U Me Aur Hum Review – Crude Lift of The Notebook

(U Me Aur Hum Fares Badly at U.S. Box Office)

When the definitive history of Bollywood is written, Ajay Devgan will easily be counted among the biggest thieves and liars the Mumbai film industry has produced.

Why do we say this?

Because we almost fell off our seats when we saw Ajay Devgan claiming credit for a story that is not clearly his as the credits flashed on the screen before U Me Aur Hum started at Regal Cinemas in Burlington (New Jersey).

This fella, Ajay Devgan, sure has some cojones – first he brazenly steals, then he shamelessly claims what he stole is his!

U Me Aur Hum

Say what you will but we don’t have a shred of doubt that U Me Aur Hum is a crude lift of that fine Hollywood romance The Notebook based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. We recently borrowed The Notebook (2004) from Netflix, watched it and loved it.

Set in the American south, The Notebook is a gorgeous romantic tale featuring Canadian actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, and two veterans James Garner and Gena Rowlands. All of them are strong performers, particularly Ryan Gosling, James Garner and Gena Rowlands.

Notebook director Nick Cassavetes (Gena Rowlands’ son in real life) does a fine job in building the relationship between Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) layer upon layer – Allie’s visit with her parents to the small town of Seabrook where Noah works in the lumbermill earning 40 cents an hour, their first meeting at the local carnival, Noah’s foolhardy antics on the ferris wheel, their passionate love affair, their parting, Allie’s subsequent engagement to the wealthy Lon Hammond and Allie’s ultimate reunion with Noah are all handled with great panache and elan.

A pale imitation of the fine Hollywood romantic tale, U Me Aur Hum never once scales the entertaining heights of The Notebook.

Like The Notebook, U Me Aur Hum is the tale of a young man Ajay Mehra (Ajay Devgan) whose beloved wife slips into Alzheimers (or senile dementia as it’s referred to in the Hollywood version). While it happens after long years of happy married life in The Notebook, the wife Piya (Kajol) gets Alzheimers at just 28 in U Me Aur Hum.

Besides taking up the director’s baton (his first) in U Me Aur Hum, Ajay Devgan is also the producer of this eminently forgettable movie.

There are way too many discordant notes in U Me Aur Hum – irrelevant side stories of Ajay’s friends Vicky and Natasha, the constant bickering of Nikhil and Reena, sub-mediocre acting by Kajol, so-so acting by her real-life husband Ajay Devgan, lack of chemistry between Kajol-Ajay Devgan (a big zero compared to the on-screen chemistry of Ryan Gosling-Rachel McAdams in Notebook), irrelevant song intrusions and overall poor execution.

U Me Aur Hum should have also been edited better, lopping off at least 30 minutes of the movie. That would have spared us some of the agony.

DDLJ girl Kajol is considered one of the finest actresses in Bollywood. Alas, you rarely see shades of her much ballyhooed acting prowess in U Me Aur Hum.

Kajol cannot hold a candle to Rachel McAdam or to the extraordinary Gena Rowlands and lacks the depth of their acting talent.

While Kajol is tolerable as the younger waitress on the cruise liner where she first meets Ajay Devgan in the movie, she is pathetically unequal to the task of playing an Alzheimers patient. Gena Rowlands did it with great verve in The Notebook. Kajol exemplifies – and repeatedly shows – inexperience in handling that onerous responsibility.

Do you think it’s too late to send Kajol to acting school?

While U Me Aur Hum is overall a sub-mediocre movie, several parts of the second half are plain boring. Like for instance, Ajay Devgan rambling on and on about an individual’s self-defense mechanism.

While the music is not hopeless in U Me Aur Hum, it’s nothing remarkable either. Mostly the garden variety stuff that doesn’t leave much of an impression.

You’ll know what a mediocre movie U Me Aur Hum is only after you watch The Notebook.

There are so many memorable moments in The Notebook – like when Allie and Noah go to the abandoned home that Noah wants to buy and restore some day, their first parting, when they go in the boat in the rain during her return to Seabrook and so on.

There are just no great, memorable  moments in U Me Aur Hum.

The Notebook is a cause for celebration while U Me Aur Hum is a cause for lamentation at the long miles that Bollywood  – and Ajay Devgan in particular – still has to cover.

