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Exclusive: Anu Malik on 'Mera Mulk Mera Desh' track being inspired from Israeli national anthem


The tune of 'Mera Mulk Mera Desh' from Diljale (1996) sounds similar to that of the Israreli national anthem 'Hatikvah', but Malik says he had not heard the anthem.

Mayur Lookhar

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel, and was received warmly by his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. .

The Indo-Israeli union is the talk of the world with all the attention on Modi’s visit to the Middle East nation. While Modi and Netanyahu exchange pleasantries, music composer Anu Malik has come into focus for his Isareli connection.

What does a Bollywood music composer have to do with the Indo-Isralei ties? The composer found himself in the limelight after it was discovered that one of his compositions was inspired by the Isareli national anthem. Hard to believe? May be not, as Malik is known for taking the odd 'inspiration' for a lot of his film music.

The song in question is 'Mera Mulk Mera Desh' from the Ajay Devgn-starrer Diljale (1996), that was directed by Harry Baweja. Malik was the composer, while Javed Akhtar penned the 'Mera Mulk Mera Desh' song. Back then, it was thought to be an original composition, but two decades later it has come to light that the music has glaring similarities to the Israeli national anthem ‘Hatikvah’ (The Hope).

'Hatikvah' was written in 1886 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Zloczow (today Zolochiv, Ukraine), then part of Austrian province Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. The melody for 'Hatikvah' is derived from La Mantovana, a 16th-century Italian song, composed by Giuseppe Cenci. The adaptation of the music for 'Hatikvah' was set by Samuel Cohen in 1888.

Perhaps, these names and the Israeli national anthem remained unknown to most Indians until some keen netizens dug out the Diljale song.

Hear the 'Mera Mulk Mera Desh' song and the Israeli national anthem 'Hatikvah':

 

There’s an uncanny similarity with the flow of the music. Malik tweaked the tone, giving it a more Bollywood-esque feel. While the language is vastly different, the flows of the aalap (intro) is quite similar to 'Hatikvah'. The visuals in the Hindi track were laced with jingoism.

The Diljale song was crooned by Kumar Sanu and a young Aditya Narayan with  Kavita Krishnamurthy singing the sad version.

Malik claimed that he had never heard the Israeli national anthem.

"By chance if you feel the notes clash, that was not my intention as I have never heard the Israeli national anthem in my life ever. Also, Diljale is such an old film. Thank you for bringing this beautiful patriotic song and film into focus. I am thrilled to receive your message asking about my patriotic song 'Mera Mulk' for when it was released, as far as I can remember, it never got its rightful due. Though it is played on every Republic Day," Malik told Cinestaan.com.

We leave it to the readers to decide whether the Israeli national anthem inspired Malik.