By Suhel Johar

Voice Over

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The sampling muddle hasn't ended with Truth Hurts's Addictive, after all. Because after the Jyoti number 'Thoda Resham Lagta Hai', is it now the turn of popular Khalnayak song 'Choli Ke Peeche' to become big in the US? Well, listen to rap star Jay-Z's song 'The Bounce', which appears on his album 'The Blueprint 2 - The Gift & The Curse'.

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The song, produced by Timbaland, contains the line 'Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai' in the backdrop. However, the makers of this song haven't taken the original track, as singer Truth Hurts and producer Dr Dre had done with the Lata Mangeshkar-rendered 'Thoda Resham Lagta Hai' on their song Addictive.

The Bounce doesn't use the original singers Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun. Instead, it features another singer Rajeshwari, who sings only one line - 'Choli ke peeche kya hai' - in a slightly different, sweeter and less-raunchy version. Of course, no credit is given to the Indian song, which inspired this. 'Khalnayak' director Subhash Ghai insists that the makers of 'The Bounce' should have taken his permission before using the line. "More than just a line, it is an entire concept they've taken. I shall discuss this with my lawyers, and if need be, take them to court," he says.

The Tips label holds the rights for 'Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai' track. Anyway, it seems Jay-Z and Timbaland were extra careful by not using the original song, after what happened to singer 'Truth Hurts' and producer Dr Dre.

In that case, Bappi Lahiri had the last laugh by winning the case - even though he himself didn't remember which film 'Thoda Resham Lagta Hai' belonged to when he first heard about the lift. Nevertheless, a US court passed an injunction on the further sale of the album 'Truthfully Speaking' unless he was credited. The album contains the song 'Addictive', in which singer 'Truth Hurts' and producer Dr Dre have used a sample of Bappi's song 'Thoda Resham Lagta Hai', sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the film 'Jyoti'. They are now releasing the album with Bappi Lahiri's name on the cover. And although the monetary compensation aspect is still being discussed by the court Bappi is happy about the outcome. For someone who has earned a reputation of lifting so many tunes, Bappi is really lucky.

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Coming back to 'Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai', it was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and written by Anand Bakshi in the 1993 film 'Khalnayak'. Though there was a hue and cry about the lyrics, the song became a hit.

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For singer Rajeshwari, working with Jay-Z was the biggest break. She's also known for singing with Ms Jade on the Timbaland remix of the 'Slum Village' song Disco, and for appearing on Ms Jade's 'Ching Ching Part 2'. Now, she's working on her own material.

Universal Music has released jay-Z's album 'The Blueprint 2' in India. The album also features the hit song 'Bonnie & Clyde', featuring Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child, and 'The Watcher-2', featuring the Addictive combination of 'Truth Hurts', Dr Dre and rapper Rakim. Strange they didn't use the 'Choli Ke Peeche' bit on this Truth Hurts song.

It's time the Indian Music Industry (the apex body of music companies) and the copyright legislators take serious note of this issue. The way things are going, more and more American rap stars may use bits from old Hindi songs. As long as it's done through proper channels - wherein the right permissions are taken, credits given and payments made - it's fine. But to blindly use pieces of old songs without crediting the source is unpardonable.

The interesting thing is that these days, many rap stars, pop singers and techno musicians use samples of older songs, specially English numbers. But whenever they use English songs, they give credit, primarily because they know what song they're using, and what label owns the rights.

In the case of Hindi film songs, they just pick up some tune given to them by the album producer and incorporate it without bothering who originally created it and who owns the rights. In the past few months, there have been demands to modify the Copyright Act so that version recordings and remixes are stopped.

Now that there have been two examples of Indian song samples being used without credit, it's time the Indian copyright law is updated to keep this in account too. Surely, it must be made compulsory for any western artiste to seek permission of the Indian creator before using even the tiniest sample.

It's a different matter that some Indian composers need to be again reminded that blindly lifting western songs is probably the sickest thing for any creative artiste to do. One simply cannot justify shameless plagiarism.


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