16 Responses to "U Me Aur Hum Review – Crude Lift of The Notebook"

  1. ajayrocks   April 12, 2008 at 4:02 am

    blah! blah! blah! blah!You just cant stop praising the hollywood movies,they were like this.O my good so beautifull.
    i mean everyone not only in india but also in usa and uk are not saying the movie is bad at all if some are not prasing it.Atleast they are liking Ajay’s acting and direction and kajol’s acting.But you just don’t like anything.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Hall #13 at Regal Cinemas in Burlington (New Jersey) for the 9:55PM Friday show of U Me Aur Hum was not full but had many, many more people than the 6:20PM show of Krazzy 4 at the same theater on the same day. People did not seem to be too enthused about U Me Aur Hum. There was a fair bit of chitchat in the hall, one sign that the audience was not completely engaged with the movie.

    2. Why do you ignore the fact that U Me Aur Hum is a crude lift of The Notebook

  2. ajayrocks   April 12, 2008 at 4:53 am

    look,it might be lifted but u also can’t ignore the fact that it has been directed by debutdent director ajay and how beautifully he has acted and directed it siumultaneously.every movie has flaws but u just painted a bad image of the movie.just forget the notebook and see u me aur hum as an independent movie than tell how was it

  3. ajayrocks   April 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Can you please tell me the boxoffice report of u me aur hum in usa

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The full U.S. boxoffice report for the weekend usually comes out on Monday evening. We’ll do a post on the boxoffice report Monday.

    P.S: Please click here for U.S. Box Office Report of U Me Aur Hum.

  4. araj   April 13, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Another shameful and impudent robbery by Bollywood. The humongous plagiarism taking place in Bollywood at present assumed a very severely contagious form of the most unscrupulous and unchecked art piracy and I feel it is high time the French/Korean/Chinese/Hollywood writer/director/producer victims are notified of the millions that are being milked out of the ‘free remakes’ of their originals at a ‘certain part of the world’ behind their backs. A special international court at UN to prosecute these thankless art burglars wouldn’t be out of place. I fail to understand for the life of me, whether this type of rampant forgery is just a preliminary part of a bigger artistic evolution taking place in Indian movie industry or a hideous mutant natural sequence of movie-making that has stubbornly entrenched itself in odious cultural hypocrisy, unrepentant indulgence in repulsive lyricism and blatant intellectual inertia for time immemorial. If we ever can see the light at the end of this long dark rancid tunnel called ‘Indian Cinema’, I certainly consider it a miracle.

  5. shambobanerjee   April 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    The worst review, rather the most dishonest review….Dude u shd go n see da movie urself n then comment on Kajol’s performance n ajay’s direction…..My advyc 2 all da readers wud b 2 ignore dis piece of shit n go watch da movie urself…..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Hanuman, did someone set fire to your tail? Why are you frothing at the mouth?

    You blithering idiot, can’t you read. We clearly mentioned where we watched the movie and the show too (in a response to ajayrocks above). Read the review and other comments+our responses again. And again. And again. After 100 times, maybe – a big maybe in your case – you’ll understand where and when we watched U Me Aur Hum.

    You call us dishonest, scumbag! You want to see dishonest, take a look in the mirror.

    Stick to Hindi, Bengali or Bhojpuri blogs in future, you dolt, because even basic English is beyond your ken.

  6. ASAKSENA   April 14, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    The person who has written the above review either is not intellectually fit enough to understand movies or suffers from ‘attention seeking disorder’…Whosoever reads the review should take into note the above facts..dude go and watch Notebook again..try to understand it and then compare the two movies..saying U Me aur Hum is a copy of Hollywood flick Notebook is like comparing apples to pears and saying that the both are fruits and hence are same…[Abuse and trash talk]

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Are you sure there’s something above your neck?

    U Me Aur Hum Fares Badly at U.S. Box Office

  7. Maya   April 17, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Blah Blah Blah..ya sure!!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:


  8. meetesh   April 18, 2008 at 8:02 am

    What a worst review given by you.

    First tell me if instead of Ajay Devgan what will you say if there is ” Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, or any other you like ” ?

    This movie is great enough as a directional debue and regarding the question about the acting Ajay is the legend of Acting & Kajol is the Queen of Acting.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write above – Ajay is the legend of Acting & Kajol is the Queen of Acting

    And You are King of Idiots because you are suggesting that if the actors were Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, our review would have been different.

    Were you born stupid? You schmuck, read our reviews of Jodhaa Akbar (Hrithik Roshan), Om Shanti Om (Shahrukh Khan), Ram Gopal Varma Kii Aag (Amitabh Bachchan), Race (Saif Ali Khan) etc.

    Read the above reviews & then tell us if you still think we’re biased.

