ISLAMABAD: Few people in Pakistan can be unaware of the song “Rok Sako To Rok Lo Tabdeeli Aayi Re” (Stop Us If You Can Change Has Come). Performed by Shahzaman and Jawad Kahlown, featuring Imran Ismail, it currently has more than 27 million views on YouTube and was adopted as an anthem by political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
However, some people have pointed out that the incredibly popular song is suspiciously similar to a remixed version of the Indian Rajasthani bHajjan, or religious song, “Bankya Maa Re Nache,” performed by Yuvraj Mewari, with music by the Mewari Brothers. It was released on YouTube by RDC Rajasthani on April 6, 2017, more than four months before Az Records released “Rok Sako To Rok Lo Tabdeeli Aayi Re” on the video-sharing site on August 28.
When Arab News played both songs for a handful of people there was instant recognition of the similarities. The responses included: “undeniable,” “this is crazy,” and “OMG yes.” However, many of the listeners added that it is well known that the bHajjan music industry often borrows from other places, notably naats (Islamic poetry) and Pakistani music.
When we contacted Shahzaman and Jawad Kahlown through their official Facebook page, Jawad acknowledged the similarities between the songs but, like our small sample audience, pointed out that songs in this genre tend to borrow from others. He also confirmed that they were familiar with “Bankya Maa Re Nache.”
“We did hear this song,” he said. “Indeed, there is a resemblance but this specific kind of music resembles many songs. But it goes without saying that our composition is way catchier, stronger and popular. The song is an original, written and composed by Jawad Kahlon. The line ‘Rok Sako To Rok Lo’ was written by Imran Ismail.”
Arab News has contacted PTI for a comment.