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Cut,copy,paste!

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Agatha83, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Though not an avid watcher of Tamil teleserials,my maid servant’s effusive comments about a popular serial fanned my curiosity into watching one of them on the Internet. It didn’t sustain my interest, with a weak story line and robot like actors looking more of corpses walking straight out of the burial ground. But what caught my attention were the comments praising the title music lavishly. One particular comment said that the title music of the serial was a straight lift from a famous English song, with a link to the song it was lifted from – I had no difficulty in nailing the ugly truth behind the comment.

    This shocking revelation made me prod further about such songs with the help of google search. I was dumbfounded when I saw the latest Bollywood songs, composed by the new crop of Music Directors, being straight lifts from either western, Arabian, Spanish, Turkish music tunes. The world music at your doorsteps, thanks to these copycats. But with no credits or acknowledgments being given to the original composer, it was outright plagiarism. I felt sad at the sorry state of affairs because these musicians with no creativity earned millions, stacking it up all in their Swiss bank accounts. But the composers of the bygone era, who created immortal soulful melodies - Hindi Music Directors like Chitragupta,Iqbal Qureshi, GS Kohli, N Dutta etc – with their painstaking, creative original works, never got much recognition, fame or money in the industry.

    Being a serious Carnatic music aficionado I have admired the different styles of our Carnatic jambavans, be it Ariyakudi, GNB, MLV, S Balachander, Veena Chittibabu. They created their unique style of singing which even now lures scores of listeners to their immortal songs. They all sang the same old Krithis of St. Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Shyama Sastri but it was their unique style of singing or playing the instrument, which brought out the innate beauty of the song. They improvised upon the century-old songs using their creativity, by engaging manodharma, adding sheen to minor nuances, changing the arithmetic pattern of the swarams, but strictly within the confines of the grammar of Carnatic music, giving the listeners an out of the world experience. The same thing cannot be said about the present genre of young musicians, who within a year's practice, through Skype and online classes, want to be become an overnight star, with only aim of getting in to the fast track of fame, money, concerts and adulation. Creativity comes along with long exposure to music and that cannot happen overnight. This is happening in the literature world also, is painful where many stories or literary pieces from all over the world, are stolen and published. This only shows as to what extent plagiarism has spread its ugly tentacles.

    I recall those humble times when I was doing my State board SSLC classes in my school. Along with the text books was our holy bible, Konar notes, which stood us in good stead, throughout our academic calendar. When doubts were raised during class hours, the teachers stood like frozen statues or punished us mercilessly. With no help coming forth from elders in our house, these Guides looked like Manna from the heaven.

    When I finished my first monthly test, efficiently pouring out all that I had learnt through my Konar notes,I was eagerly expecting high grades in all the subjects. But there came a big shock in my life which I till now can never forget.

    My Tamil teacher, an elderly woman of exceptional teaching abilities, entered our class room with all corrected test papers in her hand and started handing them over to us by calling us individually, along with her personal remarks regarding our performances. When my name was read out, I stood out happily, grinning ear to ear, in anticipation of some appreciative remarks from my teacher. Instead she asked me if I was fond of learning by rote and then vomiting it all straight on the test paper. When I nodded my head in affirmation, still positive about my high score, I was shocked to see below average marks stare at me. When I felt humiliated, I started crying but then her words of advice put some sense in my troubled mind. She advised me not to indulge in such brainless activities, be it learning by rote or reproducing the same material as in the guide, which in the long run would rob me off my originality. “Be original in your thinking, absorb the essence of the material you read, and use your own words to improvise it”, was her simple advice. As years passed on I realised how much her advice had impacted my entire life. The tiny seed of truth she sowed that day on a floundering mind, had taken deep roots and has stood with me till now.

    Call it influence, inspiration or passion - decent names given for plagiarism, the nagging question is when school kids doing the board exams are punished severely, penalised by debarring them from taking up their exams in the future, for the crime of copying, how is it that these vulgar plagiarists are tolerated by the concerned industries and are left scot-free, conferring them with awards and titles!

