Barfi! has released, going strong at the box office too, and the reactions have been quite good so far. Though the critics liked it but most of them were not very impressed. Click here for all the reviews and the average rating. And there have been some interesting reactions too – from a glorious one by Rangan to self-reflective piece by Jai Arjun Singh.

But the point of this post is to find out where we draw the line for homage, inspiration and plagiarism. It seems Anurag Basu lifted many scenes from various films. If it was some other filmmaker, it would have been easy to say that it was all homage. And more so because “Charlie Chaplin” can be counted as a a genre now. But Basu has quite a history – Murder, Saaya, Life In A Metro. Having said that, as i wrote in this post earlier, i would like to reiterate that i still like his direction and he has a visual flair.

To start the homage, inspired or plagiarised debate, first watch the following videos.

  • Starting with this clip from Kikujiro. Seems like the art director/AD was told to even get a similar nail and place it in the same way.

Tip – Arun venugopal

Tanqeed has put a post with all the other scenes/videos which are currently being discussed. We are putting the same videos here too.

  • Remember this funny sliding door scene from Barfi!

Now watch this clip from Chaplin’s The Adventurer.

Homage?

  • The mother-daughter scene from “The Notebook” which almost every critic has mentioned.
  • But it would be too far fetched to say that even the climax is copied because it’s quite a generic scene.
  • Two sequences from Singing In the Rain – the nose one and the doll sequence. from 1:50 onward.
  • Another scene from Chaplin’s City Lights.

But many have pointed out that there was a poster of Chaplin in one of the scenes. I guess that makes it a homage. Right?

  • The ladder scene from Buster Keaton film was obvious. But there’s another bit. In the first 5 second.
  • The bicycle chase scene in the narrow lanes and the act of tapping the windows reminds you of Jackie Chan. Does it?
  • And Rajeev Masand has mentioned in his review that the kidnapping subplot seems to be inspired from Gone Baby Gone. Agree?

Anything else? Looking at all these scenes i am sure that there are more scenes from here and there for which we have not been able to trace the original. So is it all original till we find the source?

Also, anyone seen the Korean film Oasis? Enlighten us.

So where do you put Anurag Basu’s B! now – H, I or P?

Or should we go back to Godard – “Its not where you take things from, its where you take them to”?

UPDATE – 24th September, 2012

Finally, an interview of Anurag Basu where he opens up about the plagiarism charges. Anuradha Sengupta has interviewed Basu for her show, Beautiful People. And good on her part that she didn’t let him skip the questions (10:11 onwards – Life In A Metro and Barfi!).

And we sincerely thank her for giving credit to our blog (at 10:50).

She also talks to him about Barfi’s success, Kites’ failure, his filmmaking style, how it’s democratic or not, trigger point of the film and other such topics. Do watch.

UPDATE – Now, finally the source of clock scene too.

via Kuldeep Patel.

Comments
  1. For the jackie chan scene, it just reminds us of that. No particular act seems to be copied though. We have seen such chases in many cartoons already. We need to search for cartoons now to find plagiarism there.

    As you said Charlie Chaplin is now a genre and almost everyone in their reviews has mentioned “Chaplinesque” so we should consider it as inspiration or homage though they are blatant rip-off.

    Rest seems to directly lifted. And yes, why Basu didnt even bother to change the nail from Kikujoro?

  2. aj says:

    The scene where the doctor asks Ranbir Kapoor to pay up 7K for the operation [Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance]

  3. Chetan Motiwalla says:

    P
    Even if one is inspired by Chaplin, you should not copy. Create a new scene of your own in Chaplin style keeping the homage in mind. Or treat your film in a way when you are inspired by a film maker or a film etc.
    And especially with a film like Barfi, one cannot be allowed to go scott free in the disguise of H or I.
    Very upsetting.

  4. Anunay Barbhuiya says:

    I felt the same while watching the movie.. the door scene between sourav shukla and ranbir, the mother-daughter scene, the ladder scene and the puppet scene made me feel that.. but as a whole when the movie ended and I came out of the theater, I really didn’t want to analyze it. The movie kinda gives you a good feeling, which I didn’t want to lose.

