Top 10 Bollywood Movies That Are Blatant Hollywood Rip-offs

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Although YouTube may tell us otherwise; Bollywood isn’t composed entirely of movies where the protagonist can flip a semi with the touch of his hand and then kill five guys with one bullet, all while making out with a chick.  It’s actually a reputable industry with normal, sane movies.  However, for every five Bollywood movies, there are two that are YouTube worthy, two of them which flop, and the one successful one is usually a Hollywood rip-off.  What more can you expect from an industry that can’t think up its own name?

Here are 10 Bollywood mega-hits with ridiculously familiar plots.

10.  Bonnie and Clyde: Bunty Aur Babli

buntyaurbabli

The romantic tale of Bonnie and Clyde has captivated audiences since they hit the big screen in 1967.  It isn’t unexpected for there to be some copying of the tale considering its success.  But we must say Bollywood’s take on the story is pretty original considering the source material they had to work with.  Although, the film didn’t pass up the opportunity to give their characters funny little names (Bunty and Babli aren’t real names in Hindi, white people).  The movie was made even more hilarious since it starred the protagonist’s real life father as the primary villain, leading to all sorts of inside jokes only people in India got.

The Hollywood Plot:  Bonnie and Clyde meet up while trying to escape their small town life.  They run a number of small cons before really getting busy.  Their thefts get the attention of the law enforcement who hounds them relentlessly.  Finally, one of their former partners sells them out and Bonnie and Clyde are surrounded and well, killed.

The Bollywood Plot:  Rakesh and Vimmi meet up while trying to escape their small town life.  After successfully running a con on someone that screwed them both, they discover that they have a gift.  After running more and more elaborate cons (such as selling the Taj Mahal), they attract the attention of a cop who makes it his goal to apprehend them.  Finally, after a risky con the duo are surrounded.  However, they are let go on the promise that they stop stealing stuff (because asking nicely always works).

9.  Hitch: Partner

partner

Hitch was that Will Smith movie that just made everyone awkward.  So, its baffling when you consider that Bollywood decided it was ripe material for ripping.  Oh, and maybe it has something to do with the $175 million it grossed worldwide.

The Hollywood Plot:  Alex is a professional date doctor who match-makes people into good relationships.  This all changes when he meets the one girl he can’t get; a pretty gossip columnist.  After trying to woo her with every trick in his book, he eventually just acts like himself and wins her over.

The Bollywood Plot:   Prem is a “love guru” who helps people out by matchmaking them with seemingly the perfect person.  This all changes when he meets the one woman he can’t get, a single widowed mother.  After some hilarious misunderstandings involving one night stands, Prem gets the girl.

8.  What Happens in Vegas: Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

EkMainAurEkkTu

This 2012 smash hit stars Bollywood veteran Karina Kapoor and newcomer Imran Khan in what is arguably the “Party Frat Guys” genre of Bollywood movies.  Bear in mind this movie came out as recently as Valentine’s Day weekend.

The Hollywood Plot:  The movie takes place in Las Vegas where Jack and Joy have wee too many drinks at a club and end up getting married.  They realize that they have 3 million dollars and the only way to claim it is by kicking the other out of the marriage.  In the end, they decide they want to keep their marriage.

The Bollywood Plot:  The movie takes place in Las Vegas where Rahul and Riana have way too many drinks at a club and end up getting married.  In the morning, they realize their mistake and try to get their marriage annulled.  The judge asks them for some time, and asks them to think it over.  After an evening of wacky hijinks, they decide they want to keep the marriage.

7.  Primal Fear: Dewangee

dewangee

Both Dewangee and Primal Fear were massive hits with their respective audiences.  And although both movies are grim in nature, Dewangee took it a step further by casting Ajay Devgan’s butt chin as the primary antagonist.  Apparently this was a good thing, since Dewangee went on to win India’s version of the Oscars for Best Villain.  Ironically, Edward Norton was nominated for the same role in America’s version of the Oscars.

The Hollywood Plot:  Martin Vail is one of Chicago’s best lawyers, who jumps on the case of an altar boy, Aaron, who has been accused of murdering an archbishop.  In a twist ending, Martin finds out Aaron is also Roy and has split personality.  The judge rules that he is insane and orders him to be placed in a mental hospital.  But in an even twistier ending, Martin discovers that Roy is the real personality who made up the split personality thing to get sympathy.

The Bollywood Plot:  Raj is one of India’s best lawyers, who jumps on the case of his friend’s mentor, Tarang, who has been accused of murdering a business tycoon.  In a twist ending, Raj finds out that Tarang has split personality disorder.  And instead of throwing his ass in jail, he is acquitted.  Until an even twistier ending where we find out Tarang made up the whole split personality thing to not go to jail.

