Friday, April 04, 2008

Bollywood Music: plagiarism and power

Kamla Bhatt interviews Karthik Srinivasan who runs itwofs, a site that identifies plagiarized songs in Bollywood and is often referenced by Drift readers.

At one point Karthik gets asked: Who should get the title for the most unoriginal music director in Bollywood? And Karthik responds...
Despite the fact that I love many of their songs, I’d hand that title to Nadeem Shravan. This is more for their loud and aggressive sound bytes to media about how talented they are. Pritam, in reality deserves that title more than Nadeem Shravan, but he has learnt to live with the tag and even goes on to say that he’s a better music arranger than a composer. He tries to credit sources (only Indian) but I think is hampered by producers’ budget constraints to pay royalty or music labels ignoring his pleas to credit sources.

What? No Bappi Lahiri? I demand attention be paid to my phavoreet!

On the other hand, Karthik has been helping me build a Bollywood Music Power List (an idea that germinated from a sidekick comment on the Bollywood Power List post).

And I'm going around with my begging bowl for ideas again. Anyone like to help by naming some people who are powerful in the music industry? I think we'll also eventually do one just for singers - but for now we'll focus on who calls the shots in the music world.



Anonymous said...

Aaspi, you call me your favoureet.Then why are you saying such things..I have composed songs for the great Kishore Kumar.You are just a baccha.. How dare you make any comments on my music. Did you read that Karthik's interview. He spends so much time searching for sources....And he has so many people who send him links. Have you realized how diphicaalt it was for me in those days,to find music to copy,er, be inspired from. In my times, there was no internet. And I had no assistants. You youngsters have no value for elders.
Just because I smile so much, dont think I never get angry. Dont you watch K for kishore. I got so angry when that contestant thought he knew more than me.
I am now just relaxing and enjoying being the jaadge on different music shows.Then why are you naming me like this? Mera dil ko bahoot thes pahoncha hai!
ps. He he, so can you put my name on your Power list? (I promise I will give you a gold chain).

Anonymous said...

Great! I am glad to find another Rehman supporter. So I trust (hope)Rehman will figure high up in ur Music Power List (though he did lose out in the Bwood powerlist).
Karthik S must be having so many enemies in the music industry. Great job being done of course.

Anonymous said...

Aha! Well ARR but obvs. Also SEL and The Himesssssh. Salim Suleiman are apparently on the way up. Vishal Shekhar have made the much coveted jump into SRK-Chopra territory so they must count.

Tips, T-Series and HMV (relying on a very old and distinguished catalogue) are traditional big players. UTV and YR are new entrants who cannot be ruled out. YR in particular has been very smart in applying their film distribution model to their music business and being ready to take on all comers.

Didn't you once do a post on singers btw? I think I agreed with most of that. Maybe an update is all thats needed.

In lyricists, JA and Gulzar still reign supreme with Samir bringing up the rear. But people like Swanand Kirkire and Piyush Mishra are trying to make their own power equations. Although they do so with YR behind them. Btown is all about YR.

Whatever happened to: BMG Crescendo, Anu Malik, Anuradha Paudwal, Nadeem Shravan, that guy who composed the music for Dil To Pagal Hai.

Anonymous said...

Amrita, the DTPH guy is Uttam Singh. He composed the music of Gadar too. I read an article years ago where he said he is not being appreciated too much, and he doesnt like doing any 'pairavi' for his music.

Anonymous said...

I was watching set max the other day and they had one of those award shows on..bappida was asked to present an award and he was being his usual self

and after the nominees were announced, he goes "i would like to sing a song" and starts singing, Kunal Kohli interrupts and then goes " AND THE AWARD GOES TO"..he was the host hahahah

it was amusing.. in fact the whole show was amusing..for the following reasons

- Kunal Kohli's horrible hosting skills

-Neha Dhupia trying to dance and the size of her hips.. OMG

- Kareena dancing with a ridiculous outfit on, had no curves

- saif dancing to dard e disco

Anonymous said...

oh yeah Arjun Rampal wins some random award.. "Bad boy of the year" or something ridiculous like that and his wife was in the audience crying like he won an oscar

In fact a lot of random no name people were nominated for the most bizarre awards ever "New menace on the block", "fresh new face of the year" "The Milli Vinilli Award for the best mimer" etc etc

the people who were winning awards for the first and most likely last time were savoring their 15 seconds of fame LOL

Anonymous said...

sorry i went off topic again

me thinks the most powerful in music industry are definitely

AR Rehman - nuff said


VS - yes my bb's are moving up the power list, they get high profile projects and have bigwigs like SRK, Big B, Lil B etc praise them.

