Jan 01 1970

Copycat Composers

by   Mayur Lookhar

If you think you've heard these songs before, you're probably right

1 Dheere Dheere se – Yo Yo Honey Singh finds his ‘Aashiqui’

The 1990 romantic musical drama turned Rahul Roy and Anu Agarwal into superstars but what aided them greatly was the simple yet soulful music of Aashiqui.  The film also gave rise to new music stars such as Kumar Sanu, Anuradha Paudwal, lyricist Sameer, and the duo of Nadeem-Shravan.  Together, they swept most of the music awards. One fell in love with every track from Aashiqui for here was a music that struck the right chord in every layman’s heart.  The audio cassettes sold like hot cakes paving the way for Gulshan Kumar and his company T-Series into becoming a giant label.
Aashiqui completed silver jubilee in 2015, and director Mahesh Bhatt paid an ode to his classic with a remake in 2013 but none of the songs were reprised. Surprisingly, of all the people, it was rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh who decided to reprise a song from the classic for a private music video. He picked Dheere Dheere Se, slowed the pace down further, but the net result was the same as the original – a smashing hit.  Of course, it helped that he had Greek God Hrithik Roshan chasing sassy lass Sonam Kapoor in exotic locales. Rahul Roy didn't have such privleges as he had to resort to old school romance – chasing shadows and carving graffiti.

2 Tumhe Apna Banane Ki Kasam Khayi  Hai – when the kasam turns to junoon

Nadeem-Shravan and Kumar Sanu ruled the roost in the 90s and another one of their gems was the 1991 flick Sadak. It was hard to match the standards of Aashiqui, but Sadak comprised of some unforgettable melodies, most notably the titillating track ‘Tumhe Apna Banane Ki Kasam Khayi hai’.  There was one solo track and a duet by Kumar Sanu and Anuradha Paudwal.

Fast forward to 2015, T-Series decided to rekindle the magic but in an extremely sensual style.  Rashmi Virag tweaked the lyrics to ‘Tumhe apna bananeka junoon sar pe hai’.  Armaan Malik and Neeti  Mohan put their vocal chords to seductive mode, while Sharman Joshi and Zareen Khan happily locked their lips and hips. The bold scenes helped ‘’Hate Story 3’ fare well at the office. However, for all its sensuality, we still love Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt’s swinging  smooch from the other track in Sadak.

3 Har Kisi Ko Nahi Milta –The  Janbaaz’ now has a ‘Boss’

Bollywood’s own cowboy Feroz Khan had women drooling over him in real life, but that wasn’t always the case with his films. The 1986 action-packed romantic drama Janbaaz had lovelorn Khan lamenting the loss of his lady love Sridevi in the emotional melody ‘Har Kisi Ko Nahi Milta Yahan Pyaar Zindagi Mein’. The track had three versions, a solo each by Manhar Udhas, Sadhana Sargam and a duet by both of them.  Each track was a smash hit.  Janbaaz’s music remains of the finest compositions by the legendary duo of Kalyanji-Anandji.
In 2013, Akshay Kumar acquired the rights of the classic song for his action drama ‘Boss’.  Manoj Yadav added few lines of his own, with Chitrantan Bhatt composing the two versions , one sung by Nikhil D’Souza, the other by Arijit Singh and Neeti Mohan.  The one crooned by Nikhil D’Souza had Akshay Kumar remembering his lady love Sonakshi Sinha, while the other version had Shiv Pandit romancing Aditi Rao Hydari across exotic locales.  Fans developed more liking for the latter as it was crooned by the very popular Arijit Singh.

4 Anjan ki seeti mein maahro mann dole –  The ‘engine’ gains steam via the Khoobsurat ‘bum’

Little did Rehana Mirza imagine that one day her timeless folk track ‘Anjan Ki Siti’ would blow no heart but a gyrating bum of a royal misfit, giving her and lovers of Rajasthani folk music heart pangs.
The film itself was loosely inspired by a 1980 flick of the same name, and the Sonam Kapoor-starrer 2014 flick Khoobsoorat  gave a very poor rustic rendition of Mirza’s ‘Anjan Ki Siti’.  Ikram Rajasthani spelt ‘engine’ rightly but one questioned his wisdom in turning the mann ( heart) into a bum.  The alteration robbed the song of its rustic flavour.  Despite the criticism, ‘Engine Ki Seeti’ was cheered by the gen next, who perhaps weren’t privy to the original, and by those who smiled at the sight of Sonam’s gyrating bum.

