Zinda Buddha Beta (Old Boy Is Alive)

[Okay here is another bit of fiction from the Greatbong. After all of you (well almost all) panned my last post, this is my revenge—another short story. I shall keep on writing such posts till I get positive comments.

This is also my review of the movie “Zinda”]

Sanjay Gupta, director of “Kaante”, “Zinda” and other Bollywood classics, wakes up one morning. His mind is reeling—last memory he had was a drunk evening with Sanjay Dutt, Mahesh Manjrekar groveling in front of Dubai Bhai on the phone and doing screen tests for some actresses.

But where is he now? A small room with one television set, a rack full of DVDs—it is obvious to him he has been kidnapped.

But by whom? He had given the overseas rights to Bhai, sought the “blessings” of the Balasaheb–in all discharged all the duties of a Mumbai director/producer. And yet why is he in this solitary room with just a TV set , DVDs and a plate of pao bhaji inserted through a hole in the door?

He breaks down. Pleading with his unknown captor to let him go. But noone replies to his anguished cries. He only gets regular meals of the same pau bhaji and nothing else. The TV tells him about the outside world—-and then there are the DVDs. Realizing he can do nothing else and besides he always made films based on DVDs, Sanjay Gupta starts watching these movies one by one. Putting the time to good use—he thinks.

Aaah what a treasure trove. He starts making copious mental notes of which movies to copy once he gets out, how to “Indianize” it and how to pass off each of them as his creations. But he knows not when he shall get out—if at all.

From time to time, a strange tune plays (he notes in his mind to copy that tune once he gets out), his room fills with noxious gas—the kind one smells after one too many bean burritos and he collapses. When he comes to, he finds he has been shaved, bathed and his DVDs replenished with new ones.

A year passes. And another. On the TV he sees all the movies he had plans of Indianizing being remade one by one by his one-time friends—Manjrekar, Ramgopal Verma and suchlike. All his babies being taken away from him in front of his own eyes and Sanjay Gupta powerless—confined in this hellhole. He breaks down, tries slashing his wrists with a extras DVD (the 2nd disc noone watches) but his evil captor wont even let him die.

And then he decides to strike back. No more wallowing in self pity. He tells himself that he has to keep himself alive in order to seek revenge on the man who has imprisoned him. It is obvious that it is one of his “friends” who have kept him imprisoned so that he can pass of Hollywood/Korean movies as his own and not have to contend with the master of the lift—Sanjay Gupta.


He starts thinking for the first time in his life—working on a original plot. He makes copious notes, does and redoes the script—after all he has all the time in the world. Because when and if he comes out, he needs something “original” to get into the game—something to challenge his friends who have taken the patent on copying while he rots in this cell.

Then it happens. 15 years to the day he was kidnapped he is released. He finds himself on the top of a Mumbai roof, a set of cool shades and a wad of cash in his pocket. And a cell phone. Which rings. A voice says :” You have 5 days to find out who did this to you—-that is find out who I am. I can either be a madman or someone who hates you so much that he could do this to you”.

Sanjay Gupta then embarks on a mission of singular revenge and hate where he goes after his captors. Hammers are wielded, teeth fly, blood splatter, tons of paubhaji are consumed and then in an amazingly original scene where with a director’s megaphone stuck up his ass, Sanjay Gupta takes on a roomfull of murderous clapper-boys.

And then the climax. He comes face to face with his nemesis. Sanjay Gupta is zapped. No it is not a Bhai. It is not Subhas Ghai. It is not the husband of any starlet who auditioned for an item number for his movies.

It is a Chinese-type guy—Sanjay Gupta asks “Kaun bhe tu?” (Who the hell are you?)

The evil man smiles—Sanjay you lift my movie in its totality to make “Zinda”—and publicly claim that you only took a scene. And then to top it off, you cannot even recognize me when I am standing in front of you. I am Chan-wook Park, the director of “Oldboy”.

Sanjay: And for this you ruined 15 years of my life. Ruined so many scripts of mine. Just for this one small thing? And oh for your information, “Zinda” is not a straight lift —it is an “Indianization” of your movie…..

