“I’m sorry to say this, but you’ve been bamboozled. You’ve been duped. You’ve been ripped off,” says YouTuber Corrie Hinschen. “This movie is an unauthorised remake.”
The scathing critique is about the 2011 Malayalam film Chaappa Kurishu, but it applies to innumerable Indian productions, as Hinschen goes on to elucidate in the video “India, We Need to Talk About Plagiarism”. The clip has been uploaded on his YouTube Channel Pieces of Work.
From frame-by-frame copies to uncannily similar themes, plagiarism in Indian cinema covers a wide spectrum. Despite increased scrutiny within the country and outside, it has continued unchecked. For instance, the Telugu film Agnyaathavaasi is currently embroiled in a plagiarism row, with French director Jerome Salle threatening to sue the Pawan Kalyan-starrer for allegedly ripping off his Largo Winch.
However, Hinschen, who regularly reviews Asian films, is taking up the fight on behalf of those who have been ripped off.
Citing the example of films like Agnyaathavaasi, Zinda (a copy of the Korean classic Old Boy), God Tussi Great Ho (Bruce Almighty) and Murder 2 (South Korea’s The Chaser), the cinephile makes an impassioned appeal: “This has to end. It’s getting ridiculous. Not only are these writers, directors and producers ripping off other filmmakers, they’re ripping off you as a consumer. They are telling you that you are getting an original product when it is not one.”
The film reviewer ends his video with a warning to Indian directors that he will do everything possible with the help of his channel to confront the problem. “If I get something and it’s a rip-off, and it’s not official, I will call it out and I will call out these people and I will make it known that they are thieves. Indian directors, beware. If you do this, I will make a video about it and everyone will know.”