poverty of imagination by stealthily stooping to deep-throat Hollywood.

And I decided the best way to determine if Highway is the nullius filius of The Chase was to see it for myself rather than rely on hearsay.

A short while ago, I completed watching The Chase and here’s my considered verdict.

Too Many Similarities – No Coincidence

Here are a whole bunch of damning similarities between Highway (2014) and the two-decade old Hollywood film The Chase (1994):

1. In both films, the basic backdrop, against which all other events happen, is the kidnapping of a young girl.

2. In both films, the kidnapping happens without intent, meaning that the crime is not planned.

3. In both films, the kidnapping happens as a result of another crime (in Highway while Mahabir is fleeing after attacking a gas-station and in The Chase when Jackson Hammond, a prison escapee, panics after the police question him about the car he’s stolen).

4. In both films, the kidnapping happens at a gas station.

5. In both films, the kidnapper is unaware he is snatching a girl from an extremely wealthy family.

6. In both films, the kidnapping is believed by outsiders to have been done for ransom though money is not the original intent.

7. In both films, the girl expresses feeling sick (car-sickness in The Chase and claustrophobia in Highway) and voices the urge to throw up (vomit).

8. In both films, the girl is shown puking in the early moments after the kidnapping.

9. In both films, the girl’s father is a billionaire.

10. In both films, the extraordinary wealth of the girl’s father is repeatedly highlighted by third parties (“She is Manek Tripathy’s daughter,” exclaim awed outsiders in Highway and Natalie’s status as “Dalton Voss’ daughter” comes up in The Chase in reverent tones at the police station).

11. In both films, the girl initially comes across as a normal teenager but as the movie progresses we sense that she is more than a bit of an oddball with some family issues troubling her.

12. In both films, the kidnapper is shown as a character you can actually like or at least empathize with.

13. In both films, there is a long road journey.

14. In both films, the road trip is as important, as interesting and as dramatic as the kidnapping (thanks to varied topography, folk singers in the desert, snowy mountains etc in Highway and the two hilarious cops in the pursuing car, the TV media circus, the chase and those two crazy whackos in the green monster truck in The Chase).

15. In both films, the girl’s attitude toward her situation and the kidnapper changes dramatically over the long road journey.

16. In both films, the girl develops deep love/affection/fondness for the guy.

17. In both films, the kidnapper offers the girl a chance to leave (in the second half of Highway and toward the end in The Chase).

18. In both films, the girl is unhappy with the kidnapper’s offer asking her to leave.

19. In both films, the girl seems dissatisfied with her wealthy family and indifferent to money.

20. In both films, the girl is shown to have a testy relationship with her mother/step-mother.

21. In both films, the kidnapper develops great affection/love for the girl.

22. In both films, the kidnapper is reckless and determined at the beginning but as time goes by becomes fatalistic and pessimistic about the final outcome.

23. In both films, the girl is shown in later stages to be mentally stronger and more resilient than her kidnapper about escaping from the cops.

24. In both films, there is a bloody shootout in the final moments.

25. In both films, the wealthy girl goes down a road less taken/rarely taken by one so rich.

26. In both films, the girl ultimately abandons her family.

Differences? – Escape Hatch

There are, of course, differences between the two movies.

Why wouldn’t there be differences between Highway and The Chase?

Hey, Bollywood film makers may be thieves but they’re not blockheads!

Differences exist between the two films because the Bollywood chors (thieves) want to leave the escape hatch open if they get sued by Hollywood.

What About The Chase?

The Chase is a hilarious movie, more of a comedy.

The writing is outrageously funny in some scenes and Charlie Sheen does a nice job of a decent but desperate man trapped in a horrible situation.

I found the girl (Kristy Swanson) to be good, particularly her initiation of the car-sex scene. ;)

Both the media and the police come in for rough treatment for the way they handle the kidnapping.

And the disconnect between what the TV anchors/police think and the reality in the car is a hoot.

Since the focus is mostly on the kidnapper Jackson Hammond (Charlie Sheen) in The Chase, the Bollywood knaves shifted the attention to the girl in Highway as an escape parachute from possible lawsuits while keeping a lot of other things constant.

Don’t let the low rating for The Chase deter you from seeing it.

This is one instance where the reviewers got it wrong.

I was initially disappointed with the ending of The Chase.

But upon reflection and considering the comedic thread running through the length of the film I suppose the ending is appropriate.

I have learned a bitter lesson from Highway and The Chase.