6.  My Best Friend’s Wedding: Meri Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai

MeriYaarKiShaadiHai

In this case, Meri Yaar ki Shaadi Hai actually translates into “My best friend’s wedding” because screw subtlety.  This 2002 Yash Chopra (read: excessively romantic) movie was Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu’s first mainstream debut.  But, unlike its Julia Roberts counterpart, Meri Yaar actually grossed ten times more in its opening weekend than My Best Friend’s Wedding did in its entirety.  Hooray for plagiarism! They actually went ahead and asked the director if he copied, to which he replied that only the word-for-word title and entire plot are similar, but that’s it!  No Julia Roberts, for one thing.

The Hollywood Plot:  While living in America, Julianne gets a call from her old friend Michael who it turns out is getting married.  As happy as she should be, Julianne realizes that she loves Michael and makes it her goal to ruin his marriage so that she can marry him.

The Bollywood Plot:  While living in Mumbai, Sanjay gets a call from his old friend Anjali who it turns out is getting married.  As happy as he should be, Sanjay realizes that he loves Anjali and makes it his goal to ruin her marriage so that he can marry her.

See, it’s okay because they gender flipped.

5.  Sleeping With The Enemy: Daraar

daraar

Sleeping with the Enemy, albeit sounding like a spy thriller, is one of the most successful mainstream horror movies Hollywood has produced.  Similarly, Daraar, which stars Juhi Chawla (India’s version of Julia Roberts) did very well in theaters, and both Patrick Bergin and Arbaaz Khan won nominations for their portrayal of abusive husbands.  The success behind Daraar is actually quite baffling, considering Bollywood attempted two official remakes of SWTE (we’re too lazy to copy/paste) and both failed spectacularly.  Maybe watching plagiarized movies provides some sort of primal thrill to Indian movie goers.

The Hollywood Plot:  Laura and Martin have been happily married and are living the good life.  By which we mean that Martin is an abusive husband who beats Laura regularly.  One day on a fishing outing, Laura falls overboard and makes it look like she drowned.  She swims to shore and moves to a small town.  Over there, she falls in love with Ben and everything starts looking until Martin finds out she’s alive and attempts to kill her.  But with the help of Ben, Laura kills Martin.

The Bollywood Plot:  Priya and Vikram have been happily married and are living the good life.  By which we mean that Vikram is an abusive husband who beats Priya regularly.  One day on a fishing outing, Priya falls overboard and makes it look like she drowned.  She swims to shore and moves to a small town.  Over there, she falls in love with Raj and everything starts looking until Vikram finds out she’s alive and attempts to kill her.  But with the help of Raj, Priya kills Vikram.

4.  Clueless: Aisha

aisha

The 2010 film Aisha was pretty well received by audiences despite being on a long chain of plagiarized stories.  Aisha ripped off 1995’s Clueless, which in turn ripped off Jane Austen’s Emma, which in turn ripped off every other Jane Austen book.  In each case, the story is about a popular kid who knows she’s better than everyone until some event makes her realize that she IS better than everyone, oh and she’ll probably get the boy too.  That’s okay, because the story is usually heartwarming enough that you’ll forget how much you hate the lead (See: Hitch/Partner, the male version of this story).

The Hollywood Plot:  Cher is a popular cheerleader (because of course she is) who plays matchmaker with everyone in her school, mostly to gain leverage.  Except all her work backfires one day, and she loses her popular status.  After a shopping spree, she decides that she needs to apologize to her friends (who are now popular) and then gets the boy.  Wow, that was totally coherent.

The Bollywood Plot:  Aisha is a popular kid who likes to play matchmaker with her friends. This all changes when she realizes she loves a guy names Arjun.  In trying to get with him, she accidentally offends all her friends and everyone hates her.  Finally, she realizes she was wrong and apologizes, which gets her the guy.

3.  The Parent Trap: Do Kaliyan

DoKaliyan

For most of us, our first thought when we think of The Parent Trap is “You mean when Lindsay Lohan wasn’t doing drugs?” which is fine, except that Do Kaliyan (or “two cheeks” in Hindi) came out way before Disney’s movie.  Before our entire argument falls apart and you turn off this page in disgust, you should know that the Disney movie is actually a remake of an old 1961 film starring Brian Keith.  Since we don’t know who that is, we’re just going to be offended on our parents’ behalf.  Cue plot comparisons!

The Hollywood Plot:  NOT Lindsay Lohan and NOT Lindsay Lohan meet up at a summer camp and realize they’re siblings.  They decide to switch places to meet their other parent and also to bring them together.

