British Author Jeffrey Archer Accuses Bollywood of Plagiarism

Jeffrey Archer H 2015
AP Images/Invision

But he is still open to an Indian partner to adapt his book 'Only Time Will Tell' for which he is due to meet Hollywood players.

Best-selling British author Jeffrey Archer has accused Bollywood studios of ripping off some of his books over the years.

In an interview with India's DNA Newspaper, when asked about how his books have the potential to translate into Hollywood films, Archer said, “Well, forget Hollywood, just look at your Bollywood! These bunch of thieves have stolen several of my books without so much as a 'by your leave'.”

Archer cited the example of 2011 Bollywood romcom Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl starring actor Ranveer Singh being inspired by his 1976 book Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less. Singh starred as a conman targeting women who gets a taste of his own medicine from some of his victims.

Archer also cited 1987 film Khudgarz as a take-off of one of his most well known books, 1979's Kane and Abel. Khudgarz starred veteran actors Jeetendra and Shatrughan Sinha as two men born on the same day who share a karmic destiny.

In 2011, Canadian indie producer New Franchise Media said it was developing The Prodigal Daughter, the sequel to Kane and Abel, as a TV series.

Archer is on an India promotion tour for his latest book Mightier Than The Sword, the fifth in the Clifton Chronicles series. The books revolve around the central character Harry Clifton and his family legacy over the decades since World War I.

“Many feel that just because I’ve sold 50 million books in India, I should do an Indian novel, and I say no,” Archer explained when asked whether he would write an Indian story. “All writers should write about milieus they know and understand, or the writing will suffer. Yet, let me tell you that in the next book in the Clifton Chronicles series, eight chapters will be set in Bombay around a Bollywood heroine.”

Archer also said he was working on the script for the first book in the Clifton series, Only Time Will Tell which is in pre-production. “We have the first draft of the script, the budget, actors - no, I can’t tell you the names! - all nearly finalized. Although next week we’re meeting several companies in Hollywood who want it, on this trip I am looking for an interested Indian partner.”

Expanding further on the kind of Indian partner he wanted, Archer said, “And that does not mean some second-rate Bollywood idiot (guffaws) who goes around saying he’s a Bollywood star producer and then he is not! (Laughing) It's true! What can I say? Such has been my Indian experience many times.”

Archer, a one-time British politician who turned to penning page-turning novels, was sent to jail for four years in 2001 after being found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice during a high-profile trial.