November 2, 2002 
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Bappi Lahiri
Lata Mangeshkar didn't remember Thoda resham lagta hai
Amused reactions to Bappi Lahiri's lawsuit against a US group for plagiarising his song

Subhash K Jha

Apparently, no one remembered music composer Bappi Lahiri until one of his myriad songs from the 1970s sung by the immortal Lata Mangeshkar suddenly hit the international charts.

The song Thoda resham lagta hai thoda sheesha lagta hai was a mujra sung by the Nightingale and filmed on Aruna Irani and Vijayendra Ghatge in a Jeetendra-Hema Malini starrer Jyoti released in 1977.

The song was not a success on release. It came and faded quickly. No one had any recollection of it until the American rap group Truth Hurts used it as the basic loop in their chartbuster Addictive. Suddenly, the song was big news in India. At least two major Indipop bands have re-recorded the song, aping Truth Hurts's by-now extensively airplayed music video.

Tusshar Kapoor, whose father Jeetendra played the lead in Jyoti, smiles, "I remember asking my Dad about Thoda resham lagta hai and he said he didn't know the song. I even congratulated Vijayendra Ghatge who was part of the song's picturisation, for becoming famous by proxy. But he too didn't recall the number."

Says Lata Mangeshkar, "Quite frankly, I didn't remember this number at all. When I heard it in the number by Truth Hurts, I asked my family where it was from. They told me I had sung it in a film called Jyoti. I don't mind it being used in the American song because the band Truth Hurts hasn't tampered with my voice or the composition in any way. It is far more preferable to the remixes in our country. But I wish they would have credited me and Bappi in the song."

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Lahiri who dropped into complete oblivion in the 1990s after scoring immitative hits in scores of films in the 1980s is suddenly in the limelight. And he isn't willing to let go of it that easily. His decision to sue the people behind the track Addictive for using his song without consent has caused delighted humour in the Mumbai film industry.

A leading music composer can't stop chuckling, "Bappida made a career out of stealing songs from the Western charts. Out of every ten songs he composed, nine were heavily or completely lifted from European and American charts or from R D Burman. Today, he turns around and acts hurt and wounded when one of his songs is brought out of cold storage and made internationally famous? He should thank Truth Hurts for rescuing him from anynoymity."

Whether Bappi Lahiri is within his rights to question Truth Hurts for using one of his songs, is arguable. But the fact is he is back in the news after almost a decade of hibernation.


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