  5. Varun Varghese says:

    It all could have been justified…he could have made Barfi a film buff…Chaplin fan! ;)

  6. aj says:

    Sudhish Kamath in his review had compared Black and Barfi by saying “it has many striking resemblances. . . [both the movies] they are at the opposite ends of the spectrum”. I would say the comparison between Oasis and Barfi would be more fitting w.r.t his opinion above.

  7. Animesh says:

    can’t deny few scenes were copied. but wasn’t the story an original one?? didn’t it touch ur heart?? wasn’t the acting excellent?? wasn’t the direction top notch??

    how many movies a year manages to touch our heart. hardly there’s one or two. Barfi is one such movie which makes u feel for the characters.
    so, with all due respect i would give the entire credit to anurag basu for barfi.

  8. “Gone Baby Gone” is a *huge* leap to make. Barely any similarities at all.

  9. Dipanjan says:

    H.

    We live in a cynical world indeed.

  10. arijit says:

    Anyway I loved it ~ Doesnt matter even if its H,I or P !

    On a lighter note ~ AV and TDKR had similar climax ;)

  11. [...] are a couple posts – the initial and original one is here by Tanqeed, and MoiFightClub later picked up on that and did a post of their own comparing some of the lifted scenes. You can [...]

  12. Manish says:

    if 1,2 or 3 scenes were copied, it would have been easier to say H or I but almost 60% scenes are copied, it possibly can’t be anything but P. Actually these scenes almost ruined the movie for me for which i had huge expectations.

  13. bhavesh says:

    Also some scenes are copied from a korean movie ‘Sympathy for Mr.Vengence’

  14. Abhisek says:

    The scene where he looks at the crotch of the almost naked guy and later finds out its a newspaper is a copied scene too. I saw it somewhere on youtube. It’s an ad for a newspaper I guess.

  15. Aman says:

    Dev D reminded me of Head On and the way the titles Paro,Chanda and Dev D come up reminded me of The Edge of Heaven’s titles(I think even the font was same,not sure).I didn’t mind it then,why should I mind it now.Apart from Kikujiro scene and The Notebook one I enjoyed everything including the Keaton,Chaplin etc etc

  16. kaku says:

    fuck with all those fucking intellect reviews! you are all morons!

    • Sameer says:

      At least they are intellectual morons, unlike the moronic morons, who have nothing meaningful or significant to say!!! God bless you!!!

  17. odshek says:

    Much before ranbir, johnny depp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxTiMb32_FE took charlie chaplin`s scene too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww5pb-z0o0I :P
    m sure no sane person in the west accuses benny and joon`s director for plagiarism hahaha

  18. Suma says:

    Many fail to copy scenes perfectly too.. which is done here and tailored.. sick of remakes of south indian… some thing different which was touching, after roja, anjali, gitanjali.. there is something more than love , sex, entertainment in this movie!!

  19. Gaurav says:

    Even Tarantino does a lot of homage thing, but I guess there’s a thin line between paying homage and just blatantly copying a particular scene.

  20. shyam says:

    shameful act and with gusto and in the name of `good cinema’….better you make Dabaang and Ready!!!

  21. MP says:

    Taking your naive “date” on a train, throwing food to poor people and then jumping off and rolling down an embankment was straight up “Fried Green Tomatoes” (and I said as such to my date just before The Notebook part started).

  22. fattiemama says:

    I read somewhere that the Singin’ in The Rain sofa sequence itself was copied from Chaplin. I don’t know from where but when I watched it the first thing I thought was ‘oh that’s Chaplin’, I’d seen it before. Dunno from which movie though. Ab kya bole?

    • TTS says:

      Singing in the Rain is a tribute to the silent era films… or more specifically the transition between silent to talkies… so that is not unusual…

  23. Hema says:

    The entire style of cinematography and music is that of Amelie poulain and a lot of scenes and background taken from the korean movie “The Classic” (The firefly, watermelon etc)

    • vml says:

      Absolutely! That’s why I still haven’t seen the movie. The movie trailer reminded me so strongly of Amelie – the mood, cinematography, music and I decided to not see Barfi. I don’t know if I’ll change my mind in future, but it’s a no for now.

