They say, behind every successful man is a woman. The same applies for Bollywood; behind every successful and some not so successful Hindi movie is a successful Hollywood or foreign language movie.
Bollywood’s history of plagiarising goes back decades, but who’s to say that’s going to stop us movie buffs from watching the film even if we’ve watched the original. And then comes the spate of comparisons of why our industry’s film didn’t match up in terms of plot, acting, storyline, etc.
While the number of Hindi movies that have drawn inspiration from or outright been copied from movies made in other languages spans into hundreds, here’s a list of 30 movies that were almost entirely ripped off. Some of them are probably ones you know, some will be ones you’ve never heard of, and some will definitely leave you shocked!
1) Murder (2004) – Unfaithful (2002)
Mallika Sherawat and Emraan Hashmi’s breakout movie made quite an impression and continues to do so. The story revolves around how a seemingly happy couple’s marriage falls apart slowly when the wife decides to have an affair with a much younger man. Starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane, and Olivier Martinez, the original Hollywood movie will leave you wondering why Mahesh Bhatt even hoped that his film would have half the class and tact its English counterpart did.
2) Bichoo (2000) – Leon: The Professional (1994)
The original English movie sees Jean Reno, a contract hit man, taking 14-year old Natalie Portman under his wing and protecting her when her entire family is murdered by corrupt officials. In typical Bollywood style, the Hindi version has an additional storyline of Bobby Deol and Rani Mukherjee falling in love while trying to bring the villains to justice.
3) Aitraaz (2004) – Disclosure (1994)
Priyanka Chopra proved without a doubt that she was an actress to watch out for when she took on the negative role of a seductress in this movie. Based on the English film, Disclosure, this movie follows the concept of sexual harassment in the workplace.
4) Zinda (2006) – Oldboy (2003)
Oldboy is a South Korean thriller that was remade in Bollywood as Zinda, starring Sanjay Dutt and John Abraham. While the Bollywood version didn’t garner the reception the original did, the film was praised for the performances of the lead actors. Sanjay Dutt plays a happy family man who’s mysteriously kidnapped and kept locked in a cell for 14 years and then seeks revenge on his captors after being suddenly released.
5) Satte Pe Satta (1982) – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Apart from the difference in the length of the movies’ names, Satte Pe Satta was as successful as the original Hollywood movie. A comedy film, the plot revolves around how the oldest brother, Amitabh Bachchan, falls in love and gets married to Hema Malini, a nurse, and brings her home to his family. What follows is a madcap adventure and the subsequent marriages of Amitabh’s 6 younger brothers to 6 other women.
6) Bunty Aur Babli (2005) – Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
The hugely successful Abhishek Bachchan–Rani Mukherjee starrer drew several of its elements from the original Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway movie. While it doesn’t contain the violent aspects of the English movie, the basic theme of how two crooks get together to con various people remains unchanged. Both movies garnered critical acclaim and the Bollywood version even became the source of inspiration for several small-time criminals in India.
7) The Train (2007) – Derailed (2005)
This Hollywood remake features Emraan Hashmi and Sayali Bhagat as a married couple facing several issues. Hashmi then proceeds to have an extramarital affair that goes horribly wrong when he begins receiving threats from an unknown enemy. Apart from the notable soundtrack, a given in all of Hashmi’s films, the Hindi and English movies performed poorly at the box office leaving no mark on the audience.
8) Ugly Aur Pagli (2008) – My Sassy Girl (2001)
Here’s another South Korean classic that wound its way into Bollywood. Starring Ranvir Shorey and Mallika Sherawat, the movie charts the relationship between a college student who has a strange, ill-fated relationship with a girl he meets on a train. While the original turned out to be a major success with remakes in 6 different languages, the Hindi movie failed to live up to its standards.
9) Kaante (2002) – Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Quentin Tarantino’s epic hit was remade in Bollywood with Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role. With an intriguing mix of actors in both versions, this movie depicts the events leading up to and after a major heist, with one of the men in the group turning out to be an undercover cop. The Hindi film was as successful as the original but didn’t really develop the cult following of Tarantino’s masterpiece.
10) Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994) – The Hard Way (1991)
Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan were one of the famous pair-ups in the 1990s and Main Khiladi Tu Anari was one of their biggest hits together. But it’s a little-known fact that this movie was a remake of the Michael J. Fox – James Woods starrer, The Hard Way. In this movie, a pampered movie star tags along with a tough cop as part of his research for a new film role. The Hindi version was a bigger hit as compared to its English counterpart, owing largely to the Kumar and Khan jodi.
11) Awarapan (2007) – A Bittersweet Life (2005)
And here’s yet another South Korean movie that was remade with Emraan Hashmi in the lead role. Hashmi, a gangster and the right-hand man of a high-profile businessman, finds himself at crossroads when his mobster codes threaten his personal morals. Both versions were critically acclaimed with the Hindi version’s music score topping the charts for weeks on end.
12) Jazbaa (2015) – Seven Days (2007)
Jazbaa was Aishwarya Rai’s official return to the big screen after a 5-year break. It’s only fitting that she chose a South Korean hit to mark her return. Rai plays a lawyer who’s forced to defend an alleged criminal in order to save her kidnapped daughter. The lead actresses of both films received several nominations and awards for their performances.
13) Munnabhai M.B.B.S (2003) – Patch Adams (1998)
Everyone’s beloved mobster turned doctor was originally played by Robin Williams in Patch Adams. The story is one we all know – a local don decides to enroll in a medical school and turn his life around. While the Bollywood film was a critical and commercial hit, the Hollywood one was well-received at the box office but not by the critics. Though the Hollywood storyline is slightly different from the Bollywood one, the basic theme remains the same.
14) Baazigar (1993) – A Kiss Before Dying (1991)
Before Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge catapulted them into the limelight, Baazigar established Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol as the rising stars of Bollywood. Baazigar saw them pair up together for the first time, with Khan in a negative, Filmfare-award winning role. Like it’s English version, the film charts the story of a young and angry Khan taking revenge on a man who betrayed his father leading to his family’s misfortune.
15) Tees Maar Khan (2010) – After the Fox (1966)
This Akshay Kumar – Katrina Kaif Hindi flick was another hit in a long line of hits starring the duo. Based on the British – Italian movie After the Fox, this story has the main character playing a thief who turns an entire village into a movie set to execute a heist. And who can forget Sheila Ki Jawaani, the song that took the nation by storm!
16) Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995) – Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Kramer vs. Kramer raked in all the big awards at the 52nd Academy Awards and later went on to inspire the Hindi remake Akele Hum Akele Tum. A couple’s marriage falls apart when the wife feels overwhelmed with her marital responsibilities and leaves her husband and son to fend for themselves. She later fights for her child’s custody, not knowing that father and son have formed an inseparable bond in her absence. This one’s a real tearjerker and had Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala effortlessly and masterfully doing justice to their roles.
17) Salaam-e-Ishq (2007) – Love Actually (2003)
You would think that a cast comprising Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, and countless other biggies would be a sure-fire hit in Bollywood. But unlike the original movie Love Actually, Salaam-e-Ishq tanked at the box office. The 6 love stories portrayed in the movie turned out to be a hotchpotch of plots that spelled disaster and had none of the romance and depth of the English movie.
18) Chocolate (2005) – The Usual Suspects (1995)
Irrfan Khan and Tanushree Dutta are extensively interrogated for their apparent connection to terrorists and a robbery involving an armoured vehicle carrying billions of pounds. Suffice it to say that the Hindi version couldn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the complex masterpiece that was The Usual Suspects.
19) Judwaa (1997) – Twin Dragons (1992)
Salman Khan was known for his quirky acts and wacky movies in the 1990s. Judwaa is no different and was a rip-off of the original Jackie Chan starrer Twin Dragons. Two identical twins end up separated at birth with one becoming a gangster while the other remaining with his parents. As with most of Khan’s movies, this one too became a hit even though the original Chinese movie received mixed reviews.
20) Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998) – French Kiss (1995)
Ajay Devgn and Kajol had their moments of success on the big screen and this movie was one such example. Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline starred in the original French Kiss involving a woman’s attempt to woo her fiancé back. However, her plans go awry when the charming crook seated next to her on the airplane makes her an unwitting accomplice in his effort to smuggle a diamond necklace into the country.
21) Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai (2002) – My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
When you think of Yash Raj, you think of originality, but that’s hardly the case with Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai. In the Hindi version, a jealous Uday Chopra tries to sabotage his best friend, Tulip Joshi’s, marriage to another man because Chopra is in love with her. The English version has it the other way around with Julia Roberts trying to break up her best friend’s marriage. The two movies differ in their climax scenes but the central theme remains the same.
22) Mann (1999) – An Affair to Remember (1957)
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr immortalized this movie and turned it into one of the biggest romantic films of all time. Mann, however, had Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala turning it into the biggest flop of 1999. A rich playboy aboard a cruise ship meets and falls in love with a middle-class teacher, but they’re both engaged to other people. Apart from the soundtrack, Mann had nothing working in its favour.
23) Shukriya: Till Death Do Us Apart (2004) – Meet Joe Black (1998)
If you haven’t heard of this Hindi movie, we don’t blame you. You would wonder why the makers could ever hope to turn a Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins starrer into an Aftab Shivdasani and Anupam Kher starrer and expect the same results. In this movie, a wealthy older gentleman brings home and introduces an enigmatic, young man to his family. His daughter falls in love with the stranger but her father vehemently opposes the alliance, prompting everyone to wonder what kind of relationship he shares with the man.
24) Salaam Namaste (2005) – Nine Months (1995)
A young couple moves in together and begin an idyllic live-in relationship until the woman becomes pregnant and throws their life into chaos. Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta turned this Hugh Grant – Julianne Moore starrer into a huge success and received much critical acclaim for broaching the topic of live-ins with such honesty and sincerity.
25) Aetbaar (2004) – Fear (1996)
Amitabh Bachchan stars in this movie as an overprotective father who becomes suspicious of the mysterious, young man, John Abraham, whom his daughter falls in love with. His suspicions are proved right when a series of events leads him to believe Abraham is an unsteady and unstable young man. While the Hindi film faded into oblivion, the English version starring Mark Wahlberg in his breakout role developed a cult status over the years.
26) Deewangee (2002) – Primal Fear (1996)
If you haven’t watched this one yet, we suggest you start with the Hindi one before watching the English version, simply because you’ll be more appreciative of the true genius of the latter. The central theme follows a criminal lawyer who defends a young man who’s accused of murder. The lawyer goes on to prove that the alleged murderer is actually suffering from multiple personality disorder. Ajay Devgn’s role as the murderer doesn’t even come close to the spectacular performance by Edward Norton.
27) Deewane Huye Paagal (2005) – There’s Something About Mary (1998)
Any guesses as to which one flopped and which one went on to be a super success? Deewane Huye Paagal, despite being lifted almost frame-by-frame from There’s Something About Mary, did nothing for the Indian audience and died a quick death. The film is about a couple of young men who fall in love with and try to win the affections of a charming and pretty girl. Cameron Diaz went on to win several awards whereas Rimi Sen disappeared as suddenly as she hit the screens.
28) Ek Ajnabee (2005) – Man on Fire (2004)
The one thing Denzel Washington and Amitabh Bachchan have in common apart from their heights are their abilities to hold the audience captive with magnetic performances. Both men essay the role of a bitter, alcoholic bodyguard to a little girl in these movies. Their lives turn upside down when the child is kidnapped and held for ransom. While both films received mixed reviews from the public, there’s no denying that Washington and Bachchan know how to carry an entire film on their shoulders singlehandedly.
29) Sarkar (2005) – Godfather (1972)
Marlon Brando is in a league all by himself, but if anyone were to mirror his role in Godfather, there’s no one better than Amitabh Bachchan. Sarkar is a well-known remake of Godfather and lived up to its predecessor’s reputation. It follows the world of the leader of a criminal family ruling a city and what happens when his power structure is threatened. A haunting soundtrack and gripping performances are common to both films and are part of the reason why they each developed a cult status.
30) Brothers (2015) – Warrior (2011)
This Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton starrer depicts the complex relationship of two brothers who are estranged and forced to face each other when they participate in a mixed martial arts tournament. Akshay Kumar and Sidharth Malhotra play the two brothers in the Hindi version, but they fail to elicit the same emotional response in the viewer that the original Hollywood movie did. Do you know any other Hindi movies that were blatently copied? Let us know in the comments section!