Thursday, July 07, 2005

Response to a "Sarkar" review

I haven't seen "Sarkar" as yet and so cannot comment on how 'faithful' an adaptation it is of "The Godfather". However, I am a little bothered by the write-ups that I've read so far and the claims that have been made about it. But let me not beat round the bush and get to the point that I'm getting at.

It's perfectly fine with me if any director wants to pay tribute to another author or filmmaker but... have necessary permissions being taken to 'adapt' the work concerned? What is the copyright situation in such an adaptation? As far as I know both the book and the film are NOT in the public domain and so, consent must be given by the rights holders.

It's a pity that it's not just RGV but many other bollywood directors who seem to 'indulge' in this kind of 'creative' 'adaptation'... and I feel this situation is an insult to all of us who claim to be writers!

I am sorry if I am using such strong words but, I feel, we need to address this situation because it concerns us ALL.

Can you imagine if some director makes a film based on your short story and makes money out of it and, to add insult to injury, claims to be a fan of your work? Would you like that?

Do you realise that despite the fact that India has so many talented writers -- many of them part of Caferati and other writing networks, there is no apparent effort made to harness this creative energy?

(I am not including offbeat films in my rant because the very nature of their work demands original subject matter.)

India has such a great history of stories, folk tales, drama, music and yet... most of it is untouched because the producers don't think it's a safe-bet for box office success. But trust me, when the lawyers come knocking at their doors demanding 'compensation' for copyright violation, then, will it still remain a safe-bet?

I saw "Parineeta" last week and was pleased to see two things. One, credit given to the original author and two, a film was actually based on a classic Indian tale. But is it possible to see many more Bollywood film-makers taking similar trouble to dig the Indian literary goldmine for new subject matter? And even if they do, are they going to be so detail oriented in making a period film? Plus, will the acting be restrained and refined?

Lots of questions, I know, but... somehow I can't help being a little cynical.

2 comments:

balihai said...

a very valid rant. i saw 'sarkar' i think rgv just used the word 'godfather' to generate publicity. the only similarity to mario puzo's novel or coppola's film is that 'sarkar' is about a don and his two sons. i could easily call it 'ramayana' first chapter.
few things on (c): i think there is not much knowldege about the 'how to. most film-makers dont want to go thru the trouble of hiring lawyers and going about things the proper route apart from the fact that if you can do it for free why bother?
'veer-zara' was apparently based on a marquez novel "...cholera"-again i didnt find any similarity.
same with 'bunty and babli'.
'black' i thought was an out and out copy, but i think it was out in public domain.
a lot of scripts float in and out of our office and sometimes i find that basic plotlines have been lifted or completely copied and a lot of times one cannot even make out because it may be out of my own knowledge database..
it is sad- but i think something more serious should be done about this intellectual robbery.

balihai said...

here is something that should get you thinking again
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.07/tarantino.html