In the 2011 film Bodyguard, a dream-like romantic item number features the powerful song "Teri Meri Prem Kahani" picturized on Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The song was inspired by the Romanian folk Christmas carol "La Bethleem Colo-N Jos" but there have been claims that composer Himesh Reshammiya's "inspiration" was akin to plagiarism.
Bollywood has a bit of a reputation for remixing themes from other famous songs, sometimes without proper permissions. Websites such as itwofs.com and bollywoodcoversongs.com are dedicated to highlighting such songs. However, India produces the largest number of movies of any film industry throughout the world and as we celebrate the 100th year of Indian cinema, the number of issues raised about copyright problems seems to be relatively low based on the output.
Here are 5 examples of ways that Bollywood composers have remixed famous musical melodies for silver screen soundtracks.
Something to Sing on the Bus from Bombay to Goa
|"Help Me Rhonda" (Beach Boys, 1965)||"O Mehki Mehki Thandi Hawa" (Bombay to Goa, 1972)|
Bollywood actor Mehmood was credited with producing the 1972 adventure comedy Bombay to Goa to launch the careers of Anwar Ali (his brother) and Amitabh Bachchan. The film was identified as a semi-hit at the box office and was known for its catchy tunes composed by R. D. Burman. One such tune - "O Mehki Mehki Thandi Hawa" - was boisterously sung by the mixed bunch of passengers on the bus proving that there is nothing that brings people of different religions, cultures, and faiths together like a good Beach Boys ... I mean, Burman ... tune.
Tried and Tested in the Fire, a Hero Emerges
|"Conquest Of Paradise" (Vangelis, 1992)||"Badan Judaa Hote Hai" (Koyla, 1997)|
Remember the 1992 film 1492 Conquest of Paradise? No? Me, neither. Despite the outstanding cast (Gérard Depardieu, Sigourney Weaver, Armand Assante, Fernando Rey), I never saw the film. The only thing I can recall about it was that there was concern about celebrating the legacy of Christopher Columbus in light of the treatment of Native Americans. But any lack of support at the box office for the 1992 film didn't bury Vangelis' epic "Conquest of Paradise". The song was given a second life by Rajesh Roshan as the heroic love theme used throughout the 1997 film Koyla, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. In the song "Badan Judaa Hote Hai", this theme has particular poignance as musical confirmation that our hero has been fully transformed.
Problematic Polka Partners
|"A-Tisket A-Tasket" (Children's Song)||"Ladna Jhagadna" (Duplicate, 1998)|
The 1998 action comedy Duplicate features a delightful item number in "Ladna Jhagadna". One of the reasons this song works so well is because the melody line brilliantly blends together two old standards - the children's tune "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" and Frank Weir's 1954 "Happy Wanderer" (a.k.a. "Val-da re, Val-da ra"). The juxtaposition of scenes with flip-flopped couples in combination with the uniquely entertaining instrumentation makes this item number one that will keep you smiling for quite some time. The music for this film was composed by Anu Malik and the song "Ladna Jhagadna" was sung by Abhijeet & Kavita Krishnamurthy and picturized on Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan.
Say You Love Me With a Song
|"Voices" (Vangelis, 1996)||"Chand Sitaare" (Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai 2000)|
Pulling from Vangelis again, Rajesh Roshan leverages the main melody from "Voices" as the love theme in the film Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. The melody initially appears as an unfinished hummed refrain in "Chand Sitaare" which is sung by Kumar Sanu and picturized on Hrithik Roshan. Later in the film, the tune is given words in the item number "Dil Ne Dil Ko Pukaara" with lyrics penned by Ibrahim Ashk, sung by Babul Supriyo and picturized again on Hrithik Roshan. This big production number was so popular that it was recreated at the Star Screen and Rajiv Gandhi awards shows. The album became the best-selling Bollywood soundtrack of the year.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry for Tomorrow May Never Come
|"Oh, Pretty Woman" (Roy Orbison, 1964)||"Pretty Woman" (Kal Ho Naa Ho, 2003)|
One of the best reworkings of an classic hit is found in the 2003 film Kal Ho Naa Ho. We are treated to a New York neighborhood block party of singing and dancing to a bhangra version of the Roy Orbison song "Oh, Pretty Woman" which is bound to get you jumping to your feet to join in. The music for the film was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy with lyrics by Javed Akhtar and the item number was picturized on Shah Rukh Khan. When it came to creating this version of "Pretty Woman", the filmmakers complied with international copyright laws and obtained the proper licenses.
Kal Ho Naa Ho Bonus: A. R. Rahman's "Chale Chalo" from the 2001 film Lagaan is remixed for the restaurant redesign scene.
If you liked this, please visit our other Friday Five posts.