    SearchIndia.com is the most objective source of Bollywood, Kollywood & Hollywood movie reviews.

  9. szm   April 20, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Although I do not always agree with SearchIndia’s reviews i have to agree with them on this.

    Sadly U Me, Aur Hum is a sad and pitiful ‘remake’ of a beautiful classic.

    The entire movie completely lacks in substance, form and content.

    The attention paid to the disease itself and how it affects the lives of its sufferers and their loved ones clearly leaves one with the impression that the movie was not well researched and scripted.

    The dialog does not lend itself to portraying the suffering, anguish, etc felt by the characters.

    As with all bollywood movies of late more attention is paid to the song and dance routines rather than the actual story itself..and this is where bollywood clearly fails each time. i am an avid indian movie fan but lately no bollywood movie has grasped my attention by doing justice to any movie…the acting is atrocious and the movie itself is completely devoid of that x factor which makes a movie great. the box office may be cashing in on some of the ‘so called blockbusters’ but it in no way reflects the acting talent of the actors and the ability of bollywood to produce great movies.

    I am sure there are those who share my sentiments and long for the great bollywood movies of yesteryear such as mughal-e-azaaam, dosti, boot polish, sangam, noorie – these were and still is great movies by any industry standards simply because they focused on quality and not quantity.

  10. ricky_sherazi   April 21, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I watch last night this bollywood movie. And I realy love the story,performances by couple. I agree with SearchIndia.com reviews as they are indicating about boxoffice report or business of the film. By business reports it does not mean that film is not good. Film is superb and I notice some movies in the past also run like that. I can give two names of the movies those badly flop on the boxoffice in early weeks but now these movies are alltime blockbusters. MOTHER INDIA and MERA NAAM JOKER. These two movies were totaly flop at early release but laterly superb hits.
    We cant ignore the fact. Anyhow, I notice from above comments that some guys dislike your views because they like the actor of the film. Yea he is black and not as smart as some others but it’s also reality that he prove himself in the industry since 20 years. As I last time watch his movie with Aishwarya Rai in which he plays the role of her husband with Salman Khan. And he give 100% Performance. He is very talented actor.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We were always under the impression that Raj Kapoor lost his shirt with Mera Naam Joker (lovely songs). And you say the opposite. Interesting.

    You write above in your comment about Ajay Devgan Yea he is black and not as smart as some others.

    Do you think if Ajay Devgan starts applying Fair & Lovely Cream on his skin, he’ll become fair and lovely. 🙂

  11. shades of grey   May 5, 2008 at 6:34 am

    I just watched this film and I have to say I was completely bored by the first half of it. I can’t make comparisons with ‘The Notebook’ as I haven’t had the time to see it yet. I wouldn’t be surprised however, if U Me Aur Hum was a blatant copy of it. The first half of the film was so clichéd and uninteresting for me. There were very few scenes in the second half of the film of which I found mildly appealing. But the whole film just dragged! I found myself daydreaming throughout a lot of it. I guess it’s just harder for Hindi films to capture my attention. I don’t even want to talk about Tamil films… (they’re a whole different story)…

  12. oasis2002   May 6, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    I read the review and there are parts I agree with and parts that I dont quite agree with. I find it tad childish on part of the person who wrote the review to directly compare the 2 movies across 2 different filmmaking styles however(holly/bolly). All the kajol bashing is also a little lame given that she has performed better in the past. Actually, I find all the being in awe of hollywood actors or actors in general quite silly. Halle Berry did get an oscar and she did act in Catwoman. Doesnt prove squat. I think its more to do with the director than anything else. There are exceptions as Meryl Streep, Smita Patil, Shabana Aazmi, Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Dont love Kajol, especially not in all the U Me garbage but she has done 100 times better in the past. Anyway I think I am digressing

    Personally, I found U me.. to be much more similar to “Away from her” than the notebook, especially all the part about being sent to a care facility. And also, The notebook was much more poorly recieved than away from her. The notebook was a somewhat good attempt at commercializing Alzheimer’s. Much better movies on the same topic are “Iris” and “Away from her”. Perhaps I am biased towards away from her because I am here in Canada.