    While writing this piece, I was lost in the old world charm of my schooldays, when suddenly I heard somebody shouting Copy copy, which sure sent a chill through my spine. Was it my teacher standing with a cane in her hand ready to strike me? When I woke up from my reverie shouting NO, No, -– to my comfort, it was none but my mom who was shouting out for her third dose of degree coffee!
     
  2. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Ah! That was a lovely write up - very true - although hilarious. Recently i got some whatsapp forwards too showing instances of a lot of bolly wood old hits being straight lifts from foreign films/ songs. It is really shameful. At least, they should have the decency to aknowledge the source of their works and not project them as their own!
     
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  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Picasso reportedly remarked once that 'Good artists copy, great artists steal'
    Reading through your (funny) outburst against copying, I felt amused. Coying is a sin in certain areas and a virtue in others. My daughter tries the recipes of Tarla Dalal on her holidays. When we eat it and let out a satisfied belch, we don't call it copying. The same thing holds good even in dress making. I am a great advocate of copying . Original Radar watch costs Rs 127000 but the duplicate version costs just Rs.5299! I can afford only the duplicate!
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  4. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you joylokhi,

    Internet is a boon in a way that reflects the evils of plagiarism troubling any field, be it music, literature,arts- the list is endless. The problem is only a few who indulge in plagiarism are caught and punished. Others are still roaming about with their prestigious doctorates, titles etc intact, all got through their cut, copy method !

    Agatha83
     
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  5. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya Sir,

    Copying is made in to a fine art, courtesy the evolving technology. Even big companies like Disney have come in for serious criticisms, for having copied some of lesser known artists designs and called it their own.
    When it comes to cooking, how much ever you try to copy, the end result may be either perfect or a complete disaster. How many times I have failed to get the perfect round roti or Puri inspite of all the years of practice. While my grandma could churn out 7 sutru muruuku in a jiffy, I am yet to master the art of making even one sutru murukku
    There are many artists who have rendered Vishnu Sahasranamam and Bhaja Govondam, But the divinity that flows through these songs when MS Amma sings is unmatchable..
    I can say that copied versions are inanimate objects, where as originals have a heart and a soul to it.


    Regards,

    Agatha83
     
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  6. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @Agatha83
    Yes ma'am, true about many film songs taken out of western songs.
    I always play the local radio on my way to work and would be shocked when I hear popular tunes that I have heard in India movie songs.

    Here are a couple of songs from the 60's Tamil movies:

    Palinginaal oru maligai - Artie shaw


    And this one straight from "Come September"


    And speaking of copying western, even Muthuswami Dikshitar composed the nottuswaram in western tunes For exampke, "shakti sahita ganapatim" is in Irish tune.

    With due respect I disagree with this blanket statement ma'am.
    I know numerous youngsters who are wonderful artists learning via Skype.
    I have my own friends' daughters and sons who have performed in Madras (Chennai) Music season festivals after years of rigorous training.

    Learning via Skype is not something to be thought of less. I learn and have taught via Skype and there is no difference between learning face-to-face and Skype.

    I really do not understand why one should always think the older generation was better and the younger generation is all about money, and instant fame.

    Historically a section of population have always been after fame and money, while there were a sector of altruisic minded folks, and then there were always the middle-ground folks. Isn't this what makes up society?
    Nothing new now. The only thing different now is due to media we are exposed to more of the entertainment world.

    I come across so many young adults who are brilliant, hard working, and have high ethical values. So much that many adults can and should learn from them.

    I am referring to young men and women - teens through their 30's - both in India and abroad, where I live.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Agatha,

    In Carnatic music, the expression of Ragas by the individual performer in their own style is what makes them an enjoyable entertainer. It comes from repeated practice. I have too many youngsters in our family who are upcoming in the Carnatic music industry and I like to be careful about how I comment here. One of them is a very close relative of my wife and another is a distance relative of mine. Fortunately, both of them live in India and learned Carnatic music formally through direct teaching from reputed musicians. There is definitely a trend in the US for youngsters to learn Carnatic music quickly to perform in major events. While some are very successful due to their constant effort to practice regularly, others fail when they look for a quick name and fame.

