Archive for January 2010

Copy Cat Aamir?

January 15, 2010

This post is not a rant or a post in the true sense of the word. Its rather a verbal manifestation of my disappointment with the so called ‘perfectionist’ of our times. Especially after Lagaan, I thought Aamir Khan is one of those people who does sensible movies and is also a sticker for perfection. At the time of Rang De Basanti, the preacher in Aamir Khan showed its face when he said on NDTV, “You be the change, you be the politician, the youth should change the system… blah blah” I thought it was a lame way to market a film that was nothing but fantasy. I mean seriously, isn’t it just a dream to be able to kill politicians at will? I guess he refused to come out of the I-will-change-the-system mode and its evident in 3-idiots.

Inspite of this, I loved Taare Zameen Par for its simplicity in portraying the mind of a young child and his battle with the much-criticized education system. But after doing a little research, I realise that perhaps none of what Aamir churns out of his kitty is original. Though, the character of Ishaan Awasthi was (shall we say) ‘inspired’ by Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes fame, I didn’t think Aamir, the debutant director would actually lift scenes cut to cut from the classic comic strip.

The Maths test/quiz that Ishaan takes in the film is a straight lift. Take a look at this:

While, the one above is a direct lift, the two pieces below can be called ‘inspirations’ – one where Ishaan fights the shower in the bathroom (Calvin fights rain) and two where he just leaves school one day, and that followed by parents’ meeting with teacher and principal:
And as I toyed with this idea of whether these scenes are really inspired from C&H strips or could they be a mere co-incidence, Dhananjay brought this book titled ‘Thank You, Mr Falker‘ to my notice. Here’s a synopsis of the story –
Quoting from the site:
“Patricia Polacco is now one of America’s most loved children’s book writers and illustrators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. Her classmates made matters worse by calling her ‘dummy’ and ‘toad.’ It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we.”

I am thoroughly disappointed at what Aamir and Crew seem to be doing. This hurts me because I loved Taare Zameen Par and most of all, I am a big big fan of Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes. The copying streak seems to have continued with this year’s so-called great film, 3 idiots.

And talking about 3 idiots, here are a few copied moments –

1) The ‘why didn’t they use pencils instead?’ question by Rancho
2) When the three friends go searching for Rancho you see a man clicking snaps of burqa-clad women
3) When the prof refuses to accept their papers, Rancho mixes them with the rest

With not-so-stringent Plagiarism laws in our country, and with people raving about Aamir ‘Perfectionist’ Khan, I guess movies like 3 idiots will continue to enjoy the acclaim and awards. And the media will continue to call him a ‘great.’ I guess my friend said it right. “Aamir Khan uses the media as shoes.”

It doesn’t make for great screenplay when you just physically manifest old idioms like ‘putting the toothpaste back in the tube’ and copying internet jokes and forwards. The least he could have done is to give due credit to the source. I don’t thing it would have taken away anything from his film. And since he hasn’t , I guess Aamir should join the league of people who think ‘we are born too late in the world to do anything original’ and his movies (at least these two) should be listed here.

Update: Just found that the C & H ‘inspirations’ have been covered here and here