  24. Hema says:

    For those who haven’t watched these other films, it gives you a good feeling.. and for those of us who have watched the other films.. its disturbing.. you are constantly reminded, shit! this is from that movie.. isn’t this from this movie.. :(

  25. Bala Chander says:

    What if i told u Dibarkar Benerjee’s Shanghai is a Rip off of the Movie Z 1969 by Cost Gavras :P

  26. Barfi says:

    [...] sequences when the cops are chasing Barfi, the sequences had the unmistakable slapstick humor of Charlie Chaplin or for that matter the scene with the ladder reminded me of the Laurel and Hardy humor. Barfi falls [...]

  27. vikash says:

    well so much for homage(Bollywood or Hollywood)…can’t you just put up a few words about it in the credits..if no…then you are a fucking thief.

    @Gaurav : We have quite mastered the art of being cynical haven’t we :D

  28. vikash says:

    Talking about homages
    (yes I know the discussion over here is about barfii yet this is fun :D )

  29. K-yur kazavadara (@kyurkaz) says:

    Albert einstein : d secret 2 creativity iz knowing how 2 hide ur sources….

    Anurag basu : fuck u, i don care….

  30. This post makes for a nice reading after reading the above – http://thegabbar.com/everything-is-a-remix/

    • moifightclub says:

      Have put this comment in that post too.

      “You can tell me and disagree with me but don’t try to convince me” Naah, not trying. just giving my 2 cents. or maybe more.

      1. If Basu had a clean slate, it would have been easy to give him some benefit of doubt. But he comes with the history of Murder, Saaya and Life In A Mtero and some of which are scene by scene copy. So that’s not new to him. No points there.

      2. I still consider him a good director and like his visual style which i think is his strength.

      3. If only he had opened the film with homage to blah blah blah, it would have been a clear picture. but the tendency in bollywood is that oh people will get to know then. so why give homage. So even when u r taking scenes from here and there, why are you scared to admit it? maybe because you are scared that it’s not legal. or enlighten me please.

      4. Just because QT and AK has done it, that doesn’t justify anything. Even many desi legends have done it in the past. But that’s no excuse. Refer to the docu four step plan. Both QT and AK have faced similar criticism in the past. AK has faced it for Aamir (Cavite), Ticket chewing scene in DevD (from a short), GoW (Urf Professor which he admits if am not wrong) and even when the text in the promo was copied, we made that it was pointed out. here https://moifightclub.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/first-look-vikramaditya-motwanes-udaan-trailer-why-is-the-text-plagiarised/

      5. There is a thin line between homage and inspiration, and then comes plagiarism. at the end of the day it’s just your personal judgement. But if i have put my time, space, energy, soul and more into anything creative, i would hate if someone copies/ gets inspired/pays homage without acknowledging it. And i would hate some other artist getting the same treatment. But then it’s your work ethics. i guess you think differently. or maybe you have never faced such situation. if not, i hope you do so soon.

      6. About everything is remixed. Go back to Godard. “Its not where you take things from, its where you take them to”. This is where QT scores. with his writing and direction talent, he overcompensated everything. But still that doesn’t give him a clean slate. But you know he is not just another guy who copies. And again this is also personal judgement.

      • Anurag Basu is dishonest and not crediting the inspirations is a major faux-pas. He remains a good director. He may never ascend to greatness however.

        Still, Barfi! is a really good film and as a viewer I loved it.

        Agreed with your points and I still love you @cilemasnob :)

      • Sameer says:

        You have summed up the whole discussion perfectly!!! Especially points 5 & 6 will put things in perspective for those who justify copying(use whatever word you may like for it)…I’m a musician & I’d feel real bad if somebody did that to my work without acknowledging it!!!

      • Oorvazi says:

        Well put ! Barfi has brought to the surface an important aspect of Indian cinema and the big question is as you rightly put it ‘its not where you take things from, its where you take them to’ and Anurag Basu has received support from the Mahesh Bhatt camp and they are famous for lifting scenes from films, this is convenient cut paste, making the audience sitting fools(which many are still ready to accept they don’t see the difference). It is not easy to be original and successful, this is the easy way out and some get away but i don’t think this time.

    • Mash says:

      Very well and cohesively said by him. I’ve posted the same on his blog.

      Like someone said, ”nothing is created, everything is recreated”.

      However, it all comes down to the image & intent of the director/creative person.

      We the audience like to see the hard work, honesty, authenticity.

      It is obvious that a writer/director need not have an experience of personally raping, stabbing or witnessing somebody stabbing a person to replicate it on screen. The director flips back his visual memory & designs such shots from it. Perhaps how Anurag Kashyap did while planning the stabbing & chopping scene in GOW which connects my memory to Pusher II(Mikkelsen stabbing his father) & III(Buric chopping the body) respectively. And there are many other such references, however, GOW is still an authentic film as these scenes are more used as reference vis-a-vis Barfi which is frame by frame rip off. The difference is the image and intent of AK & AB. While AK did most of his research in field, AB did most of it in his mind or from his library of films. Or if I have to agree with you that everything is a remix then AB invested very less time & money on DVDs, while AK\’s database is far better. But I do not completed agree with him justifying that ”everything” is a remix. Every now & then people like him say this & every year a dozen authentic efforts like A Separation, The Hurt Locker, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Master etc come like a slap in such people’s face.

      One of the essential elements of a film/story is to challenge the creative intellect of the audience. Most bollywood films fail to do that, the audience can feel the influence either consciously or subconsciously. As long as these influences remain hidden, the audience doesn’t mind being fooled, in fact we love being fooled ever since the time of magicians. But one can not enjoy it if these influences are are picked up by the conscious mind itself. We loved being fooled but we love to catch & boo boo too, specially if the individual fooling us is a celebrity, semi-educated & ten times more paid.

      Lets not judge the overall honesty of QT’s approach, image & passion, his sorry youtube sample is more indicative of his laziness in finding facts to support the blog, just like easy goers in bollywood. Perhaps he should have searched for the rather more popular one.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HgbSAL8OKY.

      His graphs look lovely though. That’s some work.

  31. abhishek says:

    you forgot Mr. Bean

  32. Tamizhan paarkavi says:

    u forgot to mention adoor gapala krishnan’s Mathilgal.. The shoe swinging sequence :-)

  33. Bourbon13 says:

    Amelie..Cameraworks and the three musicians… Amelie amelie… but yeah this movie feels better than the rest of the hindi cinema…but sadly a medley of chori ka meal! like the director went to the movie show picked the best scenes from the best movies ever and stitched them together with a wonderful storyline… :)

  34. ashish dixit says:

    Its easy when you don’t like a film and you can easily laugh, abuse after discovering things like this.Problem is when you love the film and can’t decide which side to be on.Some in this discussion are lucky to be on one side but I am confused/sad and so seems moifightclub.

  35. Gaurav Mehra says:

    as Jim jarmusch says:- http://thechive.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/inspiring-others-5.jpg?w=500 , after this i think Basu made authentic movie ( i am forgetting his past before ‘Metro’ for the instant)

  36. What about scenes in The Artist which were lifted from many classics? The Breakfast scene especially, an entire Citizen Kane rip-off. Oscar phir bhi mila na?

  37. Kir says:

    Hey there is a scene from a Swedish ad for a newspaper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRiYkwtBK34 check out the first commercial.

  38. Someone please ask Ms Sengupta what’s the word she can’t say on TV. ;)

  39. “All the kind of stories have been told” – Ohh please, Mr.Basu!

  40. JG says:

    There are scenes lifted from Fried Green Tomatoes – the train scene and the way that car is lifted out of the river. Life is Beautiful – the father walks like a soldier to entertain his child – ranbir kapoor copies the same walk to impress priyanka chopra.
    Every scene looked taken.

  41. John Galt says:

    ”Barfi has been selected for the Oscars because it was an original story. Do you think the people who are sitting there screening films didn’t know?” – Anurag Basu.

    Like the Filmfare people ‘knew’ the Sharman Joshi track from Metro WASN’T from The Apartment.

