Often, Indian cinema, especially Bollywood, has been accused of being a “copy paste factory”, churning out remakes after remakes from various nations. While it is true that Indian films have often drawn inspiration from global narratives, it is fascinating to see how the tables have turned, with Hollywood and other international industries taking cues from the vibrant world of Indian cinema.
Just as Bollywood has been a significant force in the global film industry, Hollywood and other international industries have recognized the immense potential and appeal of Indian stories, leading to several remakes and adaptations.
Drishyam goes global
One such example of an Indian film that garnered tremendous success both nationally and internationally, inspiring numerous adaptations, is “Drishyam.” Directed by Jeethu Joseph, the original Malayalam film, released in 2013, captivated audiences with its gripping storyline and brilliant performances. The film follows the story of a common man who uses his wits to protect his family from a grave crime they inadvertently become entangled in.
The success of “Drishyam” resonated beyond Indian borders, as the film was remade in several languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada. The Hindi version, starring Ajay Devgn and directed by Nishikant Kamat, was a massive hit, earning critical acclaim and commercial success. Its success paved the way for the film to be remade in languages such as Sinhala, Chinese, and even in South Korea as “Montage,” showcasing the global appeal of the story and its universal themes.
It is not just Indian films that have been remade, but Indian narratives and themes have also found their way into Hollywood and other international productions. One notable example of an Indian film that successfully made its mark in Hollywood is “Slumdog Millionaire”. Directed by Danny Boyle, this critically acclaimed film took inspiration from Indian cinema’s gritty realism and vibrant street culture.
Hollywood too is inspired by Bollywood
Set in the bustling city of Mumbai, “Slumdog Millionaire” tells the story of a young man’s journey from the slums to the hot seat of a television game show. Taking themes from various Indian films, including “Salaam Bombay” and “Black Friday”, the movie, with its universal themes of love, hope, and destiny, the film captivated audiences worldwide and went on to win eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Films like “The Lunchbox” and “A Wednesday!” have been optioned for remakes, showcasing the cross-cultural appeal of Indian narratives, and we haven’t even begun on films like “Leap Year” and “Pearl Harbor” yet, which were heavily inspired, if not directly remade, by “Jab we Met” and “Sangam” respectively.
The cross-pollination of ideas and storytelling techniques between Indian cinema and international industries is an exciting development that further enriches the global film landscape. It highlights the universality of emotions and narratives and fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of different cultures.
As Indian cinema continues to evolve and expand its reach, it is heartening to witness the reciprocal relationship between Indian and international films. The rich diversity of Indian cinema, with its myriad of languages, regional industries, and captivating narratives, has captivated audiences worldwide. At the same time, global audiences have recognized the cultural and artistic wealth of Indian cinema, leading to remakes, adaptations, and collaborations that celebrate the spirit of storytelling.
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