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 –
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.
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.
Barry 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‘s Sartaj 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 –
Quite disappointing if the news about Udta Punjab is true https://t.co/NK4zr8Hb9m anyone read the novel? can enlighten?
— सात्विक स्नोब (@NotSoSnob) September 23, 2016
— Pãrmãr Rãhül (@DirectorRahulR) September 28, 2016
Arre bhai every one liked the film but to ignore it’s plagiarism charge & bring FTII on this ,samajh se pare https://t.co/RxiQM6kVcr
— कसम उड़ान छल्ले की (@anuragspks) September 28, 2016
— Sushant Mishra (@mishra_sus) September 28, 2016
Basic plot, names of characters, scenes even damned plot points are just ripped off. “High” Society = “Udta” Punjab. https://t.co/Zh2UZMiBtQ
— Overtly Covert (@bwoyblunder) September 28, 2016
Too much yaar fudduness. So much similar between Udta Punjab and High Society: https://t.co/8esYvVoeND
— Roshni Devi (@Roshni_Devi) September 28, 2016
What are your thoughts?