Comment: Are Tollywood Directors Going Lite On Plagiarism?

Tue Feb 06 2018 22:29:08 GMT+0530 (IST)

Tollywood has been an extension of Indian Cinema revolution. When Raghupathi Venkayya garu, pioneered the efforts to popularise Telugu regional cinema. It grew from just giving telugu commentary to moving images on screen to actually bringing Telugu actors from Theatre to perform in front camera and then transforming the stars into matinee idols.

Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao, SV Rangarao, Savitri, Jamuna, Jagayya, Gummadi, Mukkamala, R Nageswara Rao, Relangi, Padmanabham, Suryakantham, Ramana Reddy became popular household names from 50's to 60's. Their popularity lead to a revolution and surge actors who wanted to become Cinema stars and even popular actors like Krishna, Sobhan Babu, Krishnam Raju, Chiranjeevi followed the suite.

Now, the next generation actors of these legends and popular actors are ruling the roost in Telugu Cinema. But our stories have always been inspired from Bengali novels, Mythological stories and other films from Hindi and International cinema.

We started developing our own formula in late 1950's,  by 60's our novels and short stories in literature became major films along with mythology and folklore. From 1970's commercial cinema formula has been generated with our writers developing "For Film stories" and remakes and inspirations continued.

During the time, it was ok if someone took a film from International or other language and produced it in their own way without taking the rights as plagiarism was not a big concept in films back then. Everyone took "Inspirations" from everywhere and producers like AVM productions used to remake their own films in different languages.

Now, with such global information revolution, it has become difficult for makers to just "Steal" or "Reproduce" an idea from International Films. Recent, Agnyathavasi issue made French film maker, Jerome Salle to threaten our renowned makers to settle the rights issue as his film scenes have been used without many changes and even story too used with slight changes.

There are rumours that Naa Peru Surya, Allu Arjun movie is inspired from Antwone Fischer and makers have denied them. Bhaagamathie, the latest hit movie took Inspirations from 100 Feet and Bharath Ane Nenu is allegedly a different version of Largo Winch, Agnathavasi inspiration and Karunakaran- Sai Dharam Tej movie is said to be taken from movie, The Vow.

All these could be just rumours and there could some truth to them too. The point is taking inspiration is nothing new and in earlier days, producers bought rights from writers if they are novels and other producers if they are remaking them.

Oopiri producers bought The Intouchables rights and Naa Bharya James Bond, makers bought My Wife Gangster rights.  It is highly understandable to take an inspiration or even reproduce an idea but these days, directors and producers should look to take the plagiarism seriously and work towards buying the rights.

When we are spending 70 to 80 crores on a big movie, what difference will it make to shell out 2 to 3 crores or even less to buy the rights of a book or a film that they liked? We have lost our face with the kind of controversy Agnyathavasi created and such mistakes can be avoided in future, if they just give credit to original makers and some money to go with. Will that be a bigger thing to ask for? The copy right laws Internationally are very strong and if the original makers start moving to courts, what will our identity be? Directors, may be you need to throw light on plagiarism claims and comments before writing your next script!