Music Composers of Bollywood
Madhumati with Asha Bhosale, Udit Narayan and Ram-Laxman
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10 Highly ‘Inspired’ Music Composers of Bollywood

India is celebrated around the globe for its richness in musical culture, and Bollywood film industry has always been known to be the hub of great musical talent. The song-and-dance sequences of Bollywood are the mark of recognition of the industry. There is hardly any mood that has not been captured by the songs in Hindi films.

There are indeed some insanely talented and creative music composers in the Indian film industry. Their work has won them recognition and love down the ages. Some of them, however, have been more inspired composers, and their works have often been a reflection of artistic influence, giving rise to inevitable controversies. Fans have questioned their respect for such composers, suits have been filed. Some have called this act ‘thieving’ or ‘plagiarising,’ to which the industry has placed the excuse of being motivated.

Let’s read about the most famous of these highly ‘inspired’ music composers, and their works.

1.  Jatin – Lalit

This composer-brother duo has given Bollywood some very romantic tunes in their years together. But they have heavily drawn inspirations from the West. Sometimes, the inspirations have been mild and smart while other times, they motivations were way too loud to be ignored. Some examples of their ‘inspired’ works are: ‘Suno Zara’ (Bada Din) from Anne Murray’s ‘You Needed Me’, or ‘Jana Suno Hum’ (Khamoshi) from Paul Anka’s ‘Bring The Wine’, which are complete lift, along with other partial lifts like ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) from ‘Take That Look Off your Face’ (Song and Dance).

2. Anu Malik

Well-known for his excellent songs, he is also celebrated for his inspired works in music, such as, ‘Barsaat ki Dhun’ (Sir) from ‘Listen To The Sound Of The Rain’ by Joe Feliciano, ‘Dil Le Le Lena’ (Auzaar) from Los Del Rio’s Macarena (he admits to it, too!), ‘Dil Mera Churaaya Kyoon’ (Akele Hum Akele Tum)from ‘Last Christmas’ (Wham), ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ (Jaanam Samjha Karo)from ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ (Kiss), ‘Agar Tum Mil Jao’ (Zeher) from Tassawar Khanum’s song by the same name, etc. He usually adds his own touch to the songs, which makes it hard to decipher.

3.  Rajesh Roshan

One of the veteran music composers, he can be credited for copying the Titanic theme song to produce ‘Chehra Tera Chehra’ (Daag the Fire), Paul Anka’s ‘Oh Carol’ to compose ‘Kya Kehna’, or Eagle’s ‘Hotel California’ to give us ‘Laun Kaha Se’ (Jaane Jigar). He has been inspired by Vangelis profoundly: ‘Chaand Sitaare’ (Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai) is inspired from Voices or ‘Badan Judaa Hote’ (Koyla) from ‘Conquest Of Paradise’. He doesn’t really try hard to hide his motivations.

4.  R. D. Burman

The composer of the grooviest and most humble tunes of 3 decades, too, has not been able to resist the temptation to draw inspirations. ABBA’s ‘Mama Mia’ became ‘Mil Gaya’ (Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin), Demis Russos’, and, ‘Say You Love Me’ gave us ‘Mehbooba’ (Sholay). He has an infinite number of motivations, including some of his best songs like ‘ChuraLiya’, ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ or ‘Tumse Milke’, but, his talent lies in the fact that he made them better than the original numbers.

5.  O. P. Naiyyar

Who said veterans never drew inspirations? O. P. Naiyyar’s ‘Ae Dil Mushkil’ (C.I.D) is from ‘Oh My Darling Clementine’, and ‘Perhaps, perhaps’ by Doris Day inspired him enough to make ‘Babuji Dheere Chalna’ (Aar Paar).

6.  Bappi Lahiri

The Golden Man of Bollywood music industry has definitely given us some of the golden hits of all times. But, did you know that some of these were inspirations? While ‘Aashiq Deewana Hoon’ (Afsana Pyar Ka) was made with the inspiration from ‘La Bamba’ (Ritchie Valens), ‘Hari Om Hari’ (Pyaara Dushman) was a direct lift from ‘One Way Ticket’ (Eruption), and ‘Koi Yahan Naache Naache’ (Disco Dancer) is made with the partial inspiration from ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ (The Buggles).

7.  Nadeem – Shravan

This duo has shown some love for Pak music, except they forgot to give the credits or take permissions. ‘Tujhe Apna Banane Ki Kasam’ (Sadak) is a direct ‘inspiration,’ if you will, from Musarrat Nazeer’s ‘Chale To Kat Hi Jaega Safar’, while ‘Bohot Pyar Karte Hai‘ (Saajan) has been made with substantial motivation from Mehdi Hassan’s ‘Bohot Khubsurat Hai Mera Sanam’. ‘Mera Piya Ghar Aya’ (Yaraana) is from the song by the same title by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. There are plenty more.

8.  Madan Mohan

Another composer from the golden era, Mr. Madan Mohan, too, has succumbed to being inspired. ‘Dil Dil Se MilakarDekho’ (Memsahib) has a clear influence of ‘Isle of Capri’, ‘Bol Bol Bol’ (Baap Bete) has been lifted off Paul Anka’s ‘Diana’, and ‘Thodi Der KeLiye’ (Akeli Mat Jayyo) is from ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’ by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.

9.  Raam Lakshman

The music of ‘The Final Countdown’ made its way to Bollywood as the background score of the song, ‘Mere Rang Mein’ (Maine PyarKiya), thanks to RaamLakshman. He also Indianized Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ as the title track of ‘Maine PyarKiya’. NusratFateh Ali Khan inspired him to create ‘Didi Tera Devar’ (Hum Aapke Hain Kaun) with the song, ‘Saare Nabian’, while the Spanish track, ‘Por Que Te Vas’ led to ABCD… (Hum Saath Saath Hai).

10.  Pritam

Last, but definitely not the least, comes our very own Pritam. He is a list all by himself. And here it is:

  •  ‘Dhoom’ (Dhoom): Fusion of Jesse Cook’s ‘Mario Takes A Walk’ and Amr Diab’s ‘Enta Ma OlteshLeh’
  •  ‘Zahreeli Raatein’ (Chocolate): ‘Aadat’ from Jal
  • ‘Ada Janlewa Ada’ (Garam masala): Amr Diab’s ‘Ana’
  •  ‘Bheegi Bheegi’ (Gangster): Mohiner Ghoraguli’s ‘Prithibi’
  •  ‘Lamha Lamha’ (Gangster): Waris Baig’s ‘Kal Shab Dekha Maine’
  •  ‘AhuAhu’ (Love Aa jKal) first part: ‘Kadi Te Has Bol Ve’ by Shaukat Ali
  •  ‘Zara Zara’ (Race): Lee-Hom Wang’s ‘Deep Within The Bamboo Grove’
  •  ‘PehliNazar Mein’ (Race): Kim Hyung-sub’s ‘Sarang Hae Yo’
  •  ‘Yeh Ishq Haaye’ (Jab We Met): Anggun’s ‘ÊtreUne Femme’
  • ‘Na AayeHo’ (Dum Maro Dum) ad lib: Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’

Believe me, there are many more.

These famous music composers, and many others in Bollywood, have constantly practiced the art of drawing motivation from others’ compositions. They haven’t sought the required permission or given the due credits. In the time of fast and accessible information, such ‘inspired’ works are easily uncovered, especially by people who love music. Naturally, the talent of Bollywood is currently facing scepticism.

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