Inspiration Versus Plagiarism - Part 2

Author: Dr. Mukul Acharya

I must confess that had it not been for the untiring perseverance of a friend, these articles may not have seen the light of day, given my habit to procrastinate,

I have decided to write about one of the most creative music directors in the Indian Music industry, Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar. He is a gem, a jewel in the crown that adorns the glorious world of Indian Music. It would be disrespectful to talk about plagiarism involving Hridaynathji and don’t want to sound like a detective who takes pride in pulling the skeletons out of someone’s closet.

Hriaynathji remains an enigma even today and it would be not feasible to write about the works of this music composer in a short article, neither is this the aim of the article. Hence I shall focus on some of the sources of inspiration for Hridaynathji. It would interesting to note that Hridaynathji trained as a classical vocalist under the tutelage of the legendary Classical singer Amir Khan, the founder of Indore Gharana. But he turned to composing music, which he did passionately. He is a very well read and knowledgeable personality and treats the lyrics of his songs with a remarkable sensitivity and in his unique, inimitable style.

These are a few examples that I came across/stumbled upon where a certain tune has influenced Hridaynathji and interestingly some of these have been mentioned by him very candidly in interviews!

1.  Dayaghana

Marathi song Daya Ghana is based upon a bandish- Rasool Allah  by his Father Pt. Dinanath Mangeshkar. Both the Bandish and the song are scintillating.

Daya Ghana by Suresh wadkar 

Rasool Allah  (only the 2 lines, there is another bandish after this in the recording)

2. Yaara Seeli Seeli

“Yara seeli seeli” from Lekin by Lataji., a masterpiece.  Is this tune influenced by another brilliant number from Reshma, a phenomenal singer?  Note the uncanny resemblance between the two songs.

Yaara Seeli Seeli by Lata in Lekin

Ve Main Chori Chori” by Reshma -

3.  Maalvun Taak Deep

Marathi bhaavgeet  “Malavun tak Deep” is based upon Urdu ghazal “Ab ke hum Bichchde toe shayad abhi hwabo mein miley”

There is an interesting story about this. Marathi poet Suresh Bhat happened to listen to the Mehdi Hasan Ghazal and was so impressed that he wrote a Marathi ghazal on the same tune and requested Hridaynath to fine tune the song with orchestration but to leave the original tune unchanged! Hence Hridaynathji did not have a choice. But the Lataji song is also mesmerising.

4.  Holi Aayi Holi Aayi

“Holi aayi Holi aayi” from Mashaal by Kishore Kumar and Lata is based on an original Marathi song composed by Hridaynath himself for a milestone Marathi movie “Jait re Jait”. The original song by Asha Bhosle is a folk melody and the tune is very apt for the Marathi rural lyrics. What intrigues me is why did Hridaynathji borrow the same tune for a Hindi song about Holi, with very urbane lyrics?!

(I shall write about more such examples in another article)

Holi Aayi Holi Aayi

Jambhul Piklya zaadakhali

5. Suniyo Ji Araj Mhari

Another example of the similar trend of using one of his older tune for another song

 “ Suniyoji araj Mhari” from Lekin seems to based upon his ghazal from a milestone album called Lata Sings Ghalib and the Ghazal in question is “Rone se aur Ishq mein”

6.  Visaru Nako Shri Rama Mala

Visaru Nako Shri Rama Malaa” –A Lataji classic from Marathi movie Janaki 1979, an award winning movie.

This song is NOT based on any other song! The story was revealed by Hridaynath himself, albeit 30 years later during a TV show! Hridaynath was working on the music of this movie which had a few songs, but he seemed to have drawn a blank while trying to compose this particular number. He approached a close friend, K.Mahavir (Mahavir Kathak, a classical vocalist and a wizard music composer, who unfortunately did not get his due recognition in the industry). Mahavirji obliged Hridaynath and composed the song, which went on win the Maharshtra state award for the best song category. But Mahavirji, the divine soul that he was, did not accept the award neither did he accept the cash prize from Hridaynath!

7. Kevhaa Tari Pahaate

“Kevha tari pahate” a famous Marathi song by Asha Bhosale/Padmaja Phenani Joglekar.

No, this is NOT a copy of any song but there is an interesting anecdote about this song.

Lyricist/Poet Suresh Bhat wrote this song and requested Ravi Date (music composer and younger brother of Marathi singer Arun Date) to compose a tune for this. Ravi Date began working on this song. In the interim Hridaynathji happened to view the lyrics of this song and informed Sureshji that he was keen to compose the tune for this song. Suresh Bhat couldn’t refuse and hence the present tune of this song was conceived!

Ravi Date contacted Suresh Bhat with his version of the tune for Keva tari pahate (the original tune), without realising the developments in the interim. Sureshji apologised to Ravi Date and as a token of the apology, he (Sureshji) wrote another song on the tune composed by Ravi Date, which reflects the sheer genius of this person (Suresh Bhat). That song became part of Ravi Date’s album sung by Suresh Wadkar – “Attaach amrutachi, barsun raat geli”. - . This is also a very mellifluent composition.

I leave the difficult decision to the elite readers to decide which tune would be more appropriate for “Kevhaa taree pahate”

8. Gajanana Shree Ganaraya

Gajanana Shree Ganraya - (sung by Lata Mangeshkar) from the Ganesh Geet by Hridaynath.

Ponder for a while on this Ganesh bhajan and then look for a clue - is it not based upon the melodious song "Mein Piya Teri" from Basant Bahar by Shankar-Jaikishan?


I will take a break here with a final recommendation about Hridaynathji – do listen to his following albums: No mere mortal other than Lataji can even dream of attempting to sing these songs composed by Hridaynathji !

1. Lata Meera bhajans 1968  

2. Lata Sings Ghalib:  A milestone in the world of Ghazals, a truly astounding feat by this combination of Lataji & Balasaheb! 

Like us on facebook