The next time a Bollywood movie turns out to be an enjoyable experience, I will not wait for my readers to alert me.

I will first ask in stentorian tones, Where did the Chutiyas Steal this From? ;)

Assuming a lot of readers have seen Highway or plan to see it, you can check out the similarities with The Chase, which is available on Google’s YouTube:

Related Highway Stories:
Highway Review – A Delightful Bollywood Aberration

13 Responses to "Highway – Highway Robbery of The Chase"

  1. rmadasu   February 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Lots of movies in India are copied from Foreign films without giving then credit.

    If not the story then costumes, scenes, music, dialogues, sometimes just the atmosphere.

    Most of them turn out to be trash.

    Some are good, Sholay for example.

    Looks like Highway turned out to be a decent copy.

    What else can we expect.

    At least they showed the roads of India and not some other country.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    As I wrote in the post, the next time an Indian movie turns out to be decent my first question will be – Where did the Chutiyas Steal this From?

  2. rvasam   February 24, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Phwww.. thanks to B’wood plagiarism, I’m still in SI’s circle of trust. 🙂

    BTW, here’s a few links (though not exhaustive or complete) on how many movies have been lifted by these notorious directors / producers:

    http://pranshu.hubpages.com/hub/a-complete-list-of-bollywood-movies-copied-from-hollywood-plain-plagiarism

    http://realityviews.blogspot.com/2012/10/list-of-280-bollywood-hindi-movies.html

    http://archives.deccanchronicle.com/130426/entertainment-bollywood/gallery/bollywood-films-copied-hollywood

    http://www.wichaar.com/news/292/ARTICLE/15625/2009-08-03.html

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Thank You, Sweetie!

    And the effrontery to show Highway at film festivals as if it were an original work of art!

    I suppose that’s what they call chutzpah!

  3. saravanank   February 25, 2014 at 8:35 am

    For rvasam’s sake I was hoping that this Bollywood Chutiya did not disappoint at least this one time. Highway movie director, Imtiaz Ali, did not disappoint as usual and kept rvasam in the game 🙂

    Mallus are the most notorious among Indians in copying the foreign movies including the most recent movie Drishyam.

    Priyadarshan leads the list among Mallu Chutiyas. He started copying movies way back in 1985 with Mohanlal getting to act in most of these movies and making a career out of the copied movies. (Priyadarshan was Mohanlal’s friend and senior in college in Thiruvananthapuram.)

    Even more, this shameless Priyadarshan made tons of money by selling the remake rights of these copied movies.

    http://sps4u.blogspot.com/2009/08/priyadarshan-or-art-of-copying-movies.html

    http://www.searchindia.com/2014/01/31/telugu-murderer-sujatha-may-plead-insanity/#comment-30560

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. As I’ve said ad nauseum, ad infinitum, stealing is in the Indian DNA.

    Our movie directors steal with impunity and Indian viewers boast brazenly about stealing. Must be something in the air there.

    Just the other day, some chutiya movie buff Foto-Rajesh (a frequent visitor to this site from India) left a comment, here on the SI blog, boasting about watching all those foreign movies illegally. And in the same breath the idiot had the chutzpah to accuse Bollywood and Malayalam film-makers of stealing. The cheek, the nerve of our people. I got so incensed that I deleted Foto-Rajesh’s comments.

    You know what they say about People who live in glass houses ……..

    2. I’m glad rvasam alerted me to the lift.

    At first glance, Highway and The Chase look different because of the Indianization treatment to Highway. But when you step back a moment and think about it, 26 similarities and almost all of them in the same sequence.

    Don’t tell me it’s all a coincidence. Even the kidnapping location in both movies was the same in both movies – Gas station. Couldn’t Imtiaz Ali think of another kidnapping location in that vast country?

    Plus, director Imtiaz Ali and producer Sajid Nadiadwala have a history of bad behavior.

    I’m surprised the Indian media is letting the duo off so easily.

    • saravanank   February 26, 2014 at 8:27 am

      “Don’t tell me it’s all a coincidence”

      Well Imtiaz Ali, the director, might call it all as “inspiration” 🙂

      off-topic

      I saw the movie The Hidden Face, a Colombian thriller in Netflix and I would definitely recommend. The trailer of the movie will spoil the surprise factor.

      But again, there is no “surprise” that a Bollywood movie called Murder 3 has the same story.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      I’ll see Hidden Face in a few hours since it’s also on Netflix Instant Play.

