The 1992 Shah Rukh Khan starrer Chamatkar was known for its music as much as it is known for its ghost, played by Naseeruddin Shah. The plot goes that only Shah Rukh Khan could see and talk with the ghost and it goes on to help him in his life in many ways.
The film’s composer Anu Malik seems to be seeing and talking to 3 ghosts to produce 3 songs for the soundtrack! Yes, of the 6 songs in the soundtrack 3 are ‘inspired’, to put it mildly. Thankfully, my favorite song from the film, ‘Iss Pyaar Se Meri Taraf Na Dekho’ is not one of them.
1. Let’s take ‘Bichhoo O Bichhoo’, first. The song, filmed inside an unusually large train compartment, with Urmila and her friends chasing a bewildered Shah Rukh Khan all over the place while searching for a scorpion, is a racy and incredibly catchy song. The only problem is that Anu Malik is not the brain behind the tune.
Listen to Bichoo (Chamatkar, 1992):
Bichoo’s tune was first composed as an instrumental, titled ‘I Will Follow Him’ in 1961, by the French composer Franck Pourcel using the pseudonym J.W. Stole, and Paul Mauriat (using the pseudonym Del Roma)!
Listen to ‘I Will Follow Him’ (instrumental, 1961):
It was a big hit and the British singer Petula Clark used the tune to create a French song titled ‘Chariot’ in 1962. It was created from the original to cater to Petula’s vocal range, in a soulful, moody style. But you could hear a lot of Chamatkar‘s Bichoo even here!
Listen to Petula Clark’s Chariot (1962):
But the most direct original of Bichoo is the 3rd and most popular iteration of ‘I Will Follow Him’, by 14-year-old Margaret Battavio, better known as Little Peggy March, in 1963! RCA producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore (known as ‘Hugo and Luigi’) discovered Margaret Battavio, named her Little Peggy March, possibly because she was only 4 ft 10 in tall (she was only 14 at that time, remember!), and gave her a reimagined version of Chariot/I Will Follow Him! The new tune was considerably uptempo and had a doo wop-style male chorus. The main chorus of the song is the core melody of Bichoo, by the way!
Listen to Little Peggy March’s ‘I Will Follow Him’ (1963):
Anu Malik may be the only composer in this series who has ‘covered’ the song without permission because the song has been used in many other places too! For example, it was featured at the end of the Whoopie Goldberg starrer Sister Act, in the same year as Chamatkar – 1992!
Listen to Sister Act, end scene song:
The song has also been used by Malaysian mobile service provider Digi, as their advertisement jingle:
2. The 2nd Chamatkari song in the film is ‘Jawani Diwani’. A curious feature of this song is that it features Baazigar‘s ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen’ tune in the 2nd interlude! Chamatkar was released in 1992 and Baazigar in 1993, and Anu Malik composed music for both films.
Listen to ‘Jawani Diwani’ (Chamatkar, 1992) – the Baazigar tune starts at 4:15:
Since I have already written about the origin of ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen’, let me focus on ‘Jawani Diwani’s original. The original belongs to Boney M, the Euro-Caribbean group. The song is Bahama Mama, from Boney M’s 4th album, Oceans Of Fantasy (1979). The first 4 lines of Bahama Mama has been used as-is by Anu Malik to create ‘Jawani Diwani’.
Listen to Bahama Mama (Boney M, 1979):
3. For the 3rd Chamatkari song, Anu Malik has been beaten by Bappi Lahiri! The song is ‘O Meri Neendein Churane’.
Listen to ‘O Meri Neendein Churane’ (Chamatkar, 1992):
Bappi Lahiri has used this tune back in 1981, for the film Armaan! The song was ‘Mere Jaisi Haseena Ka Dil’, sung by Sharon Prabhakar and Bappi Lahiri. Listen to Mere Jaisi Haseena Ka Dil (Armaan, 1981):
Does the tune belong to Bappi Lahiri? Of course not! It belongs to American rock band Dr.Hook, and the original song is ‘When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman’, a 1979 single that joined the mega-successful disco wave of that period! Listen to Dr.Hook’s ‘When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman’ (1979)
The tune for the first 7-8 lines of ‘When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman’ has been used exactly by both Bappi Lahiri and Anu Malik, for their respective versions.
“When you’re in love with a beautiful woman
When you’re in love with a beautiful woman
You know it’s hard
Everybody wants her
Everybody loves her
Everybody wants to take your baby home”
…and compare notes with Armaan’s ‘Mere Jaisi Haseena Ka Dil’:
“Aa mere jaisi haseena
Ka dil yaha jis se mil jaye
Wo jane jana mera deewana
Logo ko ka nisana ban jaye”
…and Chamatkar’s ‘O Meri Neendein Churane’:
“O Meri Neendein Churaane Wale Tera Sukariya
O Mera Chain Churaane Wale Tera Sukariya
Dard Nahin Tha Jab Seene Ka
Khak Maza Tha Jeene Ka”.
Anu Malik’s version is a much slower ballad-style variant, compared to the enthusiastic and lively disco-style original, and Bappi Lahiri’s version