There have been times when Bollywood has taken inspiration from every possible avenue to build their final product. Be it books, plays or simply Hollywood movies, the Hindi movie makers do not hold back in choosing hit stories and remaking them scene to scene. Sometimes, better sense has prevailed and they have successfully adapted the story with an Indian context.
Here are 23 movies which were brilliantly remade by Bollywood in spite of having major inspiration from films outside India.
Sanjay Dutt starrer Zinda took inspiration from the story of Oldboy, a 2003 South Korean movie about a guy who is kept in captivity for 15 years and then given 5 days to figure out why he was kidnapped. But what Gupta was more than capable in doing was capturing that feeling of dread and doom, which worked well for Sanjay Dutt who gave his career-best performance.
2- Kaante-Reservoir Dogs
The star-studded cast of Kaante, which starred the likes of Sanjay Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan was a macho and gritty action drama. Drawing upon the Hollywood classic Reservoir Dogs, the style, the characters and the presentation of the men undoubtedly had an undeniable inspiration from the Hollywood film. Though a product of Bollywood, Kaante is set in Los Angeles and contains a good deal of English dialogue. Kaante owes its success to Tarantino’s impeccable story, but Sanjay Gupta and his all-star cast clearly elevated the source material in newfound ways.
3- Chachi 420-Mrs. Doubtfire
Within four years of its release in 1993, Mrs. Doubtfire quickly spawned several foreign market adaptations. The Bollywood hit, Chachi 420, actually followed the Tamil remake, Avvai Shanmughi. Both films feature the central performance of Kamal Haasan, a man driven to extreme measures following a divorce with his wife. While many of the plot points remain the same across iterations, Chachi 420 puts a new spin on the American tale.
4- Sarkar-The Godfather
“When the system fails…a power will rise.” So begins the reverent Bollywood remake of Francis Ford Coppola’s crowning achievement, The Godfather. Ram Gopal Varma, director of Sarkar, has unequivocally admitted to crafting his film as an “homage” to the Corleone crime classic. With Bollywood film icon Amitabh Bachchan in the title role, Sarkar adheres strictly to the successful themes of The Godfather while adding levels of intrigue and culture from the streets of Mumbai.
5- Sangharsh-The Silence of the Lambs
The film which placed Ashutosh Rana as the most convincing villain, and solidified both Akshay and Preity’s acting abilities was the 1999 psychological thriller, Sangharsh. Though the Hindi version was compelling and well-executed, it was a remake of the iconic Anthony Hopkins movie The Silence of The Lambs. Using the prisoner and FBI agent formula, with slight tweaks to character, Akshay plays Hannibal Lecter whilst Preity Zinta plays Clarice Starling, but Ashutosh Rana more than makes up for it, overpowering his counterpart of Buffalo Bill in the original.
6- Baazigar-A Kiss Before Dying
Directed by Abbas-Mustan, this 1993 thriller film is inspired by the 1991 British flick ‘A Kiss Before Dying.’ It stars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and debutant Shilpa Shetty in the lead roles. The film was a massive critical and commercial success and established SRK as a lead actor.
7- Hum Tum-When Harry Met Sally
After Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan raised the question about whether a man and woman can be just friends in the 1989 film, Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherji debated the same thing for Indian viewers in Kunal Kohli directorial, in 2001. Charming performances by both Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee, meant that the remake somewhat recreated the magic of its original.
8- Satte Pe Satta-Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic film which includes super hit songs was loved for the crazy and chaotic story of seven brothers. This fun-filled movie was another Hindi film which was inspired by the Hollywood film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Amjad Khan was the remake’s Bollywood twist who was rather enjoyable to watch.
9- Black-The Miracle Worker
Acclaimed Bollywood film Black was ‘inspired’ by the 1962 movie The Miracle Worker which followed the life of American author Helen Keller and her tutor Anne Sullivan. Amitabh Bachchan played the role of the tutor in the Indian remake, where he educated Rani Mukherji’s character even as he suffered from bouts of Alzheimer’s.
10- Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander-Breaking Away
The Aamir Khan starrer Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar is one of the most popular films from the 90s. Directed by Mansoor khan the movie was acclaimed for its music and a strong inspiring screenplay. However, not many are aware that the storyline is inspired by the 1979 American film ‘Breaking away’ directed by Peter Yates and starred Denis Christopher, Denis Quaid.
11- Akele Hum Akele Tum-Kramer vs Kramer
Akele Hum Akele Tum is a popular musical drama film of the 1990s and marks as one of Aamir Khan’s finest of performances till date. The movie is considered one of the best works of director Mansoor Khan. However, the movie was inspired by the Hollywood classic Krammer vs Krammer starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep.