    Anyhow, I dont think its a big deal that the movie was “adapted” from whatever dementia related movie one can think of. After all, thats a concept and perhaps the Indian audience in India does deserve to see a movie on this topic (oh yes there ARE people who dont know english – good god!!!). It doesnt still excuse devgan from making the peice of crap that U me aur hum is at the end of the day. Everything from makeup (could you make her look any more ugly?) to the dialogues to camera work etc was third rate. I was just expecting a technically well made and well acted movie. Basically the exact same movie as U me hum is at the moment, but different actors (maybe Shiny and Chitrangdha), no annoying sidekicks, 30 mins less(completely agree with that), only mild songs such as the title song (which does have very good gulzar-esque lyrics if one gets to paying attention to them) and maybe even more gloss (and i mean gloss as in a good sharmishtha roy kind of art direction and not over the top farah khan way). Maybe get Gulzar or Shekhar Kapur to direct it? Maybe even extract Mahesh Bhatt’s soul from the days of Arth? The results would have been quite different.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We see nothing wrong with comparison across genres or across geographically different film models (Bollywood & Hollywood), Given the rampant plagiarism in Bollywood from Hollywood movies, comparisons are actually a must.

    You write: I think its more to do with the director than anything else.

    We think it has to do with a good director AND a good story. One without the other serves no purpose. Most of our Bollywood movies lack both.

  13. oasis2002   May 8, 2008 at 1:16 am

    We see nothing wrong with comparison across genres or across geographically different film models (Bollywood & Hollywood), Given the rampant plagiarism in Bollywood from Hollywood movies, comparisons are actually a must.
    I didn’t quite imply that there shouldnt be any comparison, but more so along the lines of compare when the comparison serves a purpose. We all know that it is an adaptation/plagiarism etc So a frame by frame comparison doesnt serve much purpose.

    You write: I think its more to do with the director than anything else.

    We think it has to do with a good director AND a good story. One without the other serves no purpose. Most of our Bollywood movies lack both.


    Well yes of course, good director, good story, good actors, good editing .. the whole 9 yards. By emphasizing the director i was just trying to point out what I thought was relatively more important. Its a subjective discussion though.


    On another note, I think its a given that you will have the last the word, given that you control this web board. That is fine. In a way you are entitled to because you are making the effort of maintaining it.

    But perhaps you are somewhat missing the point of having a healthy discussion. You make some excellent points and I have been through many other posts to see many instances of well thought out logical arguments. But quite sadly, very often they are wrapped in an unhealthy layer of vitriol and negativism. Do you really have to respond to each and every even minute criticism of your statements? Where does this belief of infallibility coming from?

    On the same note, this is more of a communication between me and you (I really do think there is only one person editing this – I could be wrong). So it might be best to not publish this entire comment at all. No attempts at trying to have the last word here. Just a healthy positive discussion, if one can be had.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write above: Where does this belief of infallibility coming (sic) from?

    From the certainty that we are the incarnation of Vishnu 🙂

  14. Pyaaj.com   May 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Alright then.

    Let me stand up for and speak a few words about my favorite website for movie reviews, SearchIndia.com

    This website is seriously the best that is out there when it comes to movie reviews, and why is that? Let me explain:

    – Identification of lifts from Hollywood.
    – To-the-point reviews without added Bullshit.
    – Recommended films are really worth watching.
    – Perfect English unlike most reviewing websites.

    I used to always watch movies even if their reviews were bad in here. But I have always found that SearchIndia.com is correct for the most part when a movie is bad, everyone has their own tastes, but if you do take the film’s overall impact on the viewer, you do realize how right SearchIndia.com is.

    Regardless, whichever movie they recommend you watch (Such as Johnny Gaddaar) is usually a very good movie definitely worth watching.

    What I believe of people who think SearchIndia.com does not give them the right reviews is that, they are just your average Indian crowd who like watching Govinda No. 1 movies, all they need is a few songs thrown here and there, a brain-easy plot, a good star cast (regardless of the actual acting) and some action. That makes what you can call a “Masala” movie for the Indian audiences, which they love.

    So if you’re one from such a community, I suggest you stop coming to SearchIndia.com altogether, or it might hurt your feelings.

    On a side note, whoever writes these reviews, is there any way you can contact me? I’d like to thank you personally for all the times you’ve saved me money from going to watch a crap movie.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Thank you for your kind words. We’ll try to bring you reviews of movies from noted Asian (non-Indian) directors like Kar Wai Wong, Ang Lee etc.

  15. tsk_tsk   July 7, 2008 at 1:50 am

    Don’t be misled by this review. I watched this film on DVD yesterday and I really loved it.

    for Araj & Searchindia:
    The Notebook itself is a copy – of the book. The point being – all “plagiarism” is not evil. It occasionally adds to extend the beauty of the original to a wider audience.

