Even before the cast and crew of India’s entry for best foreign language film at next year’s Oscars “Barfi” could begin celebrating, the movie is in the thick of a controversy for allegedly copying scenes of foreign movies, including those featuring legendary Charlie Chaplin.
Since “Barfi” had hit screens two weeks ago, several videos have spread through social media sites and television channels highlighting a number of scenes that appear to draw heavily from international classics, including Gene Kelly’s 1952 hit “Singing in the Rain”, Jackie Chan’s “Project A”, Buster Keaton’s “Cops” and “The Notebook”.
The plot of “Barfi” has been projected as having been drawn from “Benny and Joon”, the 1993 film starring Johnny Depp and the soundtrack has drawn further comparisons with the musical score from “Amelie”.
One scene showing Barfi (played by Ranbir Kapoor) dodging a policeman through a sliding door and kicking him on the back is a clear lift from Chaplin’s film “The Adventurer”.
Anurag Basu, the director of “Barfi”, has defended his film saying it is “intentionally paying homage” to Chaplin in a similar way to “The Artist”, the black-and-white silent film that won Best Picture at this year’s Oscars.
“If I would have changed the shot, twisted things around and made it my own it would have been stealing,” Basu told the Headlines Today news channel.
“I did shot-to-shot because they are famous iconic shots and scenes from famous masterpieces, every filmmaker knows them.”
It is, of course, not the first time that Bollywood has faced the charge of remaking Hollywood hits.
Critics have also questioned if “Barfi” is a better choice for Oscar entry than some others movies it had been beaten in the race like “Kahani”, “Paan Singh Tomar” and “Gangs of Wasseypur” (the last title reminiscent of Hollywood hit “Gangs of New York”).
-With The Daily Star input