Released in 1989, Maine Pyar Kiya was a landmark movie in more than one way. It was the highest grossing Indian film of the decade (1980s) and is still considered as one of the 10 most successful Bollywood films. It catapulted the career and fame of the relatively unknown lead actor, Salman Khan, and the director, Sooraj Barjatya, to colossal proportions, making them two of the most sought after movie personalities.
The soundtrack of the movie sold more than 10 million units and became the best-selling soundtrack of the year and the decade (an accolade that it shares with the soundtrack of the movie Chandni), thus giving a thrust to the career of its composers, Raam Laxman ,who, although existed since the 70s and were composing for mainstream Bollywood movies, were yet to find popularity.
Unknown to many, three of the most popular songs from the movie’s soundtrack, which contained 11 songs, were heavily influenced by western hits.
The immensely popular title track sung by SP Balasubramaniam and Lata Mangeshkar, “Aate Jaate Hanste Gaate” was a total note-by-note lift from Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You“. Incidentally, in 1991, Nadeem Shravan also took inspiration from the Stevie Wonder song for the movie Jaan Ki Kasam in the melodious Udit Narayan–Anuradha Paudwal duet by the same name (“I Just Called to Say I Love You”), but the inspiration was limited to that single line in their version.
The lovable SP Balasubramaniam and Lata Mangeshkar duet that often finds a mention during “Friendship Day” and “Valentine’s Day” among youngsters, “Aaya Mausam Dosti Ka” too features a guitar riff used as a prelude and interlude that is lifted from the millennial whoop (Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Ho portion) from the song “Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora from the album “Living in the Background”. To Raam Laxman’s credit, every other portion of the song apart from the guitar tune bears their creative impression.
Another song from the movie that was inspired from a western hit was the SP Balasubramaniam solo “Mere Rang Mein Rangne Wali“. The keyboard riff that plays at the initiation of the song (peculiarly picturised on a saxophone) is ripped from the keyboard riff of “The Final Countdown” by the Swedish band ‘Europe‘. The first few lines of the song, “Mere Rang Mein” to the peak at “Mere Sawalon ka Jawab Do”, too are partly inspired from the initial portions of Francis Lai’s “Theme from Love Story”. Incidentally, the music of the “Theme from Love Story” has also inspired Anu Mallik and Laxmikant Pyarelal in a few songs and also features as a background score in many movies.
Nevertheless, Maine Pyar Kiya remains one of the most loved albums of the 80s and 90s and it’s most popular and most melodious song “Dil Deewana” (both the solo male version by SP Balasubramaniam and female version by Lata Mangeshkar) continues to feature in the playlist of most 80s and 90s music lover.
(The writer is a doctor and public health specialist by profession but a passionate music enthusiast with special liking for Bollywood music from 80s and 90s)