The 1981 Hindi film Jyoti, despite its other merits/demerits, is now known for one thing – a very famous lawsuit on music plagiarism! Jyoti‘s song, ‘Kaliyon Ka Chaman’ (‘Thoda Resham Lagta Hai’) was sampled by Dr. Dre for the song ‘Addictive’ sung by Truth Hurts (Shari Watson). Copyright holders Saregama India filed a $500 million lawsuit against Universal Music Group in 2002 for unauthorised use of their Hindi song, composed by Bappi Lahiri.
This is quite ironic, given the other plagiarism hasn’t been contested by the original rights holders, and Saregama and Bappi Lahiri should consider themselves lucky that they haven’t been sued yet. Jyoti contains another song in the soundtrack, ‘Chidiya Chon Chon’, sung by Kishore Kumar. The song is an unabashed copy of a very famous song called ‘Mary Ann’, by one of the legends of Calypso music, Roaring Lion (real name: Rafael de Leon). Lion was born in Trinidad in 1908 and began singing in calypso tents around 1927. In 1934, a local record store owner Eduardo Sa Gomes arranged for Lion to travel to New York to record for the American Record Company. During the 1930s and 1940s, Lion recorded repeatedly in New York and one such song was ‘Mary Ann’.
The song has been covered by numerous artists, legally, including Harry Belafonte and Xavier Cugat.
Listen to ‘Mary Ann’, by Roaring Lion:
Listen to ‘Marianne’, as a duet featuring Harry Belafonte & Julie Andrews:
Listen to ‘Chidiya Chon Chon’ (Jyoti, 1981):
The story doesn’t end here! Bappi Lahiri perhaps loved the song a bit more than usual, because 10 years after copying it first, he copied it again!
In the 1991 film Yodha, he copied the same original again to create ‘Whole Day Whole Night’! The severe irony is that the lyrics of the original goes,
“All day, all night, Miss Mary Ann
Down by the seaside, she sifting sand”.
It’s almost as if Bappi Lahiri doesn’t even care if anyone found out that he plagiarised an original blatantly with no permission whatsoever.
Listen to ‘Whole Day Whole Night’ (Yodha, 1991):
And the story doesn’t end here either! Here’s an intriguing Easter Egg!
The Yodha song’s lyrics go:
Whole day whole night dil tarse
Jaane saawan kab barse
Milenge kab hum
Chala na jaaye Kahin ye mausam
Chala jaayega jahaan ye mausam
Chale jaayenge wahaan hum baalam baalam
When you listen to,
“Chala jaayega jahaan ye mausam
Chale jaayenge wahaan hum baalam”
…you naturally start humming some other song.
Upon some thinking, you land on ‘Mere Jeevan Saathi’s Chala Jaata Hoon’, by R.D Burman! Especially the line, “Milan ki masti,
Bhari aankhon mein
Listen to ‘Chala Jaata Hoon’ (Mere Jeevan Saathi):
A typical Bappi Lahiri khichdi!