Park: Indianization—now what’s that? Is it like taking a while loop and making it into a “repeat-until”? Or taking a variable “i” and renaming it “counter” ? That kind of originality, Mr Sanjay Gupta? Is that what’s called Indianization?

Sanjay: No no wait. I did make a lot of changes. Like you had the guy kidnapped from a police station after a drunken binge —waiting to go to his daughter’s birthday party. I made him “pretending” to be drunk so that he gets a seat in a posh restaurant where he didnt have reservations. Plus in ” Zinda” the wife was pregnant but the hero didnt know it—in “Oldboy” he already has a daughter.

Park: Oh wow. So was this change something that was your idea or was it because Celina Jet-Li did not want to play a Mom?

Sanjay(smiling sheepishly): Well that’s Indianization for you.

Park: And you know what, Sanjay. There was a reason why the protagonist is shown drunk and missing his daughter’s birthday party—it kind of sets the stage for the end….basically doing something called “character development”. Ever heard the term?

Sanjay: Mmm no. Property development I know. But character development?

Park: Baaah.

Sanjay: Okay okay I made a whole lot of changes now that I think of it. Show me where in your movie the girl says “Meri ma bhagwan ke liya paratha paka rahee hain ” ( My mother is making parathas for God)—-and before you make a wisecrack I dont recall her saying that her mother is making smelly tofu for God either. And the things that Sanjay Dutt sees in his prison cell—99 Kargil etc etc are all original ideas of mine. In your movie the term of imprisonment was for 15 years, in Zinda it was 14 years—like Ramji’ s exile.

And oh, I showed Lara Dutta in a bra with her shirt ripped off—your movie had a gratuitous breast shot. Okay I accept I could not show that scene without getting in trouble with the Indian censor board—while they are fine with blood flying around, a breast shot is not kosher for the boobs on the committee.

Park: Bullshit. Hogwash. All minor cosmetic changes—mostly dictated by circumstances beyond your control. You dont know how anguished I have felt seeing “Zinda” again and again—it has been a violation of my artistic soul. Oooh the blatant copying, the same sets, the same ideas, the same gasmask—-uff it just makes me want to take a hammer and pull out your teeth.

Sanjay: Forgive me oh Mr Park. It was a small mistake—okay I accept I copied all my movies from one source or the other , however I did some work also. But I went overboard with “Oldboy”–did virtually nothing. I made a mistake. But why make me suffer for 15 years? Why?I have changed—I have made a new script…an original one.

Park: Ha ha ha. Look around you. See those TV screens. Do you see what’s going on there?

Sanjay: Mmm a movie is being shot…..so what?

Park: Ha ha again. Do you know what the script for the movie is? It’s the same thing you wrote during those 15 years. Your masterpiece. Your brainchild. It is now going to be raped…no make it gangraped in front of your eyes by those hacks you see there on the TV screen—-obviously you will not be credited for the script. It will be as if you don’t even exist.

Well Mr Sanjay, how does it feel to be on the other end? How does it feel to see one’s labors being passed off by someone else as theirs without acknowledgement? Are those tears on your face? I love them. Yes 15 years was needed Mr Sanjay to give you time to lovingly create your own intellectual baby, for you to have a bond with your creation. So that when you see its rape you anguish more. And feel my pain. And of countless other directors.

Now brace yourself for the final shattering truth.

The movie’s director is Dev Anand. Obviously he is also the hero. Uday Chopra is the second hero—you last saw him 15 years ago..now he has lost all his hair and has made the full transition to a trans-sexual. The heroine is Payal Rohatgi whose implants, in the 15 years you were gone, have lost some of the saline solution and the technical staff are all from Mithunda’s Ootie filmcrew.

How does it feel Mr Gupta?

Gupta (on his knees crying like a baby): No no no I beg. I plead. Do not do this to me. Give me back my script. It’s my life—it’s my 15 years. By the way, Dev Anand is still alive?

Park (taking a bite out of a bean burrito) : Muaahhhhhhhhh………………….Mr Gupta, sorry to say no feel-good ending here.

