Arjun Kapoor’s Aurangzeb – a welter of inspirations?

Cineswami reveals what could possibly be the films that Yash Raj Films’ latest movie is based upon

Picture this. A dreaded crime lord runs an empire of illegal businesses. The police have no evidence against him. One of the crime lord’s flashier minions has a lookalike. The cops abduct the minion and the lookalike substituted in his place. Sounds eerily similar to what you’ve seen in the just released trailer for Yash Raj Films’ Aurangzeb? You’re right of course, but like success, Aurangzeb has many parents.

The old switcheroo ain’t nothin’ new and it has been seen time and again in literature and cinema. Mark Twain’s 1881 novel The Prince and the Pauper and Anthony Hope’s 1894 novel The Prisoner of Zenda and their subsequent film adaptations both saw a commoner exchange places with royalty. In Bollywood we’ve had Ram Aur Shyam, Seeta Aur Geeta and Chaalbaaz to name just three. And how can we forget the Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth, Shahrukh Khan, NT Rama Rao, Ajith, Prabhas and Mohan Lal versions of Don.

Antha, the 1981 Kannada film that brought ‘Rebel Star’ Ambarish to prominence had a police officer replacing a dreaded captured gangster as did its Hindi remake Meri Aawaz Suno, starring a decidedly less fierce Jeetendra.

With its cool tones, Aurangzeb resembles the colour palette of the Hong Kong Infernal Affairs trilogy, which was remade in Hollywood by Martin Scorsese as The Departed. The Infernal Affairs films however, didn’t employ the doppelganger switcheroo technique. Instead, a cop was placed in a triad and a triad member joined the police, both at a young age. Rishi Kapoor’s senior cop looks to be modelled on Anthony Wong’s character in Infernal Affairs but who knows, both could be based on Iftekhar’s character in Don. It could also be argued that Jackie Shroff’s gangster bears many similarities with Eric Tsang’s similar role in Infernal Affairs.

The point of all this drivel is, can there be a truly original film any more without there being shades of influences from elsewhere? There is an old saying that all stories come from the Mahabharata and maybe an in-depth analysis will prove this is true. Meanwhile, here’s hoping that the seemingly derivative Aurangzeb turns out to be a stunningly original piece of work.

Now, where’s that Barfi Blu-ray?