There is no shortage of instances in Hindi film music where traditional folk tunes, classical bandish and other popular tunes have been used again and again by various composers. In this post I’m talking about one song that has been used as is three times, and slight variations of the tune another three times.
Everyone knows about Kamal Amrohi’s Pakeezah, a film that was so long in the making that between the time it was conceived and finally released, more than one and a half decade had passed. Its composer dies during the making of the film, and the lead actress passed away a few weeks after the release of the film. The film and its soundtrack eventually turned out to be a huge success. One of the most popular mujras in the film was Inhi Logon Ne Le Leena Dupatta Mera. The song was first shot in black and white on a much younger Meena Kumar around 1956. The film then went into cold storage for some time, only to be restarted in colour. The song, therefore, had to be filmed again. How I wish the film was made when it was started, as the black and white clip of the song looks much better not only because of a young Meena Kumari, but also the sets that look much more grand in black and white.
Here is a brief clipping of the original as well as the version that was finally included in the film:
It wasn’t until a few years back that I came to know that this song with almost the same tune and lyrics was used many years earlier by Pt. Gobindram, who composed it for the film Himmat (1941) in Shamshad Begum’s voice. It is believed that this song was probably popular among the tawaifs of that era and Pt. Gobindram based his song on that. Aziz Kashmiri was credited with the lyrics, although it cannot be ruled out that he borrowed heavily from the original song.
A couple years later, Pt. Gobindram used it again in a comic situation in Aabroo (1943), with Yakub doing the singing honours. Tanvir Naqvi got the lyric credit, but the lyrics were almost exactly the same except for an opening verse.
I have also found some similarities of this tune with some other songs. I wouldn’t say they’re exact replicas but my untrained ear senses some similarity.
Let’s look at this song from Achhut Kanya (1936). This film marked the debut of Ashok Kumar as a leading man. The film had a ‘performance’ song in a village fair. Try humming the first line - Choodi Main Laaya Anmol - and chances are that it would take you to Inhi Logon Ne.
Now I come to a set of three songs that draw a little from this tune, make considerable changes, but are almost like exact replicas among themselves. Incidentally, all these three songs are female-female duets and composed by composer-duos.
First, this Lata Mangeshkar – Shamshad Begum duet from Sartaj (1950) compsoed by Husnalal Bhagatram. The similarity between this song and Inhi Logon Ne is not very apparent, but I do sense some similarity. I leave it for the more knowledgeable people to comment if at least some of the notes are similar in the first line.
then we come to this song from Beti (1969), composed by Sonik Omi.
The next song came more than two decades later. This song composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal for J. P Dutta’s Kshatriya (1993) borrows heavily from the Sonik Omi song. Not only is the tune of the mukhda the same as the Beti song, even the first antara follows a similar pattern. Judge for yourself.