Plagiarism in music is not what it’s like in the field of linguistics and literature: You can put the words side by side and show the overlap. But can you do the same comparison with notes and chords? Rules that govern notes and chords are far more constraining than those that govern linguistics. Each era and period has its own popular music and departure from the popular ‘style’ directly translates into a “failure” for the musician and nobody actually dares to defy the ‘popular taste’. Though we all like a touch of freshness, very few sequences of tones and chords sound “right,” while others seem “wrong.” So if you come up with a sequence of chords that sounds good, it’s very likely that someone else has already used it. Music psychologists also talk about the possibility of unconscious influence. As a listener or musicians, you absorb, imitate, and reconstitute what others have produced. This “harmonic map” of chord relationships is imprinted in neurons of the prefrontal cortex – part of the brain that processes harmony. Both musicians and listeners end up sticking to it. This ‘creative laziness’ precludes innovation Both musicians and listeners end up sticking to it. This ‘creative laziness’ precludes innovation and results in what we term as ‘plagiarism’. Several Indian songs have also been “inspired” by Pakistani musicians. But again, we share the same culture and the sequences and frameworks of notes and ragas are same, and so is the taste. Does similarity qualify as plagiarism? The world of music is more complicated than is thought. Here is a list of Indian music composers ripped off from Pakistan. The complete list consists of hundreds of songs over the span of at least five decades, but this countdown consists of only some of them. 1) Jadon Holi Jayi (Probably the first one that Bollywood copied from Pakistani song) Music: Bakhshi Wazir Film: Utt Khuda Da Wair Year: 1970 Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Moam Ki Gurrya’ (1972) – Baaghon Main Bahaar Aayi – 2) Raat De Baara Wajjay Music: M. Ashraf Film: Zabardast Year: 1989 Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Khalnayak’ (1993) – Choli Ke Peechay – 3) Neendran Nahi Aundiyan Music: Wazir Afzal Film: Gamma B.A Year: 1976 Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Aaj Ka Arjun’ (1990) – Gori Hain Kalaiyan – Woh Mera Ho Na Saka Music: Nashaad Film: Azmat Year: 1973 Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Qasoor’ – Dil Mera Tod Diya Us Ne – 5) Yeh Rangeeni-e-Naubahar Music: Wazir Afzal Poet: Ameer Khusroo Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Jeena Sirf Mere Liye’ (2002) – Mujhko Milgaya Mere Pyar – 6) Boohay Bariyan Year: 1998 Copied in Bollywood’s film ‘Dil Hai Tumhara’ (2002) – Dil Laga Liya Hai – 7) Ae Mohabbat Tere Anjaam Pe Singer/Music: Begum Akhtar Poet: Shakeel Badayuni Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Raaz’ (2002) – Kitna Pyara Hai Yeh Chehra – 8) Baray Be-Murawwat Hain Yeh Husn Walay Singer: Suraiya Multanikar Movie: Badnaam Year: 1966 Copied in Bollywood’s song ‘Gumnaa’ (2008) – Mohabbat Se Zyada – 9) Way Main Chori Chori Singer: Reshman Lyrics: Mansoor Jhalla Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Lekin’ (1990) – ‘Yaara Sili Sili Birha Ki Raat’ – 10) Ja Ajj Ton Mein Teri Music: Wazir Afzal Film: Yaar Mastanay Year: 1974 Copied in Bollywood’s Movie ‘Beta’ – Sajna Main Teri Tu Mera – 11) Mujhe Dekh Ke Been Bajayen Music: M. Ashraf Film: Himmatwala Year: 1983 Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Phool Aur Kantay’ (1991) – Main Ne Pyar Tumhi Se Kiya – 12) Bohat Khoobsurat Hai Mera Sanam Music: M. Ashraf Film: Aabshaar Year: 1978 Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Saajan’ (1991) – Bohat Pyar Karte Hain 13) Kundi Na Kharka Sohneya Film: Desan Da Raja Year: 1984 Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Gabbar is Back’ (2015) – Kundi Mat Kharkao Raja – 14) Larka Badnaam Hua Haseena Film: Mr Charlie Year: 1992 Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Dabang’ (2010) – Munni Badnaam Hui Darling – 15) Naye Kapray Badal Kar Jaun Kahan Singer: Khalil Haider Year: 1990s Copied in Bollywood’s movie ‘Andaaz’ (2003) – Aayega Maza Ab Barsaat Ka – Interestingly, many ‘cultural tunes’ and styles of poetry that are deeply ingrained in our cultural ethos (imprinted in our ‘collective memory’) are often exempted from accusations of plagiarism. Famous Punjabi folk numbers such as heer, soohey ve cheeray waleya, chitta kukkar baneray te, sadke sadke jandi ae, etc are performed and liked by people of both Punjabs. Following are few examples of it: The author is an Assistant Web Editor, Daily Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @HamzaRaoxxx.