      We have a bunch of Spanish films under the Foreign Films category – http://www.searchindia.com/category/foreign-movies/

  4. fugitive143   February 26, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Hello hello long time…

    I took ur word saw highway loved it – Alia and randeep have acted really well and the cinematography…omg there are so many beautiful places in India that have to be visited!!

    Sadly I returned and noticed this post now…thank u for ur kind intentions :-p

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Sorry, sweetie!

    I too was disappointed over the betrayal!

    2. You write: omg there are so many beautiful places in India that have to be visited!!

    Yes, India is a beautiful country inhabited by ugly people (in the figurative sense).

  5. Arun s   February 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Hi SI,

    offtopic

    Happy to note that you enjoyed Highway. Sadly I endured only misery last week with Bramman and Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal. The only good part is that both have not done well at Box office.

    Hope you would watch Goli Soda and give your opinion.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Sweetie, I don’t see Goli Soda playing on the East Coast.

    Plus with the frequent snow (some more today), I am not up to driving long distances. I’ll watch it once it hits DVD.

  6. rvasam   February 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    BTW, if you want to vent out your anger, you may do so at Mr. Plagiarizer’s facebook page @https://www.facebook.com/pages/Imtiaz-Ali/42446875181

    It is currently accepting public comments.

    But not sure how much impact it can do. 🙂 🙁

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No, I don’t plan on leaving any comment.

    I have no illusions that reviews or reports of theft make any difference to most Indian moviegoers.

    As I’ve said often, Indian movie-makers and Indian moviegoers are cut from the same chutiya cloth.

    In any case, Highway is hardly doing great business.

  7. rvasam   March 7, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    SI, waiting to hear your feedback on the latest movie “Queen” starring Kangana Ranaut.

    From the looks of it, it seems quite original and has great reviews from all critics.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Sweetie, I’ve been busy with the Great Indian (Telugu) Strangulator!

    2. The nearest theatre screening Queen is over 400km (round-trip).

    I wouldn’t drive that far in this weather even for Sunny Leone! 😉

    BTW, have you seen Queen and, if Yes, do you want to review it for SI (we’ll pay you for the review)?

    • rvasam   March 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Sorry, SI, same problems here.

      The theater screening it is 2 hrs one way. Moreover, the kick we get out of your review is much more. 🙂

      Last two days, have been just anxiously watching the Malaysian airlines news….sad 🙁

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Looks like they found the door!
      http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_MALAYSIA_PLANE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-03-09-15-16-33

      I’d think in this day and age it shouldn’t take 2 days to locate the plane.

      5 Indians among victims.

      http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/missing-malaysia-airlines-plane-anxious-kin-of-indians-on-board-clutching-on-to-hope_916849.html

      • Naveen   March 9, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        The Malaysian Airlines incident is quite strange.

        For a plane of this size to vanish all of a sudden in this age is quite bizarre!

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        Aha, you are back from Amma Nadu! 😉

        Regarding the MAS plane, as I was telling someone a few hours back…Maybe it’s really not that surprising we haven’t found the plane because 70% of the planet is still water.

    • shadowfax_arbit   March 18, 2014 at 1:02 am

      Good for you that Queen was nowhere close to you.

      I found it drop-dead boring.

      It’s beyond my understanding why should it get such raving reviews.

      Complete 2 and 1/2 hours of misery for me, plain misery!

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Given so much noise about the movie, I was tempted too see what the hullabaloo was all about.

      But we’re having bad weather (more snow) again and I didn’t feel like driving 272-KM (round-trip).

      I couldn’t contain my curiosity…So I read the story on Wiki.

      Did not find the story remarkable.

      Perhaps, Kangana did an outstanding job!

  8. Naveen   March 9, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Off topic: SI – Did you ever make time to watch “Burn After Reading”?

    You have hardly seen anything I recommended. My taste isn’t that pathetic. 🙂

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    I will get to it. Hopefully soon.

    Now that I’ve started watching TV shows too….Picking what to watch is itself an ordeal.

    Based on the recommendation of a few readers, I watched True Detective (Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson…final episode of Season 1) on HBO a short while ago.

    It was alright but nothing extraordinary.

    I like Bridge (Swedish/Danish) and Salamander (Flemish) better.

    Perhaps the earlier episodes of True Detective were better.

    I just discovered today that if you have HBO as part of your cable package you can see HBO on your PC too. Including the older episodes…kinda like BBC’s iPlayer.

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