The Bollywood Plot:  After a complicated back story regarding the parents, two twins meet up at a school field trip and realize they’re siblings.  They decide to switch places so that they can bring their parents together again.

2.  When Harry Met Sally: Hum Tum

humtum

Back when Billy Crystal was still relevant, he made When Harry Met Sally.  The movie is basically founded on something that every guy was thinking anyway: a girl and a guy can’t be friends without boning each other.  When it comes to movies, India has been conservative with PDA, so it changed this to “falling in love” (even though the leads have sex later in the movie).  We would understand if another movie was based on that idea, since it’s pretty common.  But Hum Tum took this one step further with some of the elements of its plot.

The Hollywood Plot:  Harry gives Sally a ride one day, and they discuss whether a man and a woman can be friends without having sex.  They split and bump into each other a few years later when they try to set up each other with their best friends.  The plan backfires and the best friends get together.  Finally, Harry and Sally decide to try a relationship and sleep together.  After some strong guilt and awkward pauses, they fall in love.  Awwww.

The Bollywood Plot:  Karan and Rhea meet up one day and have a conversation about whether a man and a woman can be friends without falling in love.  A few years later, they bump into each other and decide to set each other up with their best friends, except then their best friends marry each other.  Finally, they decide to give their relationship a shot, and sleep together.  After some strong guilt and awkward pauses, they fall in love.  AwwwWAIT.

1.  Bruce Almighty: God Tussi Great Ho

godtussigreatho

Some people say that Hollywood is out of ideas; those people have never been to India.  Because there’s no way Bollywood would willingly choose to plagiarize Bruce Almighty.  Remember, this is the movie that told us God gives His power to drunken losers for the sole purpose of fixing their love lives.  And yet here it is.  God Tussi Great Ho or “God, You Are Great” (and kinda retarded for giving away your powers) was released in 2008 and immediately was accused of blatant plagiarism.

The director responded by saying that the movie isn’t based on Bruce Almighty but a story of a village priest, which sounds like the vaguest, most half-assed explanation someone can pull out of their butt on short notice.  They even casted Amitabh Bachan, who is basically India’s Morgan Freeman, as God and gave him the same damn white suit from Bruce Almighty.  Village priest my arse.

The Hollywood Plot:  Bruce is a TV anchor whose life is falling apart.  He has a crippling love life and can’t get the TV job his coworker has.  After blaming God for all his problems, God comes and gives Bruce His powers for 10 days.  Bruce uses it to manipulate his life into getting better.  Eventually Bruce is confronted with voices, which God says are prayers.  Bruce answers yes to all the prayers, causing massive panic.  Eventually God tells Bruce that the world is falling apart because he misused His powers.  He resets Bruce’s life and Bruce wins the girl.

The Bollywood Plot:  Arun is a TV anchor whose life is falling apart.  He has no love life and his coworker got the TV promotion he wanted.  After blaming God for his own problems, God visits him and offers to give him His powers for 10 days.  Arun takes the offer and uses God’s power to manipulate his life.  When confronted with voices, God tells him those are prayers.  Instead of hearing them, he answers yes to all the prayers causing massive panic.  Eventually okay that’s it! The similarities are too much! Why the hell would you rip off Bruce Al-freaking-mighty! It makes no sense, Bollywood.  JUST STICK TO MINDLESS RAJNIKANTH ACTION CRAP, FOR MORGAN FREEMAN’S SAKE!

Mohammed Shariff can be followed on Twitter and Facebook

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80 Comments

  1. karan, do you have sources for any of this? I’d love to read more, especially about the theft of E.T.

    • karan shirwadkar on

      its on the IMDb page of E.T. also read the wiki page on satyajit ray and E.T, also i think its on the wiki page of steven speilberg. if u r not Indian, i would suggest u to look for books on indian movies and satyajit ray. the guys at the academy awards came to kolkatta (india) to ray’s house to him his honorary award. steven speilberg, of course, rejects all the claims about ET.

  2. Author: Some of your backhanded comments are extremely rude. You need to show respect, especially to God and other people’s religion(s). May God have mercy on your soul. SMH

  3. Bollywood is a joke, except 3idiots. Did you ever walk and dance around the streets of london or paris etc. singing a song with your girlfriend. In every typical bollywood movie, there will be a hero ,heroineand a villian. At some point of the film the heroine will be kidnapped by the villian and predictably the hero would fly in into their hideout from out of nowhere. Then the hero would run between bullets and kill about 100 bad guys with his bare hands. Then in the final face off with the villian he will definitely get shot somewhere in the shoulder but after some funny fight scenes he will finally kill the villain thus saving his girlfriend in the nick of time. I can also guarantee you that the hero and heroine would definitely go to some beautiful foreign country just to sing and dance together in the middle of nowhere

  4. The word ‘Bollywood’ is a rip off of ‘Hollywood’.
    I rest my case!

    I agree with the writer.
    I am an Indian but do not agree with blinded patriotism of some comment writers here.

