Intellectual Property Rights: are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
Clearly, nobody explained this to Rajesh Roshan.
In case you’re wondering who it is, he is brother to filmmaker Rakesh Roshan (who has a fetish for beginning his movie names with ‘K’ – Krrish, Khoon Bhari Maang, Koi Mil Gaya, Karan Arjun). Rajesh Roshan is his brother, who has another fetish – Kopying songs.
Not that Bollywood is immune to lifting songs. We have had a long tradition of lifting songs, from the legendary RD Burman, to today’s Pritam.
However, there are a few who stand out in this illustrious list. Say the word ‘Copycat’ and two names pop up like freshly toasted bread – Pritam and Anu Malik. Pritam, coming in the age of Google and YouTube, at least scrounges around the world to find tunes from Korea and Bangladesh. Anu Malik, who started his career in the age of Vivid Bharati, took a few more liberties. (Watch his version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly here).
However, if there is one person who wins the competition hands down – it is Rajesh Roshan. Not only for lifting songs, but for blatantly lifting the most famous songs on earth. Here are 8 times when Rajesh Roshan didn’t give a damn about Intellectual Property Rights.
1. HOTEL CALIFORNIA – BY THE EAGLES:
This is the song that defined the career of the band – The Eagles. A song that every Engineering student with a guitar learnt the riff to – and then bought a DSLR camera. Hotel California is a haunting, surreal song about a man who enters a hotel and can’t get out.
You know how a song enters our head and refuses to leave? We sing the song on and on, till a friend smashes a bucket full of water on our heads and asks us to stop. Doesn’t work like that with Rajesh Roshan. He took the song and converted it into a shitty song in a shitty 90s film called Jaane Jigar.
Laoon Kahaan Se is the name of the song. And probably what Rajesh Roshan was thinking when he needed a new song. Kahaan se laaoon? Eagles se laata hoon!
And he gave us this song. Starring Mamta Kulkarni and three other random Bollywood gundas, the song is so ordinary, it makes Nayan Mongia seem like Viv Richards.
2. CEDDIN DEDEN (TURKISH MARCHING SONG):
You’d think a song that’s used by a country’s military would be sacrosanct to the country. Think again!
Cos ain’t no tune too far away for our bro. Rajesh Roshan lifted this song, a traditional Turkish military song, and brought it to Bollywood.
In Krrish, remember when Krrish dances in the Hero Honda Presents – Great Bombay Circus? The guy had every superpower known to man, and yet chose to dance with clowns to impress the girl. A song so subtle, that they had to explain the gist of Dil Na Diya with the help of a red, heart shaped balloon.
Once you play the song, you realize Krrish isn’t all that super a power. He has an uncle who knows people in the Turkish army. Connections man, connections!
3. VOICES – BY VANGELIS
The year 2000 was the beginning of the new century. When most Indians realized the Y2K virus was just hype, and they went back to surfing desibaba.com on their Pentium 2 PCs. It was also the year Hrithik Roshan debuted in Kaho Na Pyar Hai, a film that gave every teenage Indian girl an orgasm twice (Rohit, and Raj).
Rohit, the scruffy lad who sings and plays the guitar wins Amisha Patel’s heart by singing this song on her birthday.
At this point, we should introduce you to Vangelis. Vangelis is a Greek multiple award-winning music composer who gave the music for legendary films like Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner, and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. Not many people in India know of Vangelis.
But not Rajesh Roshan.
Rajesh Roshan is obsessed with Vangelis. He has lifted his music not once, but on multiple occasions (Do a little Google Search, you lazybum!). Vangelis is known for putting years into his albums, winning awards and the acclaim of music critics. But what are trivialities like copyrights, when your nephew is making his debut, eh? (If you don’t have even a minute in your busy schedule, skip directly to 1:15)
4. IN THE SUMMERTIME – BY SHAGGY
Now this is where things get crazy. To lift a riff, a track, or a basic tune is one thing. But how about lifting the entire tune of a song and bringing it to desi audiences?
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Shaggy – a singer your grandmother wouldn’t approve of – and that’s got nothing to do with his name (Don’t pretend your grandma knows English!).
Shaggy is a Jamaican-Canadian singer and DJ who recorded the song In The Summertime, a song that talks about black guys drinking rum and chilling on the beach. Not very deep, I know, but you wouldn’t epic shit from a guy named Shaggy.
