Amitabh Bachchan’s Main Azaad Hoon Was Copied From Hollywood Films ‘Network, ‘Meet John Doe’ By Javed Akhtar, Says Director Tinnu Anand & Accuses The Writer Of Lying To Him
Javed Akhtar is considered to be one of the most respected and influential figures in the Indian entertainment industry. He is celebrated for his thought-provoking poetry, memorable song lyrics, and impactful screenplays. However, director Tinnu Anand now makes a shocking confession of copying Amitabh Bachchan’s Main Azaad Hoon from two Hollywood films.
In the late 1980s, Amitabh Bachchan faced a challenging period in his political career due to his involvement in the Bofors scandal, although he was later cleared of all charges. Nevertheless, his reputation had suffered. During this time, the renowned screenwriter Javed Akhtar proposed a solution to restore Amitabh Bachchan’s image by working on a film that would project a positive image.
Director Tinnu Anand, who had previously collaborated with Amitabh Bachchan on Shahenshah, recalled this crucial phase and revealed that it served as the inspiration for their 1989 film ‘Main Azaad Hoon.’ According to Anand, Javed Akhtar conceptualized the idea, and Amitabh Bachchan readily agreed, with the condition that Tinnu would direct the film.
During a conversation with Radio Nasha, Tinnu Anand then admitted that at the time, they genuinely thought they were developing an original concept from Javed Akhtar. However, they later came to realize that it bore a resemblance to the 1976 Hollywood film “Network” and the 1941 film ‘Meet John Doe.’ “We really thought we were working on an original idea by Javed,” he said.
The filmmaker then revealed that on the day the film was released in theatres, “Opposition released a film on Doordarshan, Meet John Doe. More than Meet John Doe, it (Main Azaad Hoon) was Network. Network and this was the same story but Javed didn’t want us to watch that film. He wanted to show that he had written the original story even though it wasn’t an original story,” he added.
Tinnu Anand remarked that he felt “very let down” by Javed Akhtar. “I would have liked to see Network. I would have liked to see Meet John Doe and compare our script to theirs. Our script was superior but it was important to watch the original.”
The filmmaker shared that they later asked Javed as to why he hid the fact that he had copied the script. “We later asked Javed Saab, ‘Why did you hide?’ He said ‘I didn’t want you all to get inspired by… If Amitabh had seen it, he would have done it in the same way. I didn’t want that.’ That was a lie,” he recalled.
Main Azaad Hoon also starred Shabana Azmi and Anupam Kher. It did not perform well at the box office.
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