    The TV shows triggered an unlimited urge among many young kids creating a very competitive field. It doesn't matter whether they learn through Skype or direct from a teacher, the critical success factor is how much they grasp (Sravanam) and practice to reach perfection. The parents may have to identify their urge and channel their energy into right track rather than pressurizing them to perform quickly. Well, that is my experience with a few children in an area I live.

    As far as cine-field is concerned, I have my own uncle who is a film director and actor. When I was a practicing Chartered Accountant, I had many tax clients in the film industry including the famous director Balu Mahendra and actress Shoba. My uncle used to spend considerable amount of time buying books about direction, cinematography, music, etc. in a road side shop located in Luz owned by Mary and Alwar. You may be familiar with these roadside book seller. Many times, a lot of them get ideas primarily from Hollywood including a theme, story development, music, acting tips, etc. If you notice the performance of Kamalhassan in the movie called, "Sivappu Rojakkal", you would notice his anger demonstrated to actress Sri Devi is directly lifted from Michael character in God Father. There are a few who are original thinkers and I can't deny it. Copying/stealing without being noticed has become an art in the film industry. Unfortunately, in the entertainment industry, the name and fame is what sells better and no one pays attention whether the ideas or original or copy.

    Viswa
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
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  8. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear kkrish,

    Thank you for your exhaustive FB, through which you have pointed out the brighter side of the picture, of which I was not aware about much. I know you are one among many others who learns Carnatic music through online classes, about which I am very much appreciative.
    I have an ear for music along with a love for Carnatic music, which makes me sit through many online lecture demonstrations about different aspects of Raagas. It is here I learnt about how confusing ragas could turn to the listener, when even a smalL change in a Swara made by the singer, can change the entire swaroopa of a raaga. The kalpanaswaras rendered in a concert needs a great amount of dedication and understanding, which cannot be achieved in a short span of 3 to 5 years. I listen to many online videos of concerts by youngsters, but I feel something is missing. Having listened to Sanjay, Jayanthi Kumaresh, Ravikiran, Aruna Sairam , Bombay Jayashree and their likes, I feel it may take some more time for the youngsters to achieve that level of proficiency in a concert.
    I have nothing against the youngsters who seriously pursue Carnatic music, but I only wish to state that it takes a long time to get recognition and appreciation.

    Agatha83
     
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  9. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you @Agatha83 ma'am for taking my feedback in the right spirit.

    Yes, even one swaram can change a ragam, such as Kalyani to Sankarabaranam, or Anandha Bhairavi to Reethigowla. That is one of the beauties of Carnatic music.

    I am really happy to learn that you enjoy listening to the lectures. I particularly like Ms. Charulatha Mani's "Isai Payanam". How about you? Whose lectures do you watch?

    I agree ma'am.
    However we should not forget that today's stalwarts such as Sanjay Subramanian, Jayanthi Kumaresh, et al, were also amateurs once upon a time. I am sure they too participated in school and other competitions when they were budding artists. We may not be aware of those events because TV used to be only Dhoordarshan and such competitions were not part of TV programs couple of decades or so ago.
    I have read about Ms. Nithyasree winning her school competition prize from M.S. Amma. She also participated in an YMCA competition. But I never knew of these until recently.

    As I mentioned earlier, we are exposed to more of these competitions, among other things, due to the technological advances.

    I therefore still believe that not all youngsters are after instant fame and quick money. Some use these platforms as learning opportunities.

    Please visit the carnatic thread and post your favorite songs. Would love to listen to some of your favorites.
     
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  10. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    The people who correct your board exam papers have no time for originality. They throw ursory glances at each answer paper just to assure themselves whether you have a reasonable knowledge of the topic.Even in schools original thinking is not encouraged, In school exams my daughter used to lose marks for originality. with teachers marking the papers "frivolous". This is an age of copycats.
     
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