    As an aside, your comments about Hollywood filmmakers being “victims” really cracked me up – I needed a laugh like that – thanks! Poor millionaire bastards – they toil blood, sweat and tears to grab hold of a book and make it into an “original” movie, and some guy copies their “original” script – criminal!

    Though I cannot comment in as fancy a language, I must say that Indian Cinema is in the pink of its health. Indian Cinema has never been better or bigger – for every Om Shanti Om we’ve had a Bheja Fry – both doing as well as they ought to have.

    If at all, its Hollywood that’s lacking “originality” – Pirates, Lords, Narnias, Spidermans, Iron Mans, Stephen Kings – do you have anything that’s not a book? Yes sir we do – Die Hard 4, Re-Rambo, Re-Rocky, Re-Indiana Jones, Re…

    Originality is rare – everywhere –India or not.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Is it too much to ask Indian filmmakers that they declare the source of their inspiration?

  16. araj   August 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    It’s my very delayed response(as usual)to tsk_tsk’s comments. I have seen his comments quite accidentally only when i tried to show this review to someone from my office, who is planning to watch UMH on a VCD and I don’t think anyone will read it(except the reviewer, I am sure). But what the heck, it’s like i am talking more to myself to clear up my thoughts than anyone else. Here it goes.


    1) Your statements are contradictory. On one hand, you say Hollywood lacks originality ‘coz it’s movies are ‘copies of books’ and on the other you condone Indian plagiarism since it adds to the ‘beauty of the originals’ which, according to you, are highly unoriginal in the first place since they are mere copies of ‘original’ books. Therefore, do you mean to say ‘copy of a copy’ is better than ‘just a copy’??

    2) My dear, a film that is based on a book is called an ‘adaptation’ for christ’s sakes, not a ‘copy’( if you do not know what is an adaptation and the kinds of adaptations, read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_adaptation. You will get an idea.). An adaptation is an age-old tradition of art of movie-making as it helps a film-maker to explore the facets of life that otherwise lie outside his experiential jurisdiction hence inaccessible. Adaptation is a technique that enables the filmmaker to draw from the collective perspicacity of the authors whose works he can convert into screenplays. Because, from a deepest creative viewpoint, making movies is an impossibly unsustainable task i.e. one cannot keep on making great movies drawing from one’s own experiential pool alone however abundantly imaginative one’s mind is. Literature, therefore, frees the mind of a film-maker from the experiential restrictions the life imposes on every human by default by offering him a clear vision of nuts-and-bolts of infinite variants of a singular life force culled from the innumerable experiences/inventiveness of the innumerable authors. Vast literature, both in terms of quantity and quality is only the means by which we can unfurl the Life on the silver screen in it’s myriads. What’s the point?? The point is, the tradition of writing adapted screenplays to make powerful movies is not a luxury but a sheer necessity born out of the need to free the art of film-making from the shackles of experiential restrictions the Life essentially imposes on the filmmaker(on any human being for that matter) . Hence, I should say, only a wide-eyed greenhorn moviegoer with an half-baked know-how of art of film-making would dare claim full-fledged legal adaptations to be ‘just copies’. Forgive me for my harsh observations, but I cannot help it as your comments can potentially mislead someone who is very eager to believe that the ’scam’(scum) called ‘Indian cinema’ is actually on par with Hollywood.

