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Fareed Zakaria image
Fareed Zakaria

The sacking of  Indian born  Fareed Zakaria (son of  famous politician, writer  and Islamic Historian Zakaria)  from the post of Editor-atLarge at World renowned Time Magazine and withdrawal of his anchored programmes in CNN Channel has been a hot discussion in the Journalistic circles now.  The news has also become some platform for Journalists and Intellectuals to criticise how strongly Americans value the IPR.

Recently well known and hugely respected Editor Vishweshwara Bhat wrote in his column in Kannada Prabha about the whole story of sacking of Zakaria and called it the biggest shame on journalists. For those who do not know anything about the Zakaria issue, I just give below some information about it now.  Fareed Zakaria is a former editor of Newsweek magazine who has recently admitted to plagiarizing a column he wrote advocating gun control in America. He was silly enough to borrow portions of the column liberally from another written by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker magazine. Till recently Zakaria was Editor-at-Large at Time magazine and also hosted a programme called GPS on CNN.

Well I want to stop at that and do not want to expand the discussion on this  issue any further.  My idea of writing this article is just to reiterate one point that many Kannada film journalists and buffs who make like to discuss.  How many Kannada film directors, writers get away with plagiarism and even claim the copied versions as their own.  There are many examples in the Kannada film industry and in recent days  this is raising to abnormal proportions.

Leave a few directors like Girish Kasaravalli, P. Seshadri, B. Suresha, Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, Nagabharana, Baragooru Ramachandrappa, Guruprasad and a few others.  I think most of the well known popular directors can be criticised for plagiarizing a small portion or a bigger slice from many films produced outside the country.  And there are directors who have unabashedly copied sequences from many films made here.

I think many of our film directors would be laughing at the way a Honest Zakaria admitted his lapse and then faced the heat by getting sacked in the process.  In the Kannada film industry, we have directors like Om Prakash Rao who have honestly admitted that they have plagiarised and have even lifted some sequences of Telugu and Tamil films for many of the film.   Om Prakash Rao's "Partha' lifted many seqeunces of Linguswamy's  Run,  In the film Mandya, he had lifted  sequences from Samba.  All this without obtaining remake rights.  And after watching a  film like Sriram, you can remember many sequences of Samrasimha Reddy and Narasimha Naidu.

Though the producers of a couple of films admit that their films are plagiarised,  I am surprised that the director of some films remain silent over the issue.

There are instances where some top Kannada film producers and directors have obtained awards-even the prestigious state government awards- for writing plagiarised stories.  There are instances when palgiarised films have obtained state awards in different categories, though rules have prohibited clearly. I do not want to go further deep in the matter as I would also be hurting many of my friends in the process.

But there are some people who do obtain remake rights from original films, but still claim that the screen play was written by them. Karulina Koogu is the best example, Though the film was based on a Malayalam Hit, the film's director D.Rajendra Babu who had made some changes in the film claimed that he is the screenplay writer of the film.

Ramesh Yadav lifted the whole second half of a Tamil film and added this to his film Krishna, but said that he had not done plagiarism. When Vikraman, the director of  origianal Tamil film dashed off a letter to KFCC he indulged in damange control exercises.   There are directors like P.Vasu who made changes to the extent of nearly fifty to sixty percent from original as in the case of  Aaptha Mithra, and also announced that the film is a remake of "Manichithra Taal'.  This has to be really appreciated.

Now, coming to the new brand of directors, there are many young directors who copy from Hollywood,  Korean and Thai films and still claim that the story and screenplay belongs to them.

Challenging Star Darshan spilled the beans about this new type of phenomenon when he started discussing about his film Chingaari.   "I was shooting in Goa when my young friend dance choreographer and director Harsha came to me to brief a script.  I heard the script and it seemed quite interesting. I only suggested Harsha to narrate the film on screen as he had told me.   Then in the evening when I returned to Hotel, I took my bath and ordered my food. Later I switched on the television to see a film on AXN channel.  To my surprise I found the story and situations similar to what Harsha had told me that afternoon.  I telephoned Harsha and told him that he had Indianised a Hollywood film very well. Then Harsha revealed the truth' said Darshan.

But what I heard from the newbie director Srinandan of newly launched film Agraja was quite different.   He said that he had borrowed the main  idea of the film from a non Kannada film, but he had written fresh sequences for the film. The film's producer Govardhan said that he had obtained the remake rights of the film.  He did not reveal the name of the original film fearing that some of the ideas and sequences can be borrowed by other film makers.  If he was so sure that he had made changes in his script and had written all fresh sequences of the film, he should have even revealed the name of the original.   But earlier actor Jaggesh who is doing a leading role in this film was claiming that  the director had written a wonderful script and story which had impressed him to the extent that he immediately agreed to do the project.

Srinandan has to be appreciated for his honesty.  But his idea of not revealing the original film's name was not convincing. The makers of Charulatha had obtained the rights of the Thai film, but have completely Indianised it.  If Korean directors and makers decide to file a suit on many Indian directors who have borrowed idea from their films, then many top directors of Indian film industry would be exposed for their plagiarism.

Director Pon Kumaran and Dwarakish have to be appreciated for their honest admission about the source of their film and their eagerness to compensate the efforts of the original makers.

But who will follow the example of  Srinandan and Pon Kumaran?  Many of our film directors are interested to be in limelight by borrowing heavily from Korean and other films, but refuse to acknowledge anything about original films.  By Indianising the original Thai and Korean versions, many directors feel that they are writing original scripts.

Frankly I am too eager to watch Pon Kumaran Charulatha and Srinandan's "Agraja' to assess their contribution to their respective films.

And many innocent Kannada film audience would believe them also, as they are not exposed to seeing too many films because of their preoccupation with personal work.  For them watching the film in a theatre or DVD is a source of entertainment. They would like a film or reject it according to their own perspective and mood while watching the film.   They would not have seen the original film even in today' world when communication levels has expanded to reach its peak levels.


(Article by R.G.Vijayasarathy)

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