That Anu Malik was a compulsive plagiarist while also composing fantastic original music is a well-known fact by now. But, some of his plagiarized music make for fascinating connections when you look at the theme of what he plagiarized and what he ended up producing as a result.

Let us take a look at two such songs. The connecting link between both songs is that Anu Malik composed both tunes as an ode to our motherland – Bharat.

The first song is from the 1996 film Diljale. The film’s soundtrack had hit songs like ‘Ho Nahi Sakta’ and ‘Shaam Hain Dhuan Dhuan’. One particular song, ‘Mera Mulk Mera Desh’ was crafted by Anu Malik as a song that Ajay Devgn’s father uses to instill patriotism when he is young. The song appears thrice in the soundtrack – one normal/happy version sung by Ajay Devgn’s father, and 2 sad versions, one male and one female. It was clearly the most important song of the soundtrack, and the patriotic fervour of the song made it fairly memorable within the film’s context and in the 1996 period.

Listen to ‘Mera Mulk Mera Desh’ here.

The song’s tune has an interesting history going all the way back to 16th century Italy! Before going into that history, it’s easier to state that the tune is now most popular as Israel’s national anthem!! Yes, Israel’s national anthem, called Hatikvah, has the same tune as Diljale’s ‘Mera Mulk Mera Desh’. Or, the other way round!

Listen to an instrumental version of Hatikvah:

Listen to a vocal version of Hatikvah:

Hatikvah’s melody was composed by Samuel Cohen, in 1888. It is said that Cohen mentioned his inspiration behind the melody as a Romanian song called ‘Carul cu boi’ that he had heard years ago. Listen to Carul cu boi.

The source of all these is the 16th century Italian song called ‘La Mantovana’, composed by Giuseppe Cenci. Listen to La Mantovana:

Also listen to the history of the tune charting its various versions (doesn’t include Diljale‘s song, of course):

The other song that Anu Malik composed for Bharat and was also plagiarized came out the next year, in 1997. The film? Border! The soundtrack was very popular for songs like ‘Sandese Aate Hain’ and ‘Toh Chaloon’. But one particular song was earmarked specifically to rouse patriotic feelings in the audience. That was, helpfully called, ‘Hindustan Hindustan’. The melody of the song was anything but Hindustan! Ironically, the song had a skeletal 4-line melody that was a platform to feature stirring dialogs by Kulbhushan Kharbanda.

Listen to ‘Hindustan Hindustan’ from Border (1997):

And simple 4-line melody was directly inspired from the theme music of the Rocky series, starring Sylvester Stallone! Rocky’s original music was composed by Bill Conti in 1976, and this particular theme music, called ‘Gonna Fly Now’ was so popular that it was also extended to Rocky II and Rocky III, used over a montage of Rocky Balboa training!

Here’s the soundtrack version of ‘Gonna Fly Now’:

Listen to the song in Rocky I:

In Rocky II:

And in Rocky III:

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