    3) Apart from the above, the plagiarist never acknowledges the original; he neither pays for the original source he copies nor he acknowledges in public that he copied or inspired by a particular work. He boldly or tacitly claims the work as his own. That’s unethical besides being illegal. Did you see Ajay Devgan mention ‘The Notebook’ in his public Q&As or pre-release/post-release promos let alone the credits?? No, he wouldn’t. Never. Doing such a thing is actually against the ‘conscience’ and ‘spirit’ of a plagiarist. However, if you please read the reviews of the film The Notebook or watch its credits, you will notice that they clearly mention it as the adaptation of the Nicholas Spark’s novel with the same name (in fact, Nicholas Spark is famous for writing many musty romantic tales some of which were made into movies. Remember ‘A Walk to Remember’ or ‘Message in a bottle’). They actually say that it’s based on so-and-so novel by so-and-so author. Why?? Have they gone out of their minds??. They do so because they pay for it. They pay a million bucks to the original author as a token of acknowledgement of his work. Hence, before being anything else the plagiaristic movie-making is, first and the foremost, in a strict legal sense, an illegal copy of the original by committing which you a) trespass the rights of the original novelist to earn the royalty for his original work b) trespass the commercial privileges of the original film-maker who actually earned the rights for adapting the novel by paying a fat sum to the original author c) deprive original author/original filmmaker of his artistic license to celebrate the applause of the audience, which he is ethically entitled to. If anything creative, be it scientific or artistic, can be copied just like that on a mealy-mouthed plea that ‘duplication’ is necessary to reach a wider audience/beneficiaries, we may as well remove the words ‘patent’ and the ‘copyright’ from our legal dictionaries. If you are right, we can invent a vaccine for AIDS without ever being grateful to Louis Pasteur or make a Satellite phone without ever acknowledging the work of Graham Bell (in fact, we, the Indians, wouldn’t even make a satellite phone. We would make something that looks like a telephone without a diaphragm or a transmitter and claims it to be a superior variation of the original telephone. We say, of course, who is Graham Bell, anyway.). You said all plagiarism is not evil. But the very word plagiarism denotes an ‘evil copy’. Therefore, first, please learn the difference between the words ‘Adaptation’ and a ‘Copy’, ‘Remake’ and ‘Plagiarism’. In a very simplistic licit terms, the former are legal and the latter are illegal(In a creative sense, the latter are very often vastly inferior to the original. At least Indian versions). Why can’t Devgan say his idea for UMH germinated from ‘The Note Book’. Why doesn’t he at least acknowledge the work of Nicholas Sparks ( Do you think the thieves actually knew the movies they stole were adaptations?? Do you mean to say they actually read the original source??). If these guys are really brimming with passion for cinema, why couldn’t they grab these books in the first place before Hollywood did it and make movies out of them themselves?? If you are really straight and honest, why do you have to wait for someone from Hollywood to pay millions for the novelists and work their asses off to write an adapted screenplay so that you can lift the concept straight from it? Why don’t you dig up the literature yourself, pay for it and make a movie out of it? Even if your insincere plagiaristic work is forgiven, what’s stopping you from publicly applauding the work of the original author at least for giving you that killer idea that earned you millions??? (Most of the original Hollywood/chinese/Korean works, the lazy indian film-makers steal, are inferior products themselves). Apart from all this, do you mean to say Indian film-makers exclusively plagiarize only those Hollywood movies which are based on books and do not actually copy any ‘original screenplays’?(’Changing Lanes’ into ‘Taxi 9211′ and ‘Collateral’ into ‘The Killer’ etc., etc.,. This list goes on endlessly. I believe Mumbai is probably the piracy capital of the world). The Chinese, Korean film-makers do not adapt novels as frequently as Hollywood does as they shoot C-grade action flicks most of the time. Then why do we steal these movies as regularly as we steal Hollywood, though the source of these movies is not often a book??

    4) You said a copy occasionally adds to the beauty of the original. Firstly, in the context of quality of Indian movies, please replace the word ‘occasionally’ with ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ as most of the Indian plagiaristic works wrench the theme of the original out of its natural narrative and distort it in the name of nativity. However, at the end, most of these ‘free remakes’ actually either draw their situations or dilemmas of its characters out of elements of American culture or varnish the hyper-cliched Indian narrative with the stolen theme. In case of the former, the quality of the copy is naturally becomes inferior to that of the original, whose basic theme much more readily blends into its plot since they were both derived from the same cultural resource. In case of the latter, however, the stink of the underlying stereotypical narrative and characters usually overwhelms the deodorizing scent of the ‘stolen theme’, unless, of course, you are suffering from acute artistic anosmia (the inability to smell.

    Secondly, just tell me who is going to talk about the ‘original’ let alone it’s ‘beauty’. If you are actually conceding that the source of a copy is a ‘beautiful original’, shouldn’t it’s existence be acknowledged first before making a copy?? Shouldn’t the ‘cool guys’,who enjoyed the ‘cool movie’ UMH, have to applaud the original ‘cool’ movie ‘The Note Book’ that made the secondary ‘cool’ movie UMH possible or remember Nicholas Sparks who wrote such a ‘cool’ novel which is actually the source of both the ‘cool’ movies??(Even the fad of using the word ‘cool’ often is aping an Yankee expression).

