Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Post... oh, you copyrighted that? T...y Post. No? T...T

We have a desi Miss America and she's had to put up with some INCREDIBLY racist bullshit since winning.

But her talent was... dancing to "Dhoom Taana!"

Incredible! I guess Bollywood is really going mainstream in America, too!! Just wait until Miley Cyrus gets her hands on some Mumaith Khan numbers...

Regular readers can skip this but for anybody just Googling around for more information about Nina Davuluri and her "Indian Classical-Bollywood Fusion Dance" who's landed on this page--the original song is from a movie called Om Shanti Om and you can watch it here. No, that's not what all Bollywood movies are like. Om Shanti Om is a deliberately campy film but if you've never seen anything Bollywood before, it's not a terrible place to start. You'll be dazzled even if you don't get all the jokes.

For films available on Netflix Instant, I'd check out Jab We Met (romantic comedy featuring a very likable lead couple) and Lagaan (historical-sports-political drama that was an Oscar finalist). There are other good ones, too, but I'm not sure if the charms of a Tashan or Vettai (actually a Tamil language film) would be apparent to somebody not used to the style.

People interested in more typical mainstream "foreign films" from India that aren't uber-depressing slum dramas should check out Peepli Live and Kahaani--both on Netflix Instant.

If you like them, come back and tell me and we'll talk!


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Sushant Singh Rajput for Shekhar Kapur's Paani! Variety also reports there will be a Western female lead and a "mixed" cast.

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I hate copyright bullshit like this. Really? The word Rambo is copyrighted so the film has to be called R..o Rajkumar. RIDICULOUS. I'm so glad international law bends to the whims of a giant corporation protecting a single copyrighted word. The system works.

Another silly act of wheel-spinning is to have scriptwriters register with the Film Writers Association before giving a narration to a production house in order to prevent plagiarism. And how is THAT supposed to happen? Is the Film Writers Association going to check a script against every other work ever written? And what about a case where the "plagiarism" isn't in the script itself? I'm sure Barfi's script didn't have "Ranbir does a Charlie Chaplain right here" written into it. WHY is India importing the West's crazy attitude towards artistic, intellectual property? Oh, right, Western, corporate money has strings attached.

Speaking as a librarian now, there is a REAL difference between actual plagiarism--copying something word for word or frame by frame--and using one work as inspiration for another work. All culture is a hodge-podge of borrowed references and reappropriated and reinterpreted stories. It's one reason why Disney's fairytale monopoly bothers me so much. A story like Cinderella has hundreds of variations but... now if you asked most people, they think there is just one "real" one--the bought and paid for Disney version.

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And Rajkumar Santoshi nixes Andaz Apna Apna sequel rumors.

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4 comments:

odadune said...

In the "more typically 'foreign' films that are not depressing" I've also had excellent luck showing Special 26 to people who wouldn't sit still for proper Bollywood films. Hey, the songs and the pastel polo shirts aren't the only reason I cut that movie so much slack. :P

Kandukondain is my "typical" desi movie of choice to show to people, but I can't vouch for its netflix availability.

My understanding of the Rambo Rajkumar title kerfluffle was that that the people who'd bought the rights to remake Original Rambo in Bollywood didn't want to see the Shahid movie using a similar title. That being said, the options I saw being floated in that earlier article discussing the subject were perfectly viable things like Raja Rajkumar, Macho Rajkumar, Rowdy Rajkumar, etc. R....o Rajkumar is Dobaara levels of stupid naming, and I hope for Shahid and Prabhudheva's sake it doesn't stick.

Moimeme said...

"Peepli Live" is not depressing? Okaaay, then.

Re plagiarism:

1. The word "Rambo" *is* copyrightable, since it is not otherwise a regular word of the English language, and was specifically invented for that movie. So anyone else who uses it to invoke that particular character is, in fact, violating copyright, which is a different crime than plagiarism. I frankly hate the highly illegal ways in which Bollywood rips off the creative work of others, while vociferously protesting any perceived inappropriate use of their own efforts. If you want to protest silly copyright practices, I point you to an issue that arose several years ago, where an American yoga peddler (I doubt the company was an actual yoga practitioner) claimed that they had copyrighted the word "dhyanam" (Sanskrit for meditation) and sued a Hindu publication in the U.S. for using it. Here you can question whether the word was even capable of being copyrighted, since it was a normal word in everyday use in India and among Indians in the U.S. They eventually lost the lawsuit, I'm glad to say.

2. The Film Writers' Union wants screenwriters to register their scripts prior to narrations so that the people who hear those narrations can't plagiarize them. And yes, it does happen, and has happened many times before. The writer who gives the narration is told that his idea is rejected as they are not interested in it, or it isn't suitable for their purposes, only to later go ahead and make that very same film, without giving that writer any credit, and of course without any monetary compensation. Given the strong oral tradition in India (hence "narrations" and not "reading the script"), you have to cut a little slack on the "word for word" or "frame by frame" copying requirement for this practice to be called plagiarism.

Raye S. said...

I've had success getting people into Bollywood using:
patiala house
jodhaa akbar
dil bole hadippa

I think it depends on the person a lot...but Patiala House has pretty much always been a hit. Way to go Akshay! :)

odadune said...

Raye: That's interesting to know-I've used Dil Bole Hadippa successfully as a Bollywood gateway movie, and if my acquaintances tolerated a little more angst-with-uplifting-endings, I would probably have tried Patiala House on them at some point. Glad to hear that it works. :)

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl