Anil Thakraney: Barfi! is jacked!

05 Oct,2012

By Anil Thakraney


There’s a heated debate going on in the media on the issue of the film Barfi! being sent as India’s entry for the Oscar awards. I haven’t watched the film yet (though must say the Twitter reviews have been quite flattering). So am in no position to comment on the merits of the film. Perhaps it deserved to be chosen.


However, soon after the entry was sent to LA, knives, cutters and blades are out to kill the film’s chances. Deadly accusations of plagiarism are being flung around, it’s alleged that the director Anurag Basu has lifted many scenes from international cinema, in fact, they say he’s literally copied them. I don’t think Indian film journalists are behind these accusations, most of them don’t have the skill or knowledge to run such an expose. Clearly, these are Basu’s rivals at work, or directors of films that didn’t get chosen for an Oscar entry.


All very fine, and rats do need to be brought out from under the red carpet. The problem is this: Oscar awards’ jurors aren’t a bunch of jokers (unlike the Indian cricket team selectors!), and once they have appreciated a foreign film, they will most likely Google it for reviews and other inputs. So that they make an informed decision. And Barfi!’s pages are screaming with links on plagiarism stories and articles. There is no way the jurors will vote for a copycat flick, even if it’s an excellent piece of work. Barfi!’s chances are as good as finished. They may as well withdraw the entry.


What saddens me about this incident is the crab mentality that Indian creative people suffer from. Even for ad awards there have been constant accusations of rival creative directors deliberating sabotaging campaigns. That sick attitude of: ‘Main nahin jeeta, ab iski maaroonga.’


I really don’t know when we’ll learn to be confident of our own work, and applaud those to do better work. The correct thing would have been to screw Barfi! and its maker AFTER the Oscar awards is done. So that an Indian film is allowed a shot at scoring a prize.


Alas, it was not to be. We will win nothing at the Academy awards. Yet again.




PS: While on the subject of cheating, here’s another one. Ad film directors often cheat while shooting to generate a dramatic effect. That’s quite usual, and no one bats an eyelid. But when the cheating is done to directly enhance a promise that the brand makes in the ad, then we go into the area of fraud. Here’s an alert soul who’s busted Nokia. This example is a warning for all advertisers and their ad agencies to operate within the ethical zone.




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