Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante (2002) has finally got the recognition its filmmakers always wanted for it: a double bill screening with the movie that inspired its plot, screenplay, and characterisations.
Kaante will be screened on April 12 and 13 alongside Quentin Tarantino’s heist thriller Reservoir Dogs (1992) at the New Beverly Theatre in West Hollywood. The screenings have been organised around the 25th anniversary of Tarantino’s brilliant debut, which marked the beginning of a career built on pastiche, homage, and meta-references to older movies and genres. Tarantino clearly believes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – he owns the New Beverly Theatre, and by screening Kaante alongside Reservoir Dogs, he has legitimised Gupta’s plagiarism.
In Reservoir Dogs, six bank robbers are involved in a diamond heist gone badly wrong. Gupta’s multi-starrer has Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, Kumar Gaurav, Mahesh Manjrekar and Lucky Ali as bank robbers who plan a heist in the city that is home to Hollywood.
Gupta’s movie may have had detractors back home, including those who felt embarrassed at the artistic theft, but Tarantino loved the movie. In an interview, the filmmaker said, “I think it was fabulous. Of the many rip-offs I loved Hong Kong’s Too Many Ways To Be No 1 (1997) and this one, Kaante,” Tarantino said. “The best part is, you have Indian guys coming to the US and looting a US bank. How cool is that! I was truly honoured. And these guys are played by the legends of Bollywood.”
After the box office success of Gupta’s recent crime thriller Kaabil (2017), the validation from Tarantino must be as sweet as music. Americans will surely warm up to Malaika Arora gyrating to the sensuous rhythm of Mahi Ve in the middle of guns and gore – the kind of cinematic breather that Tarantino surely approves of.