Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Of coincidences

It might just be me, but I've noticed some similarities between songs that you wouldn't normally think would sound similar. It would not seem plausible, that is, that the composer of the latter song would be inspired by the former song. For instance, there's a great song called 'Badi dheere jali raina' sung by Rekha Bharadwaj (and composed by Vishal Bharadwaj) in Abhishek Chaubey's "Ishqiya." To me, it sounds a bit like an amazing M. RangaRao song sung brilliantly by Dr. Rajkumar in "Hosa beLaku." But that, to quote the Dude, is just, like, my opinion, man. Check it out for yourselves.

See what I mean? I'm not saying the great Vishal Bharadwaj did what Anu Malik and Anand-Milind did. It might just be the two songs being in the same raga that's swayed me. Then again, this might also be a case of Nabokovian cryptomnesia.

I never thought I'd say Nabokovian cryptomnesia. Ever.

Update:- As commenter penguin points out, "Kanneera dhaare" is an 'absolute and complete adaptation' of a Jagjit Singh ghazal from his 1979 album, "Come alive."   "Hosa beLaku" was released in 1982 and 3 years is ample time to rip off a song. So, I feel a little silly for putting that up as the possible inspiration for "BaDi dheere jali."  The brilliant ghazal in question:- Koi paas aaya savere savere.

Another instance that springs to mind, though even more far-fetched than the previous one, is yet another Hosa beLaku song (I was listening to all the songs from that movie. Really good soundtrack). This time, it's Malayalam composer Ravindran who's been caught by my roving, myopic eye. Particularly, his composition from 'His Highness Abdullah' called "Tu badi masha Allah kahe Abdullah":-

Again, I might be seeing similarities just because I want to. By the way, 'His Highness Abdullah' also has a killer soundtrack. Seek out the songs on Youtube if you haven't heard them already. Also, if you can get your hands on the original Malayalam cassette, you will be privileged to hear Mohanlal say "His Highness Abdullah." Believe me, it's a treat. The movie itself is good, despite the visuals of that last song.

Speaking of that movie, 'Pramadavanam veenDum' seems to have begotten Aaptamitra's "KaNa kaNadi Shaarade."

These aren't instances of plagiarism. Maybe coincidences or cases of a part of a song inspiring another, entirely different song; vague resemblances, perhaps. Let's call it 'vagiarism.' It's not how the music director of the Kannada film 'Mona Lisa' (Vallisha Sandeep?) blatantly ripped off the titular bit of "Staying alive" and added that to the film's title song. Check that shit out, it's in the first interlude. Staying alive, of all the songs. That's among the stupidest songs ever sung. It's also not how Pradeep Sarkar borrowed almost the entire plot from K Balachander's 'Arangetram' and made 'Laaga chunari mein daag' or how B R Chopra made minor changes to the plot of B R Panthulu's Kannada classic 'Schoolmaster' and produced 'Baghban.' By the way, it says five people wrote Baghban. "Hey, did you hear the one about how many writers it takes to rip off an old Kannada film...?"

No, these are just vague resemblances that trigger off dormant faultlines in my memory, I guess. I watched "Let the right one in" yesterday, after thinking of watching it for many months. The more amateur (like me) anime watchers among you will recall the amazing 'Elfenlied' series. This movie put me in mind of that anime. Here, Oskar, the normal, hapless young boy finds an incredibly powerful 'special friend' in the vampire girl Eli. In Elfenlied, Kohta is the powerless hero(?) who befriends the powerful Diclonius Nyu/Lucy. (Spoiler alert) At the end of "Let the right one in," Eli, the vampire girl, saves Oskar from the bullies after some messy bloodletting. In Elfenlied, Nyu confronts shitloads of soldiers and saves Kohta after shedding truckloads of blood. (Spoiler ends)

Come to think of it, that's kind of similar to "Akira" as well. Tetsuo goes crazy and becomes some sort of expanding organism. His best friend, Kaneda, 'saves' him from himself and -- maybe I am seeing too much into this stuff.

Iron Man 2 is good fun, though.

Update:- I really must be seeing too much into things. In the following scene, check out Dr. Rajkumar's acting and voice modulation (don't watch the whole scene, it's a bit blade. Just watch for a couple of minutes).

Doesn't it seem that Kamal Haasan does a similar job in 'Indiran Chandiran' as the evil mayor? Similar voice. Kamal might have been inspired by it, you never know.


Harish said...

"kaNNeera dhaare"-gu, "baDi dheere jali"-gu similarities ide, though it could well be, as you said, a case of resemblance-due-to-same-raga. erDu haaDu kooDa chennaagide, Dr. Raj antoo oLLe sikkaapaTTe chennaag haaDbiTTiddaare. What a great singer he was!
Aadre aa 'Cheluveye ninna nODaloo'-gu, 'tu baDi masha alla'-gu anta similarities nan kivige kanDu barlilla.
Speaking of 'kaNa kaNade', I liked it a lot more than the song which it has allegedly been 'plagiarized'(according to some). Despite the resemblances to pramadavanam, it sounds a lot different and also richer. According to me atleast.

vishal said...

KaNNeera dhaare and baDi dheere jali are in Kamavardhini raaga.
This raga apparently has aphrodisiac properties, which prompted Rahman to use it in Hai raama yeh kya hua.
Oddly enough, Mukta Mukta title song is in the same raga!

Parisarapremi said...

@vishal - adu (kaNNeera dhaare) kaamavardhini alla. shubha pantuvaraaLi..

@harisha: kivige kanDu barbeku andre saryaagi muTbeku!!