    And this is a guy who says I write my ‘own’ scripts. Perhaps he thought if he did too much of screenplaygiri, flashbackgiri, criss-crossgiri, nobody would notice.

    The point is not whether you copied or not Mr. Basu. The point is, here I’m thinking Wow! Kya mast scene hai then realizing later ki bhen**** ye to yahaan se maara hua hai.

    Simply not done.

  42. [...] Barfi! This Article has a collection of Movies from which Anurag Basu had lifted scenes for Barfi. And Also the Video [...]

  43. assman says:

    Certified copy.

    For people arguing that there’s nothing like original and everything is remixed/consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously borrowed/inspired from our own exposure to media.. crap. Originality exists and some movies are more original than others. For instance City Lights is more original than Barfi, Amelie is more original than Barfi, The Notebook is more original than Barfi… So it goes.

  44. krantichou says:

    We can be inspired but lifting scenes from another movie and claiming its an original is outright plagiarism. Film makers from around the world need to pass some strict copyright laws. We will see if Anurag Basu will be able to make a “Barfi” then. The worst part is that they do not acknowledge that the story or the scenes have been inspired or more like copied. I guess you need balls to do that and our pseudo-creative directors naturally won’t have them. And then this scene stealer of a “Barfi” gets nominated for an Oscar???? Does the Indian Oscar committee think the the Oscar Jury are a bunch of dumb nitwits? What happened to Paan Singh Tomar and Gangs of Wasseyapur? Or the many creative regional films.
    This other director that had me fuming was this “new sensation” in the South, Vijay. He made Deiva Thirumagal, which is a total rip-off of I Am Sam. He proudly flaunts his name in the credits Story, Screenplay and Direction(although I don’t see much of direction or anything in there, since he just copied the original). Even Vikram’s hair and clothes we styled the way it was for Sean Penn in I Am Sam!!! Why didn’t he just show the original movie with subtitles? I wouldn’t have been this mad at this copycat director then.
    As long as we copy, our Indian films will never win an Oscar. I wonder why nobody gets inspired by our very own Satyajit Ray? Or a K.Balachander, a Balu Mahendra or a K.Vishwanath (am from the south so I am more familiar with these directors) for their originality?

  45. nachiketa says:

    Its an earnest request for all film lovers…Call or message to these numbers
    Mr Vinod Lamba (president , FFI) : 098113 81150
    Mr TP aggarwal (Vice president, FFI ) : 98214 69999 , 98206 47182 and raise a voice to withdraw barfi (which has shamlessly copied scenes and music too )from representing India in Oscars…And send an original film like Paan Singh Tomar , Gangs Of Wasseypur , Alms of Blind Horse and other regional movies….
    Watch the video..Spread the word…Please help the Film industry to be More clean , transparent and corruption free ! Raise the voice !

    Please raise the voice against the film selection..It will create a bad name for Indian cinema…It so sad to see the current state of Indian cinema…

  46. rhlsg says:

    I am quite sure i saw that scene also in some Chaplin movie, where the paper sticks to his shoe/feet/hand and then he lays down to let it stick to someone else’s shoe. but i dont know where i have seen that.

  47. st says:

    Compilation of all ‘inspirations’ revealed by this and other sites: http://youtu.be/0Zk_IK0Yo8A

  48. [...] — is that quite a few scenes are blatant lifts from several international (cult) films. One website dedicated to cinema gives us an exhaustive list with video clips of the originals to boot, and [...]

  49. [...] — is that quite a few scenes are blatant lifts from several international (cult) films. One website dedicated to cinema gives us an exhaustive list with video clips of the originals to boot, and [...]

  50. Vivek says:

    And here’s his defence – “The idea was that film lovers will see these iconic scenes in Barfi! and spot them.”
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/-i-m-yet-to-find-my-voice-/1008326/0

    • vml says:

      A**hole!!! What did he think? That internet users and movie geeks wouldn’t be able to spot his thievery? It’s dumb to question the knowledge of audience in the present age of media. I don’t know who is a bigger a**hole – Basu for shamelessly copying or the FFI for sending it to the Academy.

