Bollywood's 'Twins' Rip-Off Gets Slammed by Critics
While Hollywood has been developing 'Triplets' with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Eddie Murphy, 'Hey Bro' is playing in India.
While the storyline of lost and found brothers is not new in Bollywood, recent release Hey Bro aspired to update the genre with a plot ripped off from Twins. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito starred in the 1988 film as twins who bear no resemblance to each other, a premise recreated in Ajay Chandhok's Hey Bro.
The film stars choreographer Ganesh Acharya as a bumbling man who is told by his grandfather that he has a twin brother (Maninder Singh) who is a cop.
“But even with the expectations set to a bare minimum, it doesn’t manage to render a morsel of entertainment,” the Hindustan Times said in its review describing the film as an “excruciating slog.” It highlighted that "the story is exactly the same as Twins — an oversized, slow but sweet-natured chap is told by his [grandfather] that he has a twin brother in another city who was separated from him at birth."
The film — whose logline states "Judwaa (Hindi for twins) with a twist" — is not an official Bollywood remake as those get announced these days given that Hollywood studios are increasingly active in local productions.
Cameo appearances by some of India's biggest stars, such as Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Hrithik Roshan, among others, offer “brief respite ... lifting you out of your by-then-comatose state," the review said.
The Times of India also put it bluntly: “It's almost brutal to put one through the trauma of watching this film. At best, Hey Bro can be called a mind-numbing experience."
Hey Bro harks back to a time in Bollywood during the 1980s and 1990s when low-brow titles — many ripped off from Hollywood and foreign films — seemed to dominate the landscape, as pointed out by the Financial Express. "The writing is amateurish and juvenile and would have worked in the nineties. But in today’s times, even kids won’t appreciate such outdated humor," said the paper's review.
Hey Bro was released on Feb. 27 and while box office figures aren't available, given the scathing reviews, the title is expected to underperform.
In the past, Hollywood has at times tried to block what it felt were unauthorized Bollywood remakes. In 2009, Warner threated to sue anyone in India who attempted to remake The Curious Case of Benjamin Button without permission. But when matters go to court, victory may not be guaranteed as Warner bros. found out when it lost a case in an Indian court against the makers of Hindi film Hari Puttar, whose title the studio said was a rip-off of its Harry Potter franchise.
But with Hollywood studios getting increasingly active in local Indian productions, authorized remakes are gaining ground. One of last year's biggest releases was Fox Star Studios India's Bang Bang!, a Bollywood take on the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz-starrer Knight and Day.
Meanwhile, in Hollywood, a sequel to Ivan Reitman's original Twins has been in development. Triplets would reunite Schwarzenegger and DeVito — reprising their roles as the mismatched Julius and Vincent Benedict — with Eddie Murphy co-starring as their long-lost third sibling.