Salim Suleiman- I don't know how they keep on getting some good movies, I don't like their stuff. Well every now and again they make decent songs like Yeh Hosla but their album seem so incomplete with just one or 2 good songs and rest mediocre

Anonymous said...


Mithoon - I love his voice and his songs. Underrated. He is only 21, i wonder if he's hot

Anonymous said...

Prasoon Joshi seems to be coming up with great lyrics recently

Unknown said...

Bappida, there are many ways of loving a phavoreet. Aren't you glad someone loves you for who you are rather than all those fawning chamchaas? If you don't value someone who is honest with you - just ask Gauri Khan. Or Parmeswar Godrej.

Amrita, thanks for all the inputs. Very validating. I didn't have Tips and HMV on my list so I'll look into that. And I've been ignoring lyricists because their residual power is way behind singers and composers. But its worth taking a closer look.

I definitely with agree with everyone who put Salim-Suleiman on the rising list.

Anu Malik will definitely be on my falling list. So will Ismail Darbar. Wonder where we should put Bappi - he's kind of in the limbo list.

m, Mithoon has done some fine work but his inexperience shows. For one, he needs to stop using his rather flat and uninspiring voice. And he needs some big singers to come work with him.

That awards show sounds hilarious.

Anonymous said...

haha m, I remember those award show as well. I believe its Stardust.

Yeah, Saif dancing to dard-e-disco was so hilarious. Does'nt he have any of his own songs he could dance to.

What happened to Aadesh Shrivastav. He use to be Big B blue eyed boy. Remember Amitabh was promoting him for all his projects. I guess he has fallen from good graces.

Anonymous said...

No, Aspi, my Pheelings are hurt! You hab to come to my house with phood and bleeng to make pheel baiter.
--(Mind Rush, putting self in shoes of Bappida)

*~mad munky~* said...

oh boy..i caught that stardust show - and when bappida burst into song..well, didn't see that one coming!! :oP

*can't think of any names for the power list* :o(

Anonymous said...

No sonu niam in the power list?

Unknown said...

Bappida, I will come to your house only if you promise to sing the "You are my cheekin frai" song for me. That song makes me feel hungry and romantic at the same time - and there's not one other thing in the universe that can lay claim to that. (Just explaining to you why you are so special and I am such a big fan).

anon, sonu is on the list. Not high up, but he's there.

Anonymous said...

Anu G - Uttam singh! thats him. very dignified man who never hit any heights for me but was the next big thing for a quick second there. didn't he compose music down south and then do punjoo flicks?

Aspi - My big case for including lyricists is this story that i remember reading a long time ago which made me laugh: sameer was a big nadeem shravan chamcha and when anu malik was on his way up NS made him promise not to work with Anu Malik while they were on their vanvaas. Either Sameer and NS were entirely delusional (very possible) or else lyricists actually matter.

I also feel sad MM Kreem doesnt figure anywhere on the list while newbies like Salim Suleiman zip around but .... le sigh. ghor kalyug indeed.

Anonymous said...


ARR and SEL have been mentioned enough, but I'll add my vote as well.

I think Javed Akhtar is one lyricist who certainly counts.

Sonu Nigam (or however he spells it today) - particularly since his SRGMP gig.

Much as I HATE to say it - the Himes...His so called singing physically hurts, but he seems to be insanely popular among a certain demographic, so he must wield some power, I imagine.

I'd say Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal deserve a mention.

Amrita, I am not a fan of MM Kreem myself....I like some of his music as Kiravani (Tamil/Telugu) OK, but I think overall, he tries too hard to sound like ARR and doesn't quite succeed.


Anonymous said...

Yaay! another power list :)

Don't know that i have (m)any names to add (amrita had a great list!) but it seems to me that the BW music industry plays moon to the sun that is the BW industry.

VS gained in clout not necessarily bcos of their scores as much as their SRGMP cred and the knack of sneaking into all the big camps in BW - they're in with YRF, SRK and the Bachchans, the troika at the top of our power list. If their music label takes off, the sky is the limit for them.

SEL made it big on YRF & KJo banners too but seem to have a better balance of big budget blockbusters with the multiplex hatke movies like Johnny Gaddar and the creative Akhtar films.

Pritam has the Dhoom franchise and the Bhatt machinery behind him.

The only guy who can thumb his nose at the Chopras, Johars, Bhatts and all the traditional BW powers is Rahman... which for me makes him an easy choice to be at the top of this totem pole. He is an equal partner in the camps he is part of - Gowarikar's films, Rakeysh Mehra's films, Benegal's films, Deepa Mehta's films; only Mani Ratnam I think he acknowledges as his mentor. This guy writes his ticket, he has his fingers in all sorts of pies. If his music school takes off things get better.