    5) As for your having a laugh about my remarks about victimization of Hollywood etc., I would say everything you said minus your misplaced sarcasm holds true. Yes. They pay a fat purse to get the copyrights and they do toil hard to write an ‘adapted screenplay’ and we copy their ‘original adaptation’. Of course, it’s criminal. Since, it takes considerable visual imagination and story-telling talent to condense a 600 page novel to a crisp 120 page adapted screenplay or to expand a simple single-line description of a scenario or a character of a paperback into a long set of detailed meaningful visuals, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences actually presents an Oscar for the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ apart from awarding the ‘Best Original Screenplay’. In fact, the films that win Best Picture Oscars are often made of the adapted screenplays. Last year’s Best Picture ‘The Departed’ and this year’s ‘No Country for oldmen’ have won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay as well. Scorcese’s Oscar-winning remake ‘The Departed’ boldly declares it’s screenplay is based on that of ‘Infernal Affairs’(The ‘Pather Panchali’ of the great Satyajit Ray is actually an adaptation of Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay’s novel of the same name). Like-wise, innumerable Hollywood flicks over the decades have been adaptations of novels, real-life stories, comic books or short stories. Adapting literature isn’t any warped new phenomenon that gives you a pointer to ‘lack of originality’ in Hollywood as you amateurishly claim. In fact, it is one of the primary reasons why Hollywood could be able to come up with such a vast number of ‘original’ story lines which are generously copied and deformed by the freebooters called Indian filmmakers and why Hollywood is such a Juggernaut in the realm of motion pictures.

    6) You spoke of Hollywood producers to be millionaire bastards. If someone who pays millions for something he takes is a bastard, then what should we call someone who makes millions out of something he stole and produce such perfectly bastardized movies?? Mean-SOBs, pimps??. Your tirade against Hollywood producers there seems to be a case of a typical jingoist vehemence, born of an acute sense of inferiority, of a dabbler who has an inkling that the kind of cinema he gets a kick out of is indeed a shallow ill-gotten lovey-dovey fare.

    7) Is the Indian cinema in the pink of its health or it is betraying an ugly yellow of a deeper cultural malady? The problem with the Indian Cinema is more about the kind of films it makes than the kind of movies it cannot make. It is more about the alarming depths the sensitivity of it’s audience has fallen off the minimum acceptable perceptual threshold of a cross-section of generic movie-buffs of any other culture. If Om Shathi Om is an rigorously recycled decoction of super-absurdity that defies the universal notions of ‘entertainment and art’, which only Indians can find ‘entertaining’ and are capable of making, ‘Bheja Fry’ is an insipid cinematized stage-play that can only look good in contrast with an atrocity called OSO and hardly the basis on which you can claim parity with Hollywood, which not just refined but actually invented new genres of filmmaking. OSO – Bheja Fry wouldn’t denote the range of versatility or two ‘divergent forms of ingenuity’ of Indian Cinema as you tacitly imply, rather they only represent a ‘chronic disease’ and it’s ‘inevitable side-effect’ respectively. There is a thick line between ‘originality’ and ‘quackery’, ‘inventiveness’ and ‘contrivance’, ‘discrepancy’ and ‘diversity’. The fact that Bheja Fry is not based on a book wouldn’t make it great, on the contrary, lack of ample quality contemporary literature is a major reason why Indian Cinema still resorts to either recycling ‘conventional junk’ like OSO or outright stealing from foreign cinema in order to cash in on the new generation of ‘half-exposed/unexposed’ moviegoers who demand ‘new thrills’. Hence, the metamorphosis of Indian cinema, which seems to be ‘pink of its health’, is more on the lines of ‘commercial invention’ than ‘creative evolution’. Artistic caliber is not only measured in terms of the heights it can achieve but also in terms of the lows it cannot succumb to. From that perspective, the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of American Cinema(or any other foreign cinema) simply operate at a higher level than the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of its Indian counterpart as it is intrinsically immune to the anomalies, which you mistake to be novelties, that plague Indian Cinema. (Why the hell OSO, which ought not have been made in the first place, should do as well as it ought to have?? Skewed, isn’t it?? Only a psychopath would make a movie like OSO for American audience or even ‘Bheja Fry’ for that matter).