  51. XYZ says:

    There is one scene where Jhilmil is analyzing her body in the mirror. That scene is copied from Bridges of Madison Country..

  52. John Galt says:

    Guess a lot of people are secretly pleased – not because we like to run down a supposedly ‘good’ film maker – which we anyways love to do, but because ab sabko licence mil gaya to copy. And they can easily justify it by giving Barfi’s example… So, that ways a Laxmanrekhaa has been crossed for sure.

  53. bbg says:

    In his defense Anurag Basu has been saying he was merely paying homage to Chaplin and Keaton. But as you can see in the clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEd8b6LzCZ4, he has also paid tribute to the third comedy genius of the 1920′s, Harold Lloyd. Why did then Anurag Basu never mention his name? Or was he thinking this at least would never be caught?

  54. Famous Writer Uday Prakash Just wrote something in favor of Burfi. Here a good debate is going on so I am copy-pasting his remarks….

    Uday Prakas said,

    1. “Barfi stands apart from many of Bollywood films, in a sense, that it has a recall of great classics of the past woven in an original narrative. Anurag Basu exploits many layers of memories, hitherto UN-parallel to Hindi cinema, one layer is construct of the memory of the protagonist, ‘Barfi’ (Ranveer Kapoor) and other layer is the replication of memories of innumerable films, from (you name any, Chaplin, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt and so many. It’s a structurally complex film. It’s like some author arduously works on an original narrative, having recalls of past classic narratives, woven in the present tense….( Will be writing in elaborations…just wait..although I’m not a film critic. Barfi stands apart…I strongly support it for Oscars….)”

    2. “Govt. nominations for Oscars have never been insulated from the questions and criticisms. When ‘Paheli’ was sent,(Amol Palekar/ Shahrukh Khan) a few years ago, many felt the ‘Black’ was conspiratorially ignored. The Black epitomized the bests of excellence of both, Rani Mukharji and Amitabh Bacchan. Even, Vijaydan Detha, the author of ‘Duvidha’, a famous short story, which had already been picked for a one time classic, receiving numerous international critical acclaims (inclusive of Cannes F.F.), was not convinced and came out openly against the nomination. Nominating a film by the govt. does not ensure an award. Anyway, as for as ‘replicating’, ‘recreating’, ‘lifting’ , ‘emulating’ more than 20 well known (even a layman or casual viewer of classics can trace it) films and then restructuring it to tell a most sensitive, moving story is certainly not an easy task. And if you go down a little at micro structural layer, what would one say about – ‘Acting’. ‘Music’, ‘Colors’ and Verbal textures, well woven throughout the film Barfi, uniformly with enviable excellence. In my humble opinion, Priyanka Chopra would find it almost impossible to perform again or transcend ever her ‘acting’ in another film in future. (here, I certainly not reducing her ‘caliber’ as an artist with immense possibilities, however, would like to add here that he is Anurag Basu, The Director, who has dug out her hidden talent in his film.) Umesh Pant ji and Rangnath Singh ji, should we here recall the great 20th century genius in fiction- Borges, who had virtually re-written stories of Franz Kafka and many others. Vijaydan Detha, the maestro of fiction is condemn by many, like Tulsi Das, who had emulated or had told the folklore which had already been told hundreds of times before by many others earlier. In my opinion, ‘Barfi’, even if it’s a collage or an installation of earlier classics, it should not be treated as a ridiculous sample of ‘plagiarism’. For example, how can one ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ Sunny Deol over Chaplin or Raj Kapoor for that matter? And can anyone again write ‘Duvidha’ based on the same folk fable of Rajsthan again? (..And the best side of A. Basu is this- he has struggled brilliantly to lift out Bollywood Commercial Cinema from the ditch of nightmarish box office trades of ‘Violence’. (It’s a commercial film, grabbing plenty of currency, INR or Dollars, it intended…and ..’Oscar’ ? ‘voh to billi ke bhaagya se chheenkaa toot gayaa hai’…!!”

  55. [...] had already read numerous blog-posts like this one with a detailed list of which scene was plagiarized from where. But while watching the movie none [...]

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