HR - he's a one man industry but he has the T-Series clout behind him.

Shantanu Moitra-Swanand Kikire: they come with the VVC seal

Vishal Bharadwaj has stopped doing much as a composer other than for his films, but as star director and with the gulzaar connection and a Kumar Mangat/Devgan nexus he is defi someone to watch in the music world.

The record labels - but i think they're being slowly devoured by piracy.

Amongst lyricists, apart fm the big 2, i think it is worth keeping an eye on some of the new players esp those who are multifacted - write screenplays, lyrics and or direct - Jaideep Sahni, Prasoon Joshi, Piyush Mishra, Rensil D'Silva. With a few more BO hits, their versatility may help draw some power to the creative side of the fence.

The singers I think are the lowest of the low - they're at the mercy of everybody else!

Amrita, LOL on the NS story - how do u come up with these great ones? :)

Unknown said...

Hmmm...will have to find a place for Javed on the list - although I didn't make any room for lyricists. Really, they seem to be an afterthought in the industry - they hardly have an impact on sales. Which is why Javedbhai does the TV circuit.

sidekick, good list. I'll have to do a rising and falling to accommodate some of these. And truth be told from what I've heard from harassed hotel owners in Mumbai, T-series and YR Music are cracking the legal whip.

Anonymous said...

I mentioned earlier that Ekta Kapoor will fight for the top postion in the telly Powerlist, if made. I think Gajendra Singh is not far behind. He seems to have lots of contacts.
The VOI show a few weeks ago was organised in the Jaipur Maharaja's palace grounds, and he had the whole Royal family in attendance (the Maharani of Jaipur loves this prog),as well as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Today the biggest B is going to be the special guest at the Chote ustad Finals. Yes, he is going to promote his Bhootnath movie (Gajji is lucky, what timing:), but I dotn think he has ever come to any reality show to promote any of his earlier movies.
In fact on one show, there was one mom gushing that she has seen God in a human form, and that Gaj is the avatar of God (the 11th after Kalki?).Can anyone be more powerful!

Unknown said...

anu g, Gajjis is on my list. I'm still thinking about Amrita's lyricist comment. Need to find out more. Maybe Karthik can help.

SSS said...

ARR, SEL and VS have got my vote as well. As far as the singers go, Sonu Nigam, for sure. Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal both deserve a mention considering what they both have to their credit being only 24. As far as those on the rise, I definitely agree with putting Salim-Suleiman in that group. Personally, I'd like to see KK and Shaan in the 'rising' list too. They're doing quite well for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Aspi, where did you get that pic of Bappi Lahiri from? Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

what about Sukhwinder singh?he dosen't feature in the list?? i've begun to fall in looooove with his songs lately!

Payal said...

speaking of plagiarism, what do u think of the Roshan's settling out of court with the original composer of "break free"?

Unknown said...

I'd put Sukhwinder in a power list of singers but not on a generic music power list. There is one big reason for that. Someone I talked to recently (who really should know) tells me that singers amount to nothing when it comes to music power in Bollywood.

Payal, good question. We've been linking to it and discussing this in our April Linkology (which is a section where everyone submits links that we'd like each other to read and stay informed about).

krish said...

bappi lahiri has a hilarious accent, but ppl here,includng d blog master i wud say going berserk in writing dem in a true bappida-way.

o...i gtg to howspitaal....valo

Unknown said...

In terms of music there is one man only who has the credibility for producers to chase him, and thats AR Rahman, the genius declines film after film. Who else has the luxary of saying no to movies like Om Shanti Om, Taare Zameen Par and London Dreams? Only ARR. He definately rules the roost. Vishal-Shekhar are doing some great stuff but tend to have a dip on occasions with mediocre scores like De Taali and Aladin. SEL used to be consistant but recently have dipped with the likes of Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic and Sortkut. But London Dreams has put them back on the top list. Pritam is an excellent arranger, but most of his compositions are lifts so I believe he doesnt have enough in his tank to be a great.

Himesh is a one man army and deserves recognition, thats for sure. As for Salim Suleiman, I really dont like their work, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi seemed really ameteurish to me. Also one hit wonders like Monty and Ismail Darbar just dont cut it for me. MM Kreem has scope to be special but tends to try and sound like Rahman a bit too much.

As for lyrics, Gulzar still rules for me, his poetry in Kaminey is awesome to say the least. Javed Akhtar I believe has become a bit repetitive in his words and almost cliched. I really think Prasoon Joshi will go places, he is an absolute genius with words.

As for singers, KK,Kunal, Shaan, Sonu, Sukhwinder are ahead. But I think Javed Ali is one to watch out, also Neeraj Shridhar for his Pritam hits. Shreya and Sunidhi are ahead with the females.