Welcome to the club.

52 thoughts on “Zinda Buddha Beta (Old Boy Is Alive)

  1. This is good !
    Another interesting commentary on zinda is to be found in http://speebee.blogspot.com/2006/01/oldboy-is-zinda_19.html

  2. atlast somebody has mentioned THE balasaheb the dystrophied megalomaniac .just about the time i was going to crib about ur regional favoritism for ignoring manoj kumar [so wat if his hand covers his face at all times his piercing eyes r staring thro the gaps of his fingers and there is a lot more to clerk than that]
    i almost fell off going thro the cast. its a pity people want to knock off dev NOW when u can give them a 15 yr guarantee.good one !like i said bollywood is ur forte.varsha

  3. Park say:
    Finding old man (Dev Anand) in dark, not hard

  4. hmmnn…Back to your forte. The weaving of the review of the film along with a take on inspirartional directors was a good one( for lack of a better word).

    Never saw OldBoy. So would have to admit that liked Zinda when I saw it first. Some of the reviews did say that it was a rip-off from OldBoy.

    Do you really feel strongly about directors copying the works of other filmmakers without giving due credit to the original makers??

  5. Arre my sentiments exactly Arnabda.
    When I wrote my take on this fudge-fest here, I hadn’t seen Oldboy. Then, courtesy Bit torrent, I managed to see it…..and ooooo boy oooo boy……shob ek. Yevrything…..
    I feel like crucifying that blob of wonton Sanjay Gupta.

  6. Arnab,

    This one was subtle. It was funny enough, but I enjoyed the in-between-the-lines stuff. My family was into movie making for many years; it’ll be more than 75. They decided not to show Hindi movies in their cinema hall. The irony was that when they made this decision, in the eighties, Bengali commercial movies had become bad copies of the very same Hindi movies they so despised.

    On this note, an interesting question would be to ask ourselves why the Bombay Film Industry (sorry, I refuse to either use “Bollywood” or Mumbai) has been victorious in imposing this fare on the masses. A reverse query would be to compare it with commercial Hollywood flicks. Mainstream American films also have the formulaic touch won’t you agree? The basic difference may lie not with the director’s vision, which is albiet extremely important, but with what the audience desires. And, they desire an escape route from the struggle which is both America and India.
    If one, for example, takes Indian cultural forms as having a latent influence on cinema making, then it would reveal the immense effect/affect of Jatra and Nautanki on the cinematic media (I do not mean this in any pejorative sense). In this sense, the repeated renditions of the same mythological scripts took on a nuanced turn at every performance. Thus, the answer did not lie in the script or the plot, but the rendition of it in that particular setting.

    To be honest, I plagiarized the core notion of this comment from Ray’s “Our Films, Their Films” (if I recollect the title of the book); being an academic I ought to reveal it. Moreover, if you remember Uttam Kumar’s monolouge in “Nayak” which ends in “Albat, I’ll go to the top, the top, the top”, and his other quote, if I remember right, “…Brando…shob ki bhul?” It’s purely Ray introspecting on the cinematic medium itself. See La Dolce Vita, you may notice what audience it was that the Ray was directing for.

    However, to be honest, and let this not sound condescending, your blog is the most thought provoking one I have read in many ways. You are, just as Swift, lacing your humor with serious undertones. In this, this is not blogging but literature. Literature in a rough-hewn manner: encapsulating our times, the divided emigre self, not at home anywhere, yet everywhere seeing reflections of yourself. Nevertheless, is not the same meaning reflected within India, where each of us are not really at home outside of our provinces, but located in a larger pool of commonality. Perhaps, our mythology explains this self and other dichotomy best. Consequently, repeated renditions of the same plot with the same cast never fail to elicit empathetic nuances within the viewer.

    Keep on writing these lines; they are vitriol on my intellectual inertia.

    Vasabjit Banerjee

  7. I wonder how long it will take the forgein Directors to figure out that they can make good business if they “indianize” their films. It happens anyways after a few years. So why not be the first and cash out.

