Times Of India and Scroll. in recently did a piece on the unmissable similarities between Udta Punjab and the 2002 novel High Society by Ben Elton and that has created ripples all over the Internet. Udta Punjab is one of the most significant movies of 2016, that’s why people are surprised at how ‘inspired’ the movie actually is. Here are some of the main story-lines from the book and the film which are rather similar –
1) Tommy Singh – Tommy Hanson
In the book, Tommy Hanson is a very successful rocker who is a drug addict. He attained stardom after winning a competition called Pop Hero. In the movie we have Shahid Kapoor who plays Tommy Singh, a rockstar who became a big name after winning an underground competition in London and has a history of substance abuse.
2) Mary Jane – Jessie
Jessie is a 17 year old girl who has run away to London from her home in Scotland. She is coerced into prostitution by a pimp who gets her addicted to drugs. The story follows her attempts to escape her pimp and her battle against drug addiction. Mary Jane, played by Alia Bhatt goes through the same ordeal after she runs away from her home in Bihar and comes to Punjab.
3) Commander Barry Leman – Sartaj Singh
arry is a high ranking police officer who becomes obsessed with exposing a politically funded drug racket after a friend of his daughter’s is horrifically sexually assaulted. Diljit Dosanjh‘sSartaj Singh is shown to be nonchalant over the rampant drug abuse in Punjab. He becomes obsessed with tracking this menace down only after he realizes his brother is an addict.
Scroll.in has broken down even more similarities between the film and the book (including the scene where Shahid and Alia meet).
When the movie’s screenwriter Sudip Sharma was asked for a comment by the website, he denied that High Society had any part to play in the creation of Udta Punjab. Here’s what he said –
“Not really. The one big inspiration for me was Traffic (a 2000 movie based on the illegal drug trade between Mexico and the United States). I had read the book (High Society) a long time back. I don’t remember most of it.”
When contacted by The Hindu, here’s what the film’s producer Anurag Kashyap said –
“I know for a fact that my director and writer went and spent a lot of time in Punjab researching the film, and have seen the research. If they were in any way inspired by the book, which only they know, they have done a damn good job in the writing of the script. Because the film that I read and I saw, seemed very very rooted in the land.”
The Internet was disappointed –
“News: Plagiarism Charges leveled Against #UdtaPunjab Makers 4 lifting Story,Characters 4m 2002 Novel ‘High Society’ By Ben Elton.@aliaa08— Pãrmãr Rãhül (@DirectorRahulR) September 28, 2016”
What are your thoughts?