Milliblog Monthlies – From Pakistan, with love! (ItwoFS Retrospective #2)

(The July Monthlies is a continuation to the June Monthlies playlists.)

If there was any justice in this world, then composer M.Ashraf would be celebrated as much as any leading Hindi film composer in India. But, unfortunately, Ashraf is hardly known in India.

There are at least 20+ songs composed M.Ashraf in this list – all of them were composed for Pakistani films in the 70s and 80s, and were copied with impunity by assorted Indian composers. Indian music directors have lifted everything from Benazir Bhutto’s (People’s Party) election campaign song ‘Bijja Teer Bijja’ composed by Zahoor Khan Zeibi (more on this song) in the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Indrajeet with music by R.D.Burman no less (Main Na Jhooth Boloon)… to Vital Signs’ patriotic pop song ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’ which was converted into an Indian patriotic song with the same tune, called ‘Dil Dil Hindustan’.

It is utterly baffling that a country is constantly and perennially at loggerheads with its neighbour (and vice-versa) but still manages to liberally copy its tunes left, right and center. Conventional wisdom would perhaps dictate that if the 2 countries are at loggerheads, they’d want nothing to do with each other (which also selectively gets flamed from time to time by politicians), but as the larger country in the equation, we dip our creative brains into Pakistan’s infinite tune bank and lift whatever we want with absolutely no worry or shame whatsoever.

To be fair, our Indian composers have really made many of those originals more widely known than ever, and also recreated them with far superior technology and production. So much that some of the originals sound weak and outdated, in comparison.

But this is not about recreation. It’s about doing the right thing. And that is giving credit where due. But, as usual, Indian composers and producers, who haven’t credited all those international sources for their inspiration all these years, wouldn’t bother crediting their neighbours. It’s only through the internet that people have realized how deep this rabbit hole goes.

The songs in this playlist are mostly from ItwoFS, but since I stopped updating the site some years ago, I have been collecting more songs offline, as a list. This playlist is only on YouTube since Apple Music and Saavn don’t have this extensive a collection of Pakistani music.

Also, this playlist has only those songs that have their tunes copied. There are many songs where Indians have used the lyrics from an original Pakistani song, but have created a different tune to go with those lyrics. Some examples include, ‘Bant Raha Tha Jab Khuda’, composed by M.Ashraf for the 1978 Pakistani film, Nazrana, and sung by Naheed Aktar and Mehdi Hassan. The lyrics were used with a different tune by Aadesh Shrivastava for the 1999 film Bade Dilwala. Or Kundi Na Kharka, from the 1999 Pakistani film Desan Da Raja, that had music by Tafoo and sung by Naseebo Lal. The lyrics were largely used as-is for a song in Gabbar Is Back (2015). There are many such examples of lyrical plagiarism that don’t involve copying of the tunes too.

As you listen to this playlist, I’m sure you will stumble on some of your favorite songs and their originals… and this may be a painful realization. But, in the end, you’d be richer with the knowledge. After all, you now have 2 songs that you like in place of one, huh?

Enjoy this 70+ song playlist on YouTube.