Musicians being inspired by each other's work is nothing new. And Bollywood has never been immune to this. While we do enjoy the remixing old songs, the 'inspiration' from other composers is usually looked down upon, even though some of the biggest composers in our industry have not been wary of doing it. Leaving all this discourse about whether it is right or wrong, let us walk down memory lane and talk about a hit Bollywood number with some international links.
In 1993 came the Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol starrer Baazigar. The film gave us one of the biggest superstars of our times. One of the songs from the film Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen continues to be a popular number even today. This music composition by Anu Malik won many awards. Malik who was riding on the wave of success with films like Sir, Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee and Jaanam, seems to have been inspired by a 1986 English pop song for Yeh Kali Kali Aankhen. The tune of the song is very similar to ‘Because Of You’ by the 80s girl-group Cover Girls. That’s not just all, the style of singing also happens to be very similar to an old Neapolitan song Guaglione which was composed in 1956 by Giuseppe Fanciulli and written by Nicola Salerno. Fanciulli’s song won awards in a Napoli festival.
In fact what is interesting is that Anu Malik was not the only composer to be inspired by the sounds of the mandolin from Guaglione. In 1960, composer Snehal Bhatkar used the mandolin music for the song Lehron Pe Lehar song from the movie Chhabili. It was sung by Hemant Kumar and Nutan, who also starred in the film, alongside Kaysi Mehra. Actually the tunes have not been restricted to Bollywood alone. In the same year as Bhatkar's song, came the Tamil song Pirakkum Podhum Azhugindraai. Compose duo Viswanathan-Ramamurthy for the film Kavalai Illaadha Manithan, it was sung by Chandrababu. But what made this composition different was that the mandolin music was replaced with that of the violin.
Well, inspiration or no inspiration, we can only say that music always soothes the soul. Yes with modern times today we are able to spot the similarities much easily, but that cannot take away from the fact that through their 'inspired' work these music directors and more others like them , introduced us to global sounds.