Bollywood and Patents: A Hooker’s Narrative of “Exploitation”!

When I visited one of my friends recently in London, I found that he was deeply engrossed in a bollywood flick titled “Laaga Chunri Mein Daag“. The femme fatale, Rani Mukherjee (my reason for suffering the movie) plays the role of a high class hooker. She finally meets her hero (Abhishek Bachan)—and lo and behold, he turns out to be a world famous patent attorney from India!! And one scene even has him speak at a world patent and trademark conference in Bern, Switzerland.

A beaming smile shot across my face: Bollywood finally recognizes our lot and casts us in the role of a hero. No doubt, it only thinks us worthy of hookers—but then Rani, our femme fatale is no ordinary hooker—she is a high class one. Given that that we are in the same company as Spitzer, that can’t be such a bad thing …..!!

The best is yet to come….

Our hero asks Rani what she thought of patents. Pat comes the reply: it is a tool used by the West to exploit India and other poor nations!!

Bravo—our media has indeed done its job well. With patents hitting front pages with increasing regularity and being painted in a satanic light, is this all that surprising??

Hats off to bollywood though–Not only does it capture what patents mean in the popular media, but also successfully establishes a causal nexus between prostitution and patents (something I have always suspected)…..

Shamnad Basheer

Shamnad Basheer

Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He's also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof. Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Prof. Basheer joined Anand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Later, he was the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and also a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. Prof. Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP, the Stanford Technology Law Review and CREATe. He was consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also served on several government committees.


  1. AvatarGenericIPguy

    Dear Shamnad,

    the reference to Abhishek being a patent attorney was the only + thing about this boring movie… [my comment to my wife, a few months back]. Well to be honest, the movie was so boring, i compeltely missed Abhishek’s explanation of ‘patents’ or his being in a Seminar in Berne.

    Well there is another Hindi movie which mentions patents – TARZAN [the new one with Ayesha TAkia].
    Here, Ajay Devgan takes a patent for his revolutionary car.

    Besides these 2, I don’t know of other hindi [or English] movies that refer to patents.


  2. AvatarShamnad Basheer

    Hey Sandeep,

    It was indeed an awful movie (which is why I wrote that Rani was the only reason I suffered the movie).

    Thanks for the reference to Tarzan–will try and watch this soon. patent for a car-was this post the Nano?

  3. AvatarPrashant Reddy

    Great post Shamnad!!!! The other day I was watching a telugu serial with my grandmom and the serial actually made a reference to a patent as a part of a family business dispute!!! What do you know? there may actually be hope for our lot in the movie industry!! hahahahah!

  4. AvatarGenericIPguy


    This was long before the Nano days…
    I faintly recollect that even mr. Devgan is killed and the other partners try to get the patent in their names or some thing…


  5. AvatarSumathi Chandrashekaran

    I second Prashant: awesome post, Shamnad!

    Sandeep, your comment got me thinking, and I put my highly-refined googling skills to use, and came across this 1981 French (!) film called Diva which uses the threat of mass-manufacturing bootleg recordings as one of the turning points in the story – I thought that was funny. 😀

    No lawyers, though! I wait for the day when there is a role reversal in a bollywood film: the woman is the lawyer, maybe with a gigolo as escort… :p

  6. AvatarShamnad Basheer

    Thanks for the comments, Sandeep, Prashant and Sumathi,

    Sumathi: couldn’t agree with you more. anxiously await the day when bollywood is evolved enough to carry a role reversal story with gigolo et al

  7. AvatarAnonymous

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