Is plagiarism justified? Do we need to add the source everytime we use another person’s ideas (be it a quote or film or song)? These are the questions likely going around in Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s mind after a mini-controversy erupted in the online world regarding Shah Rukh Khan’s recent speech at All India Management Association (AIMA).
Shah Rukh Khan has always come across as a spontaneous person and verbal in interviews or events. His charm, of course, helps him. But looks like even the superstar of Bollywood is not infallible.
At the AIMA event, more than a week ago, Shah Rukh Khan gave a speech that used lines which were allegedly lifted from a speech made by the Harry Potter series author JK Rowling called ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination’ delivered at Harvard in 2008. The outburst began online when a blogger pointed out that Shah Rukh Khan had not credited JK Rowling in the speech he made.
Turns out it was a case of a mountain being made out of a molehill. Shah Rukh Khan had mentioned in the AIMA speech that the speech he was making was recycled from an earlier one that he had given. Coincidentally, that speech, given at the YPO, had Shah Rukh Khan credit JK Rowling. So it’s not a case of plagiarism after all, isn’t it?
Moreover, Shah Rukh Khan’s spokesperson states that JK Rowling herself took some lines from a management book by James Galbraith.
So what is the fuss? We do believe though that each time someone uses another person’s material, you need to provide credit. But in this case Shah Rukh Khan had provided credit once earlier, so he could be forgiven for not doing so this one time, right?
Of course, that one time that he did give credit was privy to only a few people, so people could be easily fooled into thinking that Shah Rukh Khan has plagiarised.
Moreover, when it comes to Bollywood stars, Bollywood’s status of being a plagiariser always casts a dark shadow on everyone involved here, more so Shah Rukh Khan, because he’s one of the biggest stars in Bollywood and therefore he’s more liable to be picked on by the eagle-eyed naysayers.
Not that we say plagiarism is right. It is wrong. Every bit of it. But cut Shah Rukh Khan some slack here. He’s in the right this time.