India and Pakistan share a common cultural history. The Hindi film and television industry and the Pakistani film and television industry have often borrowed ideas, sometimes officially and sometimes without seeking permission, from the various kind of content made in the entertainment industries of the two countries. For example, Sony Entertainment Television officially bought the rights of the 1987 hit Pakistani TV show ‘Dhoop Kinare’ and remade it as ‘Kuch To Log Kahenge’ (2011-13).
In 2010, Aamir Khan produced and acted in wife Kiran Rao’s directorial debut ‘Dhobi Ghat’. The film, which was set in Mumbai, chronicled some key events in the lives of its four protagonists played by Kriti Malhotra, Prateik, Monica Dogra and Aamir himself. While the film was not really divided into different segments like a ‘Dus Kahaniyaan’ (2007) or a ‘Bombay Talkies’ (2013), there was visible distinction between the events unfolding in each of the four characters’ lives. For instance, the track involving Aamir and Kriti did not really have a connection with the other tracks and was designed as a standalone track, while making sure that it remained faithful to the theme of the film.
Arun (Aamir Khan) moves into a new apartment wherein he finds some old tapes left by the people/tenants who used to live there earlier. As he plays the tapes, he realises they belonged to Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra), a young woman who had moved to Mumbai shortly after getting married to a man who lived there. Yasmin recorded those tapes to chronicle her experience in the city and to share it with her family. Those tapes were addressed to her brother. Arun gets fascinated by the way Yasmin talks about her journey in the city and starts watching at least one tape every day. There is a twist in the tale which one discovers as Arun plays the last tape.
‘Kitni Girhain Baaqi Hain’ was a popular TV show in Pakistan that was aired from 2011 to 2014. The show was also telecast in India on the Zee Zindagi channel and was anchored by Kirron Kher. Every episode of the show featured a fresh story inspired from real-live events. The 35th episode of the first season of the show featured Mawra Hocane as one of the protagonists. Mawra has featured in several popular television shows and a couple of films in Pakistan and is a popular face there. She made her Hindi film debut with ‘Sanam Teri Kasam’ (2016) which remains her only Hindi film till date.
If you watch the episode (link shared above), which is titled ‘Be Khabri’, you will realise the storyline is very similar to the Kriti – Aamir track in ‘Dhobi Ghat’ (2010). Even the twist ending and the trope used in the process is the same. Of course, there are some minor changes but the basic plotline remains the same. This episode was aired much before Mawra signed her first Bollywood film and it would be interesting to know whether she was aware of the similarities between Kiran Rao’s film and the episodic she shot for.