  8. Dev Anand to direct and lead the starcast! Wow. Now that is good.

    How about music by Nadeem-Shravan and lyrics by Sameer. And the producer should be K.C. Bokadia.

    All of this would completely kill off Sanjay Gupta….

  9. Arnabda – Evil, pure evil. You’re more evil than Prakash Karat.

  10. GB, this was vintage.. ROFL… This is the fiction that GB can do justice to. the last one was good too, but you can use another penname for such. For the GB, this was Vintage, indeed.

  11. Abso-fucking-lutely hilarious! I bow down to thee, Master!

  12. Arnab U need to correct yourself. You are just pro Hollywood and anti Indian. Its ppl like you that India is not developling. How can you say Zinda is RIP of Old Boy. You need to watch Old boy again. The director must have hired some scientists and he travlled in to future and copied Sanjay F Gupta’s script and then made the movie. Now this may sound INSANE to you but have you seen Face Off. The director used the same time machine and he copied Aks. This is a great SAAJISH against Bollywood. The directors from all over the world use the same Time machine they travel into the future and copy our scripts. And Rest is a story.
    Good Take. 😉

  13. sorry the story is very sad but i want to see teh film asap.

  14. Your review is definitely a better thriller than Zinda itself :-). I don’t know if you liked the movie or not but then it is the beauty of your writing– you never let people know. This is what I asked you the other day — you could review it in your best way– and here is what I get —
    A true Arnabian style post.

    Keep rocking.

  15. Quentin Tarantino once said
    I steal from every single movie ever made. If people don’t like that, then tough tills, don’t go and see it, all right? I steal from everything. Great artists steal, they don’t do homages.

  16. I really liked your explanation why you are again writing a fiction. This ‘revenge’ of yours is a sweet revenge – not the bloody, gory revenge. Like me, anybody will like this.

    You also wrote “I shall keep on writing such posts till I get positive comments.” You have already got some positive comments but don’t stop writing fiction now as you have written you would. Reading your posts have become an addiction to me – now you can’t take away my ‘nesha’ from me – would that be fair!!!

  17. LOL – How do you come up with such delicacies man!!


  18. How abt Sanjay Gupta doin “Zinda Hoon Main.Kiske liye” item number at the end of it 🙂 That wud make the story a hit …

    Nice post Arnab…

  19. Excellent post!
    I agree with Mr. Vasabjit, whatever you write is literature. When people say that your posts are ‘funny’, I find it to be a gross understatement. Your posts are extremely thoughtful, well-reasoned and still humorous.
    On Zinda, Dev Anad directing SG film is a good idea, but wouldn’t it be unfair with Devsaab? Irrespective of the quality, he makes original movies. His ideas are his own! Probably Vikram Bhatt (Chairman of ‘Inspiration’ Group) is a better choice. Or How about, Anu Malik making his directorial debut? After all, he is to music direction what Sanjay Gupta is to movie direction.

  20. Read somebody quoting Tarantino. Why Quentin. Even TS Eliot has his theory of poetry which says the influence of tradition (read past poets/playwrights) blends with individual talent to create art.

    BTW, amazingly innovative way to do a review.

  21. Brilliant.

    Loved it, dude. I wrote him a letter, but he didn’t reply. Big surprise.

    Anyway, keep rocking. Your post is possibly the best thing to come out of that production. 🙂

  22. well i completely agree with every word of your post. here’s my version of review of the pathetic movie, named Zinda, John sucks big time.


  23. The last straw was when he didn’t trust the audience enough to put the “holding by the tie” scene at the beginning, but couldn’t resist adding it elsewhere. Also no balls to follow through with the incest storyline. What a scumbag!

  24. @Tarit: Yes I had read that on Soham’s blog.

    @Varsha: Honest to God, have no bias against Manoj Kumar. I shall watch Clerk and correct whatever bias I may have had unconsciously.

    @Territorial Male: Did not get that..

