Mrs Doubtfire - Avvai Shanmugi, Memento - Ghajini, A Dirty Carnival - Jigarthanda. There are quite a few examples of Tamil films taking "inspiration" from a foreign language film or Hollywood. But recently, after the South Korean film Parasite picked up four Academy Awards at the recently concluded award ceremony, comparisons are being made between the film and a 1999 Tamil romantic comedy called Minsara Kanna.
While most people who read these claims on social media laughed it off, the issue has now taken a serious turn with producer PL Thenappan, who now holds the rights to this Tamil film, expressing his decision to file a case seeking compensation from the makers of Parasite.
“On Monday or Tuesday, I will be filing a case with help from an international lawyer. They have taken the plot from my film. When they find out that some of our films have been inspired by their films, they file cases. Similarly, it is only fair for us to do the same,” he told TNM.
Minsara Kanna, starring Vijay, Rambha, Monica Castelino and Khushbu in lead roles, was directed by KS Ravikumar and produced by KRG Movies International. The film’s story was based on a man’s desire for a woman and how for the sake of it, his entire family takes up employment at her house to seek her family’s approval, disregarding their own social status. During the course of the film, their identities are kept a secret and they work in the house as strangers.
Parasite, directed by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, won the Academy Awards this year for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, and Best Director. This film, a dark comedy, took on class hierarchies and the capitalistic structure of society which dehumanises people. A working class family in South Korea dupes a rich family into gaining employment while pretending to be unrelated to each other. While this particular premise is similar to Minsara Kanna, the characters, their motives, and the trajectory of the plot is completely different.
Director KS Ravikumar says that he is happy that "his story" has received international appreciation. “I'm happy that the story has received an Oscar, even if it (Minsara Kanna) served as an inspiration. However, filing a case is up to the producer,” he said.