5 Bachna Ae Haseeno –  Like father, like son. Ranbir, the ladies man

Rishi Kapoor was the heartthrob of the 70s while Kishore Kumar the eternal rockstar, who crooned many a great numbers for the actor.  The 1976 musical blockbuster ‘Hum Kisi Se Kam Naheen’  was one of RD Burman’s  greatest contribution as the legendary musician pulled all the stops in producing a musical delight. True that some of the tracks were inspired by English legends, but as always, RD. Burman gave a touch of his own.
The ‘Bachana Ae Haseeno’ track became like an anthem and three decades later, Kapoor passed the ladies’ man baton to his son Ranbir in a film who’s title read as ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’.
Vishal -Shekhar called the title track an ode to the great Kishore as they didn’t tinker too much with the original, retaining the late great singer’s voice, while Sumit Kumar and Vishal himself added their touch.  The new version was a rocking affair, perhaps even outshining the original.
Now, Ranbir sure can never match the uber cool looks of his dad, but then again, papa Kapoor didn’t have beauties like Deepika, Bipasha and Minisha dancing around him.

6 Dum Maaro Dum -  Zeenat to Deepika,  the hippies rule

Condemned by critics for his last flick (Prem  Pujari), the late Dev Anand headed to Kathmandu in search of peace, but out there the sight of the hippies saddened him to such an extent that he decided  to make the 1971 blockbuster  ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna,  a film which introduced us to the diva called Zeenat Aman.  Hare Rama Hare Krishna also brought a new facet to Asha Bhosle as she discovered the pop star in her.  The ‘Dum Maro Dum’ track helped Bhosle win the best singer award while Zeenat Aman had become the darling of the nation.
Forward to 2011, Rohan Sippy not only named his film ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ but he also chose to reprise the magic of the classic song, a move that didn’t have the blessings of Dev Anand, but eventually the actor gave in to the request.  However, what the great man didn’t envisage was how composer Pritam would get it horribly wrong. Deepika Padukone stepped into Zeenat Aman’s shoes merely for this song.   However, those shoes were too big to be filled as critics slammed the new version for its innate lyrics and dirty dancing.  Anushka Manchanda coudn’t really be faulted for her singing for the blame was all Pritam’s to bear.

7 Raat Akeli Hai –‘ Ragini’  spooks the ‘Jewel Thief’ 

Saree -clad actresses seduced their heroes throughout the song, but the passionate flames were doused as quickly as they arose.  The yesteryear super stars must be wondering we had the most romantic songs, but seldom did the video match up to the sensual lyrics. The gorgeous Tanuja wooed Dev Anand (to no avail)  in the inviting track ‘Raat Akeli Hai’ from the 1967 cult classic ‘Jewel Thief’.   Asha Bhosle and S.D Burman were the architects of this melody which cut across all generations.
Many many nights later, the ‘akeli raat’ (lonely night) became the invitation for the occult to smirk at the sight of intimate lovers.  Ekta Kapoor’s ‘Raat Akeli Hai’  from Ragini MMS turns you on, but the climax has both the actors and you jumping out of bed in extreme fear.

8 Khoya Khoya Chand – Bejoy Nambiar’s ‘Shaitan’-ic verse

A lost moon, wide open sky made for a perfect setting for two lovers to gaze each other through the night.  Crooned by Mohammed Rafi, S.D Burman’s celestial track ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’  from the 1960 classic ‘Kala Bazar’ lit up every passionate heart across the universe.
Five decades later, the classic track was reprised but the lost moon and the wide sky becoming mere spectators to the blood bath unleashed in Bejoy Nambiar’s critically acclaimed  2011 flick ‘Shaitan’.  Make no bones about it, albeit bloodied, Nambiar’s ‘Shaitan-ic’ verse of ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’ drew admiration for its architects - musician Mikey McCleary and vocalist Suman Sridhar.  If only Nambiar had limited the blood bath in the video, it would have been a befitting reprisal. However, Nambiar had to play true to his ‘Shaitan’ too.