    @HP: I feel extremely strongly regarding artistic/intellectual plagiarism—especially when it’s as shameless as “Zinda”. And why shouldnt I—I myself write stuff here on this blog and I would feel damn pissed if someone just lifted what I had written as passed it off as his own without giving me due credit. Actually one time, a reader wrote in saying that some site was using my Mithun post without giving me due credit. I didnt like that (the said site finally put up my name)

    @Soham: Sanjay Gupta is a bit of smelly tofu.

    @Vasabjit: Very interesting points made about our traditional acceptance of retellings and adaptations. Hollywood mainstream movies have often copied from movies in other languages—eg the Ring, the Grudge etc but they make no secrets about their sources….and the original producers are given a financial stake also. Of course the only exception to this is that **** Spielberg who copied ET from a script Satyajit Ray submitted to Hollywood—he even accepted that but never acknowledged Ray in the movie nor gave Ray any of the revenue from his megahit movie.

    Which is why I think Spielberg sucks.

    @Bengali guy: They do that too—but most people provide credit.

    @Anon: Yes it would. But Bokadia goes best with Lawrence D Souza.

    @K: Now that’s evil.

    @Anthony: 🙂

    @Nandz: Tathastu..:-)

    @Kumar Chetan: Yes Sajid Khan used to say the same thing on Kehne Main Kya Harj Hain….oh boy do I miss that program.

    @Silbil: You should

    @Ritzy: Thank you thank you…

    @Anil: Regardless of how modest QT is being here, QT adapts. Sanjay Gupta tries to be QT but the thing about QT is that he is eclectic—his movies are like collages—while what Sanjay Gupta does is take one film and copy it toto.

    @Yourfan: No way…how can I take away your nesha from you ! I shall continue to write whatever I want to on this blog—and negative comments are fun too..I mean noone *has* to like everything. And they arent supposed to either.

    @Suyog: My demented mind I guess

    @R.Jobs: Sanjay Gupta doing an item number—yikes. Much prefer Yana Gupta thank you.

    @Kandarp: Right. Dev Anand is original. No two words about it. In a way he is very sincere in what he does. Maybe Vikram Bhatt would be the ideal person to out-copy Sanjay Gupta.

    @A Fool On the Hill: Again very few are truly original and the word inspired wasnt a dirty word till Bhappi/Anu Malik used that as an euphemism for blatant plagiarism.

    @VPT: Thank you

    @Raja: Oh yes read that one before. And your reviews @Rediff of course.

    @Haridas: I didnt find John Abraham all that bad–I mean come in it wasnt the most difficult of roles….

    @Devdutt: Incest? Bollywood? You gotta be kidding me.

  25. awesome…esp the celina Jet-li part..ROFL

  26. Dude, I loved your little piece. Motivated by that, I embarked on yet another piss-take on Zinda while “abusing” your wonderful rant. You’ll find it at: http://davenchit.livejournal.com/19556.html

    Hope you don’t mind; if you do, I can always take it down.

  27. the makers of oldboy are taking legal action against the makers of Zinda, its on the wikipedia entry for Oldboy.

  28. You wrote “Spielberg who copied ET from a script Satyajit Ray submitted to Hollywood—he even accepted that.” I did not know that he ever accepted that. I wonder if he ever accepted that, then how did he manage to get away with not acknowledging Ray and not paying him any royalty? I always feel that the Americans/Britishers set different set of rules for themselves – they preach something and practice something diametrically opposite.

  29. Awesome piece dude! Couldn’t stop laughing!! Did you ever write anything about Musafir aka sad copy of U-Turn???

  30. Good job dude,

    I really liked your review. Its high time Bollywood dirctors who claim to be inspired by other dirctors are made to feel some shame. MAybe a ”Bollywood Hall of Shame”.

  31. Arnab,

    Got your POV. I also had a lot of discuussion with my friends about intellectual plagiarism and I was supporting the POV that anybody who copies somebody else’s stuff without giving due credit should be held accountable under the law. But then, one of my opponents turned the tables and asked me if one so strongly feels about intellectual plagiarism, then why do I watch movies on cable or keep mp3 songs on my PC. His answer did take me aback for a while and from that day, I have consciously tried to avoid piracy. (Although it is difficult to do so when it comes to books, but then every man has his weaknesses).


