Remake or Rip-off?

By Jaya Karan On February 15th, 2017


The newly released “Tamma Again” adds to recent spate of Bollywood song remixes. “Tamma Again”, “Laila Mein Laila” and “The Humma Song” are the biggest hits of 2017 so far, gathering millions of views on YouTube (the last two have well over a 100 million views each). I love a good remake, but sometimes it’s not always obvious that the song was ‘inspired’ by a previous release.

1. Tamma Again

The super catchy “Tumma Again” released just 3 days ago with a great deal of Bollywood hype and rave reviews. However I was a little confused – surely this was a remake of “Jumma Chumma De De” (Hum, 1991) right? Yet the song instead tributes “Tamma Tamma Loge” (1990, Thanedaar). A little bit of research showed that indeed, there had been some controversy in the early ‘90s between the two song makers, with each claiming that the other had stolen their music idea. Here’s the thing though – both songs were “inspired” by a Guinean born musician, Mory Kante and his song “Tama”. Check out Mory Kante and the original “Tama” song. It’s the same catchy tune!

Original: Tama (1998)
YouTube views:

Remake: Tamma Again (2017)
Views on Youtube: 23,000,000


2. Kala Chashma

The biggest hit of 2016 is orginally a Punjabi song from over a decade ago. India’s rap superstar, Badshah, gave the song a little ‘touch up’ last year and turned Kala Chashma into a huge chartbuster. The original composer (Prem Hardeep) and singer (Amar Arshi) have been credited in the remake, however a little digging reveals that the original lyricist Amrik Singh was reportedly paid 11,000 rupees after the song was remade – that’s roughly $210 AUD.

Original: Tenu kala chashma jajta ve (2005)
Youtube views: 60,000

Remake:Kala Chashma (2016)
Youtube views:183,000,000


3. Mehbooba

A classic from my childhood, I’ve always been fond of this massive 1970’s hit. Some say the great R.D Burman took inspiration from Greek singer Demis Roussos’ “Say you love me”, but the original source was a Cypriot Greek song by Michalis Violaris called “Ta Rialia”. Take a listen to the 3 tracks – the resemblance is clearly there but I reckon Burman’s version hits the sweet spot.

Original: Ta Rialia (1973)
Youtube views: 406,000

Remake: Mehbooba (1975)
Youtube views: 10,000,000

Whether a copy or an inspiration, the lines can be a little blurred. Sometimes a remake adds that extra ‘oomph’ factor to create a superhit and there’s nothing wrong with that. How much credit is or should be given to the original artists though? Food for thought…