    The films you mentioned, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings (visually, probably the best trilogy in the entire film history of the world) etc.,etc., are comic book adaptations, a form of adaptation the Hollywood has virtual monopoly over. Though India doesn’t have a comic book culture, the comic book adaptations of Hollywood have actually resulted in their dowdy Indian versions of superheroes like Mukesh Khanna’s Shaktiman, whose premise is generously and unabashedly copied from that of American Superman and that superman+batman+spiderman hodgepodge of Krrish. Shaktiman was a hugely popular television series and I don’t remember Khanna ever acknowledging publicly about where exactly he got his idea of Shaktiman from. India do not/cannot produce comic book adaptations not because it has the will to produce only magnum opus of other genres but because the comic book films require huge budgets, great visual imagination and very healthy screenwriting traditions none of which Indian filmmakers have besides the total absence of quality comic book literature. Nevertheless, I reiterate that India doesn’t have substantial contemporary literature to have a tradition of adapted screenplays and what it produces mostly is crude rehashes of back-dated/brand-new foreign cinema and it’s weird to hail it as ‘original’ than the very industry whose ‘narrative structures’ and ‘movies’ it unflinchingly steals from as a means of its survival. (I cannot imagine what would have been your reaction had Mumbai produced Lord of the Rings and Spielberg made an American version of the crappy DDLJ). Though the Hollywood is rife, of late, with comic book adaptations, especially after the runaway success of Lord of the rings, I don’t understand, why should it necessarily mean Hollywood lacks originality when its production of films in other genres easily outnumber, both quantity-wise and quality-wise, the production of films of similar genres of Indian movie industry, most of which are, in reality, ‘very remakes’ of American films?? Moreover, of the million movies the Hollywood makes every year only a fraction comprising of big-budget action adventures, sci-fi/comic book adaptations or films of branded directors arrive in India to tap the potential commercial market of that common universal movie ‘mob’, which barely reflect the vibrancy of real Hollywood.

    9) Did it actually hit the wall?? Does American cinema suffers from dearth of originality?? Yes. It does. But it’s at another level. There used to be a tennis great called Ivan Lendl, who could never be able to win even a single Wimbledon final. Though Ivan Lendl is considered to be one of the greatest of tennis players ever born, somehow, the grass courts of Wimbledon seemed to expose a ‘weakness’ in his technique. Then should we say Ivan Lendl is as good or bad as someone like Ramesh Krishnan just because Krishnan played some of his greatest tennis only on grass courts?? No, we don’t say that, do we?? Lendl’s game on grass courts is predictable and unidimensional only in comparison with other ‘equally-talented’ top players with who he had to compete with at Wimbledon and we say he is a ‘failure at Wimbledon’ only with reference to the ‘level of success’ he had had on other types of courts at other times against other great players at the ‘level he competes at’. Simply speaking, Lendl is only considered ‘incomplete’ because his ’success’ at Wimbledon is disproportionate to the general level of finesse he could be able to achieve in the game of Tennis itself(Lendl reached Wimbledon finals twice. Had Ramesh Krishnan done that it would have been hailed as one of the greatest Indian sporting achievements ever). Likewise, Hollywood can only be called ’stereotypical’, ‘unoriginal’ and ‘lagging-behind’ only with reference to the degree of refinement a film industry with such an illustrious past and pedigree ought to achieve in the art of filmmaking but not in comparison with an industry whose very substratum for its ‘new-age cinema’ is Hollywood’s very own(and mostly obsolete) ‘narrative structures’ and ‘leitmotiv’. Hence, India’s so called ‘in-vogue’ cinema is hardly an equivalent parallel cinematic alternative to Hollywood as most hypocritical Indian movie fans would like to believe, rather it is only an inferior subsystem of its ‘American parent’ whose movies and literature are profusely used as its aesthetic fuel for sustenance (why? even the word ‘Bollywood’ is a variation of Hollywood. Do the French call their movie-industry ‘Pariswood’??). Don’t you think the lead poster of convergent line of slick, muscle-bound leather-jacketed hunks and cleavage-flaunting halter-topped ladies dangling LMGs of a typical Bollywood action flick reeks of its third-grade out-of-date Hollywood counterpart??

    10. You say Originality is rare…India or not etc.,. Yes, it is. But the infrequency of that ‘rarity’ in India is so greater/wider/bigger/larger/deeper/higher than any other movie industry that it makes you wonder originality actually exists/can exist here.

    PS: I wish you give ur readers a chance to use wide range of emoticons. What with your ability to fire emotions of all sorts of all sorts of your readers, the emoticons can really make this blog infinitely more expressive and I love that (I feel like smiling and there is no emoticon at hand). Hope you guys give a thought to my request.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Great Comment.

    To give your comment on a comment greater exposure, we have published it as a separate post as well (Of Copying & Plagiarization in Indian Movies – Must Read) with due credit to you. Otherwise it would get buried as a mere comment on a four-month-old movie.

    Sure, you can use emoticons like smiley et al on the SearchIndia.com blog. See 🙂 😉 🙁

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