Rajesh Roshan took the song and repackaged it for an Akshay Kumar – Sonali Bendre starrer Tarazu. Tarazu means the weighing scale, and he was only setting the universe’s balance in order. The song is ridiculous on two levels – the tune, and Akshay Kumar dancing with random black guys in what can only be called derogatory. This, however, isn’t the only gem in the film. There’s another song called SuSu Su Aa Gaya Main Kya Karoon. Real su…su…subtle, man!
5. OH! CAROL – NEIL SEDAKA
Neil Sedaka was a singer who shot to fame in the late 1950s with soppy songs about love, unfulfilled love, and fulfilled love. He also danced like he was in Class 3 and the teacher didn’t let him to go to the toilet.
The song was recorded in 1958, and enjoyed reasonable success on the radio. Till the year 2000, when Kya Kehna released. Kya Kehna is a film where Saif Ali Khan gets Preity Zinta pregnant. Saif does it again a few years later in Salaam Namaste – clearly he is Unsaif Ali Khan.
For the title song of Kya Kehna, Rajesh Roshan ne Neil Sedaka ke ghar pe daaka daala. He lifted the song, changed bits of it, and got Hariharan to sing it.
6. 500 HUNDRED MILES – VARIOUS ARTISTS
In the year 1990, Jurm, a film starring Vinod Khanna and Meenakshi Seshadri released. The film was directed by Mahesh Bhatt before he became the conscience of Bollywood. It was a time when Bhatt would lift films blatantly from Hollywood.
This song would become a huge hit, and a million love-struck guys would sing it to their girlfriend over the phone, while hiding on the terrace, warding off mosquitoes.
500 Miles is a folk song that became hugely popular in the USA and Europe in the 60s. The song described the regret of a man who is far away from home and too ashamed to return home. Kind of the feeling I got when I saw my CAT score.
The song has been covered by a number of artists like The Hooters, Joan Baez, and Justin Timberlake. Listening to the original version makes you realize why the film was called Jurm.
7. BARBIE GIRL – BY AQUA
Aqua is a Danish band that garnered a huge hit in the year 1997 with their song Barbie Girl. The song described the life of a very liberal Barbie Doll. You can brush her hair, undress her everywhere. Imagination, life is your creation. However, the makers of Barbie, Mattel, weren’t amused by the song and filed a case.
While India was yet to get introduced to Savita Barbie, a lot of us had listened to this song. I mean, I grew up in Orissa and I had a cassette of the song, so I’m guessing the song was quite well known. But when did that ever stop Rajesh Roshan from churning out a song? Never!
Rajesh Roshan gave the music for a film called Lawaris. True to its name, the film, starring Jackie Shroff, Akshaye Khanna, and Manisha Koirala, got lost amidst the other films released that year. However, the film remains relevant for one reason – Rajesh Roshan lifting off Aqua’s Barbie Girl.
The song is amazing, simply for the balls of steel you need to lift the biggest hit of the year. To top it off, the song has Manisha Koirala and Akshaye Khanna dancing in white trousers and saffron shirts – like two Bajrang Dal activists on cocaine!
8. TITANIC THEME SONG – CELINE DION
When Titanic released in the year 1997, India learnt two major things. You wouldn’t have guessed it with the doped-out Art teacher you had in school, but Titanic changed the way we looked at sketching forever.
It was also the year when Indians started learning English songs. Every Night In My Dreams…was a song that every middle class Indian learnt. The song seemed to be better than the Govinda hits that were doing the rounds back then, and even though there aren’t any statistics, it is probably the most popular English song in India to date.
However, while HMS Titanic sank, one man was keeping the memories alive. Yup.
Released just two years later, was the film Daag – The Fire. Starring Sanjay Dutt, Chandrachur Singh and Mahima Chaudhry, the film was apparently a hit at the box office (Don’t know man, haven’t watched it). However, the highlight of the film was this song that was lifted by Rajesh Roshan.
It is true that only the first line of the film was lifted, but you know what they say – it’s the tip of the iceberg.
It’s sad that while Pritam and Anu Malik are paying the price for a tradition that Hindi cinema has upheld since the 1950s, one guy gets away with the most blatant lifting in the history of blatant lifting!
Rajesh Roshan doesn’t do too many films these days, restricting himself to films by Rajesh Roshan. Someone should inform him about YouTube.com!