12- Ghulam-On The Waterfront
“I coulda had class! I coulda been a contender!” Marlon Brando’s immortal words are among the best remembered in cinema. Imagine another reality: after pouring his guts out to his brother, Terry Malloy (Brando) gets out of the car and proceeds to dance in the rain. This fantasy scenario is brought to life in Ghulam, the Bollywood remake of On the Waterfront. While the central premise and characters are consistent in both films, Ghulam takes many liberties and incorporates quintessential Bollywood flare.
13- Ek Ruka Hua Faisla-12 Angry Men
The pursuit of justice is universal. Sidney Lumet’s scorching courtroom drama 12 Angry Men set the bar high with its harrowing depiction of men confronting their personal biases to determine the fate of an unnamed defendant. In Ek Ruka Hua Faisla, the story is nearly identical to the original. The stakes are just as high, the jurors just as irascible, and the high-octane conclusion virtually unchanged. Director Basu Chatterjee continued the theatrical feel of 12 Angry Men, allowing his actors to hit occasionally histrionic marks for heightened effect.
14- Josh-West Side Story
Mansoor Khan’s Josh is inspired by the ageless Hollywood musical, West Side Story. The movie is about gang rivalry and love. Shah Rukh and Aishwarya are playing brother and sister. Chandrachur and Shah Rukh happen to be in opposite gangs and Aishwarya is in love with Chandrachur.
15- Life In A…Metro-The Apartment
Life in a Metro is one of those Bollywood films that is more realistic and less acclaimed. However, the film owes much of the critical acclaim that came its way to the multiple Academy Award winning film, The Apartment. The Anurag Basu-film captured the New York-fatigue in Mumbai without making it too reverential.
16- Manorama Six Feet Under-Chinatown
The remake of Roman Polanski’s China Town, Manorama Six Feet Under had all the qualities of the original version. The film successfully kept the classic neo-noir’s feel alive with its complexly clever plot and an immensely talented lot of characters. The cast including Abhay Deol, Vinay Pathak, Raima Sen and Kulbhushan Kharbanda are nothing short of stunning.
17- Shaurya-A Few Good Men
Shaurya has a very interesting storyline that keeps you hooked to the screen from the first to the last frame. The plot is inspired by Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson starrer ‘A Few Good Men’, which was nominated for the Academy Awards. However, putting aside the flaccid performances of Rahul Bose and Javed Jaaferri, the film is rescued by the quiet grace of Deepak Dobriyal and an explosive Kay Kay Menon.
18- Deewangee-Primal Fear
Ajay Devgn, Akshaye Khanna and Urmila Matondkar starrer Deewangee’s plot is centered around split personality, and was inspired from 1996 Hollywood thriller, Primal Fear. Ajay Devgn matches up to Edward Norton’s ace performance, however, Akshaye Khanna is no match for his Hollywood counterpart, Richard Gere.
19- Phir Milenge-Philadelphia
Despite the inherent differences between American and Indian culture, some stories can successfully traverse international boundaries. Philadelphia spoke not only to the gravity of the AIDS epidemic, but to the cultural and social backlash to those infected with the disease. Director Revathy took inspiration from this movie and changed the protagonist to a woman who when diagnosed with HIV, gets fired by her employers.
20- Musafir-U Turn
Sanjay Gupta’s Musafir draws its inspiration from Oliver Stone’s U-Turn. The Bollywood version starred a knife-wielding Sanjay Dutt with golden braces apart from Anil Kapoor, Sameera Reddy. The remake nailed the original’s campiness and also featured brilliant music by Vishal-Shekhar.
21- Sholay-The Magnificent Seven
Sholay is a classic movie and we all know that. But did you know that the plot of the movie is heavily inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s action flick Seven Samurai, and John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven.
22- Bheja Fry-Le Diner De Cons
Vinay Pathak has this aura that makes his films more charming and funny. His brilliant performance in the film that was very much inspired by the French film Le Diner Le Cons. The Bollywood remake has you in splits with its goofy humor. Ranvir Shorey’s and Vinay Pathak’s chemistry and comic timing are incredible.
This psychological thriller was highly appreciated with Rajeev Khandelwal receiving rave reviews for his role. Rajkumar Gupta’s gripping thriller was based on a Filipino-American movie where an expatriate visiting his family is told his family is being held ransom. And they will be killed unless he obeys a series of instructions on the phone. With an utterly gripping performance by Rajeev, this critically acclaimed film thrills and terrifies.