9 Hawa Hawai - The ‘Shaitan’s angles ride high on reggae

It’s unusual for a film to have two classic reprisals, and Bejoy Nambiar successfully managed to do that first with ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’ and then with ‘Hawa Hawai’ - Sridevi’s electrifying  track from the 1987 sci-fi blockbuster Mr.India.  (The song also power tracked Kavita Krishnamurthy’s career to new level). Mikey McCleary and Suman Sridhar joined hands again to produce a vastly different rendition.
If the original score was Bollywoodesque in nature,  McCleary’ s ‘Hawai Hawai’ reverberated from Chennai to Caribbean.  The reprisal in reggae style would perhaps have even the great Bob Marley shaking a leg in his grave.  What made the song more appealing was the huffing, puffing, and swimming bare bodies of Kalki Koechlin and Rukshar Rehman.  Laximkant-Pyarelal certainly wouldn't have approved of this bold display, but up in heaven a Shaitan sighed, “Mogambo khush hua”

10  Dhak Dhak - Stop this ‘Nautanki Saala

Oh, don’t get agitated for this writer isn’t hurling any profanity at you.  Truth be told, many of us would have even forgotten the disastrous 2013 tragedy of a comedy called ‘Nautanki Saala’. As bad as the film was,  fans were shocked  with the poor and vulgar reprisal of the 1992 chartbuster ‘Dhak Dhak Karne Lagaa’. It must be noted though that Anand-Milind themselves had lifted the music of the Telegu track ‘Abbanee teeyani debba’ from the 1990 film Jagadeka Veeruda Athiloka Sundari which starred Madhuri’s arch rival Sridevi and Chiranjeev.
What really worked for the song wasn’t the music or the lyrics per se, but it was the seductive dance performance by Madhuri Dixit that had fans drooling over her. The spicy saffron sari not covering the cleavage and the unabashed breast-beating to the dhol beat made Madhuri look like a seductive Goddess. Choreographer Saroj Khan knew how to bring the best out in Madhuri. Her dancing can be erotic but seldom could one label them as vulgar.   Till date, ‘Beta’ is synonym with the ‘Dhak Dhak’ track.
Unfortunately, one couldn’t say the same about the dirty reprisal of ‘Dhak Dhak’ in ‘Nautanki Saala’.  Mikey McCleary’s ‘Dhak Dhak’ added the pop beats but the track simply had no heart. Such poor was the singing that the artists don’t even deserve to be mentioned.  To the leading ladies of ‘Nautanki Saala’ there’s only thing to say, ‘you may have the boobs, but you clearly lack the moves’.

11 Eena Meena Deeka  - Then, now and forever a ‘Shaandar’ beat

In the nascent days of Indian film industry, taking inspiration from the west was no harm for it introduced our audiences to new forms of music. Bill Haley and His Comets’ ‘Rock around the clock’ inspired C. Ramchandra to create the ‘Eena Meena Deeka’ melody.  Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle rendered their voices to the track with the latter also crooning the female version.
In 1994, ‘Eena Meena Deeka’ became the title of a comedy film but save for the title, the film didn’t really reprise the classic song with the ‘Eena Meena Deeka’ beat only beating through the end of a comic parody.
One had to wait till 2015 for the true reprisal with remix specialist Mikey McCleary conjuring a ‘Shaandaar’ remix, while Rachel Verghese chipping in with a very energetic performance.

12 Khaike Paan Banaras wala -  A Don bitten by the  Betel bug

In days when he unapologetically proclaimed himself as King Khan,  Shah Rukh Khan’s critics felt that whatever he does, he will always remain second to the legend Amitabh Bachchan.  And so SRK decided to step into the great man’s shoes with the remake of the 1978 blockbuster Don.  Director Farhan Akhtar tweaked his father’s original script to good effect, while Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy produced one of their finest scores.  Don’s music was a smash hit earning praise from both critics and fans alike.
Though the title song had few common lines from the original, it really wasn’t a reprisal. The trio chose to reprise two songs - 'Khaike Paan Banaras wala and 'Yeh mera dil' from the original.
Matching to the great Kishore was next to impossible, but Udit Narayan did an amiable job with his Paan Banaraswala reprisal. Such was the power of the words, penned by Anjan, that this track would have you grooving even without the music.  Anjan gifted a masterpiece, rather a master leaf.  All that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy had to do was to wrap the paan (betel) nicely and serve it in a golden case.

13 Yeh Mera Dil - Bebo you’re a babe, but you're no Helen

Whilst the audience accepted the new version of ‘Paan Banaras wala’, they certainly didn’t appreciate the other reprisal, the very arousing ‘Yeh mera dil’ track.  Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy fluffed their lines, and music too, while Sundhi Chauhan was a pale shadow of herself.
But the real eye sore was Kareena Kapoor, who looked more like a cat on hot tin roof than a sultry seductress, an art that was mastered by Helen in the original.  May be some masterpieces are best left untouched.