Piracy – The act of plagiarizing; taking someone’s words or ideas as if they were your own ; WordWeb Dictionary.
Which is worse? The act of stealing someone’s product without legitimately paying for it and consuming it (or) The act of stealing someone’s product and claiming it as your own?
Most people, I would say, is the latter. Every year, the Tamil film Industry suffers losses to the tunes of crores of Rupees. This is an indisputable fact. Whether there is a solution to this or not is questionable, but how many people in the Industry have a right to stake that claim on ethical grounds?
It is one thing to take inspirations and make films, especially those that are mythological and derived from our culture. Most of the original works and their copyrights have expired long time ago. Works of Epics like Mahabharatha and Ramayana have been adapted by ManiRathnam. The legendary story of Friendship between Krishna and Kuchela has been retold several times, most recently being adapted by Director Vasu for the Film ‘Kuselan’, but what about adaptations from contemporary works, which technically are copyrighted to someone else?
When a Director who has used short ‘Stories’ from Tinkle Digest from the 90s, for atleast two scenes in two different films ( Yes, Tinkle Digest) in a humourous capacity, and then cries ‘Piracy!!!’, most certainly, my sympathies will not go with him. [ I clearly remember reading the stories, but I am looking to trace them. The database of Tinkle Digest is obviously quite huge.]
Some songs have literally been ‘Xerox’ed. Even as early as 2006-07, websites like itwofs.com have been documenting instances of Music Plagiarism in Indian music. Inspirt of this, this trend continues. Off late, a Viral message ripped a recent movie to the Bone, and compared it with the Film ‘MidNight Express’ ( A film which I have not seen. But anyone who saw the video would get an inkling of what has ‘allegedly’ happened.) News Reports online show that the Producer of the Film has issued a show cause notice to the Director of their film.
The Word ‘Plaigiarism’ is an extremely subjective word. It falls on the grey line with words like ‘Inspiration’, ‘Co-incidence’ or even ‘Tribute’. This was also the case for one of the trends that happened a few years ago, when a few music Directors, in the names of re-mixes tore and destroyed the natural soul of a few Original songs, much to the chagrin of the music composers, who had neither been consulted nor had been credited.
And then K.Bhagyaraj alleged that one of his movies ‘Indru Poi Naalai Vaa’ had been ripped off by a comedian. Anyone who has seen both these movies, will know the truth, that its not a word for word translation. The contexts are very different, but what about the soul of the film? The depth of the characters, the relationships between them in moving the screenplay and the story forward. How do they match? I think in my view, that is what differentiates Plagiarism from the other words.
I want to take Aranmanai and ‘Aayiram Jenmangal’ as an example. Off late, I had met Director.Pasi Durai, and I had discussed this issue with him. I had no knowledge then that the producers had apparently filed a case. It is irrelevant to discuss here, what the final outcome of the case is. But, when I look at the comparison, I inevitably get the same feel here.
Aayiram Jenmangal is a more serious film, while Aranmanai is a typical, laugh riot, by Director Sundar C. The settings of the films are different. There are more side characters in Aranmanai, that add to its humour, which are not there in Aranmanai. But, what is the soul of the Film – Aayiram Jenmangal?
A man and a lady are in love. The lady dies under tragic circumstances, and the man has no idea what happens to his lady love. Over a period of time, he meets a new woman, falls in love with her, and gets married to her. The Brother of the Wife comes to meet his sister and brother in law, and they travel to some place, where some strange things happen. The soul of the original lover, enters the body of the Wife. They must conjugally mate for a night and live as Husband and Wife. If this happened, the Ghost ( Spirit of the Dead Girl) would permanently remain inside the body of the wife. The Brother comes to know about this. It is his duty now to ensure that his brother-in-law does not spend a night and do not conjugally meet for a certain number of days, in order to save his sister.
This is the story of Aayiram Jenmangal. I do not wish to make a comment about ‘Aranmanai’, but my view on one thing is clear.
Film Makers who consciously indulge in Plagiarism, off any sort, should simply better stop adding #KillPiracy to their Twitter Tweets.