  32. lol! sanjay gupta burn in hell

  33. I’m posting this on behalf of Devsaab, who’s dictating this as I type…

    “Dear Greatbong,

    I appreciate your offer to cast me as hero of your new film. As you know, I have a very busy schedule film making. As a life-time achiever, I will advise you though that your project is weak, because the plot is old-fashioned. To be remembered as a filmmaker, you need to be ahead of your time. Look at me. I made “Mr. Prime minister”, and did not make a copy of a Sanjay Gupta copy. My films are original. Only then you can be Avval Number.

    I regret to inform you that I cannot act in your movie. But if you want to write the script for my new movie, as assistant script writer, please contact me using the latest technology like email, cellphone etc.

    the for ever young,
    Dev Anand”

  34. In the end there is something positive about these guys copying movies. I generally watch out for movies made by vikram bhatt, sanjay gupta…. to check out the original movie from blockbuster. Most of the time I am confused in blockbuster looking for movies…these guys generally help out…and yeah I checked out old boy the other day..!

  35. BRILLIANT man, brilliant… loved the ending!! 🙂

  36. the disgusting thing about this blog is, there are ALREADY ALMOST 40 people commenting before you!!! grrr! so i’m left with no other adjectives but the same old tired “brilliant, arnab, durdanto byapar! fatiye diyechho!”


  37. Just read biography of Satyajit Ray, ‘Inner Eye’, where it says that Spieleberg denies having plagiarised from Ray’s script.

    Spieleberg is worse than Sanjay Gupta…

  38. I didn’t like the movie at all even when I didn’t know it was a rip off.

    It was way too violent and somehow, I didn’t like the plot too. Been reading you for quite sometime now. There must be a few posts left to catch up on. You are exceptional.

  39. can’t stop laughing :))

  40. @Kandarp: I whole heartedly agree with your opinion of “Spielberg is worse than Sanjay Gupta”. I knew that Spielberg never even remotely acknowledged any sort of link to Satyajit Ray’s script. So I was surprised when I read in this post that he apparently ‘accepted that’.

  41. commenting about the quality of your commentaries, and the brilliance with which you manage to convey a message without being too heavy handed about it is, I am pretty sure, redundant at this point.

    Allow me to be the zillionth person to ave said this to you – It is always a pleasure to read your blog.

  42. Must say though, Park will not complain as much as QT would’ve.

  43. :)) :)) :))
    amazing one!! i came across this post by chance..and luvd it so!!
    on serious notes, i absolutely hate those who rip-off other people’s creative work..
    moviemaking especially, is such an emotionally, physically and financially draining experience that those who steal somebody else’s hardwork, should be hanged…ohh no..the kind of revenge u mentioned is far more interesting….and very very just..:)

  44. unfortunately i saw zinda first (loved the story not knowing that it was a rip off from some korean movie) and after 2 yrs i see dis movie “oldboy” and got totally mesmerised……heard the koreans are planin to sue SG…..mofu shuld be completely stripped of the money he is earned on zinda…

    and lastly i hate bollywood (i hate this name BW too…isnt it a rip-off frm hollywood!!!) movies too!!!

  45. arnab-da, if you carry out the revenge you have outlined for that f*ckhead sanjay gupta, i will personally sign over all my wealth to you.
    i have watched, been stunned by, been unable to tear my eyes from the brilliant, insane, psychotic oldboy.
    and then i saw the piece of trash that goes by the name zinda… i really dont know what i wud have done to sanjay gupta had he been in front of me when i finished watching zinda. probably stuck a knife in his back, tied him to a chair and pulled his teeth out with a hammer, and then repeated it until the thirst for blood (my thirst for sanjay gupta’s blood) was satisfied.
    however, ur review has provided some measure of relief… i am able to laugh, and laugh uproariously, at things zinda.
    but still arnab-da, for the sake of all those of us who worship oldboy – carry out your revenge! please!

  46. I agree! This director is such worthless trash, and Zinda is no different from his other works. If only this could happen to him!

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