  5. One understands that the cast system’ still exists in Indian society almost as though it wasn’t outlawed in 1950. This notion that people with ‘white skin’ are of some superior value, was the same pathology of the self-hating Adolph Hitler, who was thought to be part Jewish and thus hated the Jews more completely than anyone else. This is clear because that ‘cast system’ causes one to disregard people with dark skin even if they are also Indian.

  6. @Vijay: Seriously? Pointing out the glaring ignorance of the author is blind patriosm now? Shall I then call you anti-Indian/self-loathing because of your support towards the obviously skewed opinion of the writer?

  7. Here’s my pick:
    Agneepath (Scarface)
    Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi (It Happened One Night)
    Akele Hum Akele Tum (Kramer vs. Kramer)
    Koi Mil Gaya (ET)
    Kaante (Reservoir Dogs)
    Black (The Miracle Worker)

    The list is practically endless!

  8. i guess whatever it is whather indian films are copied from hollywood movies or hollywood movies copied from indian movies i know this much that these copied movies are mostly good and they earn a lot so instead of fighting that my country is good etc and etc we should watch these movies and praise the directors who actually made or copied the movies instead of praising the country
    i m an indian so for sure i support indian movies and i really like them

  9. yes i forgot to say this was a nice site if all these are true then i trully appreciate your work

  10. Roy Daniel Dsilva on

    Do Kaliyaan doesn’t mean two cheeks, it means two small flowers.

  11. The Bollywood talentless hacks are very god at ripping of hw, because the so called directors n the producers are lazy and unimaginative characters.
    I’m glad that HW is starting to sue the talentless hacks at BW, now the BW movies will be even more intolerable and torturing.

  12. Great article, can’t believe they ripped off Bruce Almighty. You also left out Bad Boys=Bade Miyan Chote Miyan.

  13. @ Karan Shirwadkar
    Learn to spell the name of our city first . Its Kolkata (there should be only one T) , and not kolkatta .

  14. and its true that Bollywood copies from Hollywood, and maybe without giving them the credit , which even i feel is a wrong thing to do. But that doesn’t means i hate indian cinema.
    Infact , i love how bollywood makes their films with a bit of masala which makes it entertaining and less boring. But i would love to see indian film makers make up their own storylines or take something out of the novels that are written by indian authors.

    And all the guys above (mostly Pakis i guess) who misspelled the name of the film as “Momento”
    … i would suggest them to learn how to spell first , because the actual name is MEMENTO released on 2000.

    i had a chat friend a few years ago . Met him on myspace . He was an african american guy , and a fan of Bipasha and he clearly admitted that Hollywood copies a lot from Korean and Japanese films .
    Not to forget the film Dark Water (2005) starring Jennifer Connelly which is a copy of a 2002 Japanese film of the same name (source imdb)

    @ karan
    oh yeah , you mentioned in your post above that the idea of carrying the baby on the back of actress Sigourney Weaver while fighting with the aliens was taken from Jhansi Laxmibai ?? LOL .
    C’mon man, don’t humour us with your ridiculous views.
    I mean , any brave mother with a helpless baby would act like that in such a situation .
    Im sure many women in the past acted like that in times of war or dealing with criminals etc.

  15. This is the stupidest biased list i’ve ever come across.
    For those clearly self-obsessed and racist white folks who thinks Indian films are a joke, why not review your Hollywood stupidity first and then come watch some classy Bollywood movies.
    1. Taare Zameen Par
    2. 3 Idiots
    3. Kahaani
    4. Talaash
    5. Black

    And for anyone that thinks that Indians are not creative while making movies, try to make a film which includes tradition, culture, ethnically diverse languages, SONGS AND DANCE. This is way more CREATIVE than flying robots and wizards and hamburgers.

    • Shell Harris on

      Just an FYI, this list was written by someone who isn’t white. And we have many lists that review poorly done movies in Hollywood. Thank you for the titles of these Bollywood movies.

  16. you should watch the movies you wrote about with a little more attention. The couple decide to divorce and become friends with their future as lovers unknown in the movie ek main aur ek tu. Also deewangee is not the remake of fear but the john bipasha move aitbaar is. Please check your facts before you post.