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A R Rahman [Tamil]

Hello Mr. ethirkatchi [Film: Iruvar]
The opening piano part definitely inspired. Source: Dave Grusin's Memphis Stomp, from the OST of The Firm, released in 1993.
Listen to Hello Mr. Ethirkatchi | Memphis Stomp
Genuine copy wrt the piano intro sequence. But the actual tune of the song remains original.
Kuluvalile [Film: Muthu]
The background rythm and beats inspired from the song 'rescue me' by Fontella Bass. The song was part of the OST of the film 'Sister Act', released in 1965.
Listen to Kuluvalile | Rescue me
The rythm has been used. However, the tune of the song remains original.
Akkadannu naanga [Film: Indian]
Again, the background beats are inspired. Source: Paul Young's 'Love of common people', from the album 'No Parlez', released in 1983.
Listen to Akkadannu | Love of common people
Oh sure, the beats are copied. Tune original!
Anbae anbae [Film: Jeans]
The opening sequence seems inspired from Peter Gabriel's 'Of these, hope...' from the album 'Passion: Music from the last temptation of Christ'.
Listen to anbae anbae | Of these, hope
Is A R Rahman a fan of Peter Gabriel? Tune is original!
Shakalaka Baby [Film: Mudhalvan]
The rhythm loop with an underground feel is also found in the track 'Flight IC 408' by State of Bengal and the track 'Aint talkin bout dub' by Apollo 440.
Listen to Shakalaka Baby | Flight IC 408 | Aint talkin bout dub
Possibly a commercially available loop, done with some improvisations by Rahman. The loop appears almost throughout the Apollo 440 track and at places in Flight IC 408. Actual song's tune original.
Thillana thillana [Film: Muthu]
The opening African female humming is ripped off from Deep Forests 'Night Bird'.
Listen to Thillana thillana | Night bird
Oh sure, ripped. Just that initial humming part. But if Deep Forest can rip off native African sounds....!
Poopookkum osai [Film: Minsara Kanavu]
The beats seem inspired from Lebo M's 'Rhythm of pride lands: Kube', which was last part of the Disney's Greatest Pop hits collection.
Listen to Poopookkum osai | Rhythm of pride lands: Kube
The beats are sure inspired. As usual the tune remains very original. 
Thenmerku paruvakkaatru [Film: Karuthamma]
The beats are similar to a track by Dr Alban, 'Om we rembwe ike'. Note that Dr Alban himself uses a lot of commercially available loops and CDs to create songs!
Listen to Thenmerku paruvakaatru | Om we rembwe ike
The beats are sure inspired. As usual the tune remains very original. The 'yei nee romba azhaga irukke' song, 'Poi sollalaam' uses similar beats!
Paarkadhey [Film: Gentleman (1993)]
Alleged to be inspired from the Osibisa number 'Kelele'
Listen to Paarkadhey | Kelele
You decide!
Ekamevadhvitheeyam - Theme music from Baba [Film: Baba]
Inspired from the the background music of The Untouchables (1987).
Listen to Ekamevadhvitheeyam | Al Capone (The Untouchables)
'Ekamevadhvitheeyam' means "there is only one paramatma, no second entity". This song opens almost exactly like the prominent score from the cult classic 'The Untouchables' with music by Ennio Morricone. Why Rahman chose to lift this so blatantly really beats me, even if figures in Baba for a few fleeting seconds! In the soundtrack of The Untouchables, this tune plays almost throughout the movie, more so for the softer/sadder moments! I'm adding the track called 'Al Capone' which probably brings out the copy best, in my opinion! Tip: Play the Baba number in full volume, the opening plays in very low volume!
Ottagatha Kattikko [Film: Gentleman (1993)]
Highly inspired by Raj Koti's Telugu pop song 'Eddem ante' sung by Malgadi Shuba, in 1991.
Listen to Ottagatha Kattikko | Eddem ante
Malgadi Shuba's 1991 Telugu pop song, 'Eddem Ante Teddam Antav', from the album 'Chik pak chik bam', with music by Raj Koti, seems to be the source of inspiration for Rahman's superhit Gentleman song, 'Ottakatha Kattikko'. The first 2 lines' flow, that is, nothing more. And, considerably spruced up in Rahman style, of course! I recall reading Rahman's apprenticeship as an arranger for other composers like Ilayaraja, Ousepachan and Raj Koti, so a connection cannot be ruled out as a coincidence. Plus, I'm not getting into a guessing game which points to Rahman composing this tune originally for Raj Koti since that's merely a conjecture!

There's another long-standing allegation that the Gentleman track was in fact inspired by a much older Malayalam song, 'Kuyiline thedi' from the 1954 film, 'Neelakkuyil', with music by Raghavan K. I personally do not find that direct a connection between this one and Ottagatha Kattikko. Plus, the Raj Koti apprenticeship angle perhaps gives more weight to the Telugu pop song connection. My opinion? Far-fetched. No similarity strong enough to warrant a post here. But, I'd let you decide!

Listen to Kuyiline thedi


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RD Burman
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SD Burman
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Sanjeev Darshan
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Hindi - others

A R Rahman
Yuvan S. Raja
Tamil - others

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