@arjuna: Rasik Balma (chori chori) gu nu Ee SambhaashaNe (dharmasere) irO saamya na gurutisi haage ne.. matte innondu.. Milana KaaNadu (MuduDida Taavare AraLitu) gu matte Mera Jeevan Kora Kaagaz (Kora Kaagaz) gu nu irO saamya nu gamnsi.. matte ide haaDigoo Ninna KangaLa Bisiya HanigaLu (BaDavara Bandhu) gu nu irO saamya gamnsbiDu...

puNya barutte.

Vishal said...

@Parisarapremi - Kamavardhini and Pantuvarali are the same.

Raju said...

Excellent post! Please to repeat the first two paragraphs of Harish's comment. I feel the same way. (Engineer's curse, optimisation).

His Highness Abdullah has the brilliant Devasabathalam. When Mohanlal (Yesudas) arrives at the crescendo and sings the Anandam part in Revati, I always go into raptures!.

penguin said...

While the "Kanneera Dhaare" song (Hosa Belaku -1982) is indeed a beautiful rendition by Dr. Rajkumar, it has to be said that it is a complete and absolute adaptation (tune and music included) of Jagjit Singh's evergreen ghazal "Koi Paas Aaya" (Come Alive - 1979).

Here is Koi Paas Aaya Sawere Sawere


Another ref :

Arjun Sharma said...

[Harish] Richer anta heLodu kashTa, ivne. Alli Yesudas adbhutavagi haaDidare, illi Madhu Balakrishnan kooDa ashTe. Both songs are equally good. I just felt that the former had inspired the latter to some extent.

[vishal] Heh, Mukta Mukta aphrodisiac aadre bahaLa kashTa. One can only look forward to a protractedly dull sex life, where you have to do everything three times to thundering music before the point finally gets across. And you might have to do it in court too.

[Parisarapremi] Houdu, Rasik balma matte Ee sambhashaNe saamyate gurutisidde. But 'Milana kaaNadu'-gu 'Mera jeevan kora kaagaz'-gu bahala vague resemblance ide, ashte. The same applies to 'Ninna kangaLa bisiya hanigaLu.' Tumba enu illa.

Nange puNya baralla, alve? Hogli, AnantamurthygaLa hatra ondishTu iskotini.

[vishal] Indeed, Kamavardhini and PantuvaraLi are the same. But ShubhapantuvaraLi is different, and that raga is what these songs are composed in.

Confusingly, at one point of time, what we now call ShubhapantuvaraLi used to be called just PantuvaraLi, apparently.

[Raju] Indeed. That song is brilliant. Until that part of the 'duel,' both singers are on equal footing. But when Yesudas sings 'Anandam ananthanandam,' he steals the show.

[penguin] Wow, I'd never heard of that ghazal. Thanks a lot for that. Looks like M Rangarao ripped off Jagjit Singh. Or, as you've politely put it, 'absolutely and completely' adapted an entire song. :)

Brilliant song. Jagjit is amazing. Thanks again for the Youtube link. And the one to the post.

Arjun Sharma said...

[Parisarapremi] Haage, 'Chandan sa badan' matte 'Jab deep jale aana' haaDugaLa saamyate gurutisi.

Heege hodre naavu ITWOFS thara ondu site open maaDbekagatte.

Parisarapremi said...

1. tere mere sapne (the guide) haaDina charaNa mattu baaLe prema geete (haalu jenu) haaDina charaNa adbhutavaagi match aagutte...

2. chal ri sajni ab kya sOche (Bambai ka babu) haaDinalli heNNu chorus-gaLu haaDOdanne namma kaNNeeridu rakta kaNNeeridu (Rakta kaNNeeru) haaDinallu continue maaDbitidaare anta nu ansutte...

3. innondu super vishya andre babul kaun ghaDi (umang) haaDu matte hamsalekha avara premada hoogaara ee haaDugaara (chikkejamaanru) haaDu eraDara pallavi nu almost onde svara kooDa!!

Parisarapremi said...

jagjit singh du ghazal na naanu keLe irlilla... heege iLsbiTidaaraa??? yappaa!!!!

Arjun Sharma said...

[Parisarapremi] "BaaLe prema geete" Jwalamukhi chitraddalve? Houdu, sakkatagi match aagatte, Tere mere sapne jote. Channagi maaDidare, ade thara haaDna. Coincidence irbeku. :)

Mikka eraDu haaDugaLoo kooDa, houdu, neevu heLida haage similar-u.

[Parisarapremi] Direct. Allinda etti, illi haakkonDru, saleesagi. Ashte.

Monkey said...


Two Lata duets: note first lines, and many phrases in the course of both the songs.

Ek shahenshah ne banvaake haseen Taj Mahal (Leader, Naushad)

Preceding even this, Madan Mohan in Chacha Zindabad (which also had Bairan Neend Na Aaye, arguably one of Lata's best ever) - Preetam daras dikhaao.

Even Raina Beeti Jaaye is somewhat similar. Among many many other songs of course.

Arjun Sharma said...

[Monkey] Oh, this is quite a line of lifts. First, Madan Mohan composes the original, arguably, in ShubhapantuvaraLi/Lalit in "Chacha zindabad." Then, Naushad slows that tune down for "Leader." Years pass and then, Jagjit Singh rips Naushad off for his album. Then, M Rangarao lifts the lift for "Hosa BeLaku." And we discover all this now, decades later.

This is like a Scandinavian crime novel for Indian film music. Something happens, but they piece the whole thing together only thirty years later. Thanks-appa, aa links-ge. The Leader song is amazing, not least because it has Rafi in it.

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