Sep 21, 2010

Jelena Karleusa, or "The Reverse Pritam"

Every once in a while I like to take the opportunity to take a little jab at Pritam.  Bless his crazy beard, I love him, but he's got a pretty well-known track record when it comes to writing "totally original, I swear!" music that sounds, note for note, like stuff previously recorded by other groups.  He notably stole half of the Jab We Met soundtrack from an Indonesian rock band, thinking that audiences in India would never make the connection.

Well.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered (and by discovered I mean "joined what are surely many many other people in learning") that Pritam has a bit of competition in the "composer of dubious originality" award.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Jelena Karleusa (seen here in the most modest picture of her that exists on the internet).  Karleusa is a Serbian pop star who has been nicknamed "the Queen of Lust."  I can't tell you a lot about her music because that would require me to watch more of her videos than the one I'm about to show you, and frankly I don't think I've done anything in my life to deserve having to go through that torture.  Suffice it to say that she dabbles in the pop/rock arena and seems to exist mostly as a silicon-stuffed sex symbol.

In 2010 she had a big hit with a little song called "Insomnia."  The video was one of the most viewed of the year on Youtube, and featured a strange little Alan Cumming lookalike.  Here, take a listen:

Sound familiar?  Wondering where you've heard that song before?  Ah heard it here:

That's "Dance Pe Chance" from the hit film "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi."  But this time, rather than an Indian music director ripping off an international musician, an international musician ripped off an Indian music director.  Namely the team of Salim-Sulaiman.  "Dance Pe Chance" came out first, and is the original.  When I first noticed this, the only information I could find online were some accusations posted under Youtube videos and on somewhat obscure Serbian pop forums.  As Karleuse's song grew in popularity this line appeared in her Wikipedia entry:

"Jelena's last song, 'Insomnia', featuring Mirza Hamzić, was downloadeded 1.5 million times from her website, just a day after its official premiere on the final night of the famous reality show Big Brother. 'Insomnia' also took the third place on the world list of most viewed videos on youtube, with over 4.000.000 views for 2 weeks. The song is a makeover of the Bollywood mega hit sang by Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (RNBDJ) - Dance Pe Chance. Jelena's PR confirmed that the copyrights were bought from the original author, and that plagiarism accusations are false."

This is the only "official" acknowledgement of the similarity between the songs. I've yet to find a website or forum which didn't quote that sourceless assertion as proof that Karleusa didn't plagiarize "Dance Pe Chance." The scant liner notes of the album which features "Insomnia" give no credit to Salim-Sulaiman.

I'm going to go ahead and call this one what it is: outright plagiarism.

At least it wasn't Pritam again.


Anishok said...

OMG! What is this video?! I'm scarred for life! At least Pritam plagiarizes stuff to something sane....

Bombay Talkies said...

I know right? It has a certain "Edward Scissorhands" look to it. I try not to look straight at the screen when it's on.

Samar said...

Oh my god you did so much research about it..and not only pritam many other artists have done the same

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