Tracking Down the Roots… Again!

Last week I “chronicled my search for a Hindi song that I had been tracking down for ages”: This week, I found another one. This time, the search has been 11 years in the making.

The song is “Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuchh Kaha” from Basu Chatterjee’s “Baton Baton Mein”: starring Amol Palekar and Tina Munim. The music was by Rajesh Roshan, sung by Amit Kumar and Asha Bhonsle with lyrics by Yogesh.

I had no idea this song had any older roots than the 1979 film until 1995 when I was watching Die Hard: With a Vengeance and the tune plays throughout the film. Once more, I had a case of a western version of an Indian song appearing after the Hindi version. Clearly, the song had older roots- but I had no idea just how old. I was about to be surprised… 11 years later. It was this military beat with an orchestra playing the tune which is the main part of the Hindi song:
“Na bole tum na maine kuchh kaha, kaha;
Magar na jaane aisa kyu laga, laga;
Ke dhup mein khila hai chand din mein raat ho gai;
Ye pyar ki bina kahe sunhari baat ho gayee.

Fascinating. After I had seen the movie I found the soundtrack CD in a music store and listened to it in the store. Nothing. None of the tracks sounded anything like what I was looking for.

Fast forward to 2006. This morning I was sitting at my desk at work and somebody was whistling the tune- with the same marching beat- as he walked by my office door. By the time I looked out, he was gone; but my quest had been refreshed. In 1995, the Internet was not what it is now. I went back to my trusty “IMDb”: and found the page for the soundtrack listing for Die Hard: With a Vengeance. I listened to all of the songs listed there, but no luck.

So I figured I would try the trick I had failed at 11 years ago- listen to the soundtrack CD. So I went to the “Amazon page for the soundtrack”:, but they did not have clips for the songs. However-

I scrolled down to the reviews of the soundtrack and someone named CitizenMcWorld was complaining that:

Be warned that in the movie “When Johnny Came Marching Home” is played continuously but is no where to be found in the Soundtrack.

BINGO! I had found my match.

A quick search in the iTunes Music store revealed hundreds of renditions of the song and the “Wikipedia revealed where the song originally came from”: It is a song of the American Civil War- one that expressed the longing of people for their friends and family who would return home after the war.

That’s not where the story ends. The tune of that song originally comes from an old Irish anti-war and _anti-recruitment_ song “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”: You can “listen to the song here”: To quote the song, hurroo! Hurroo!


8 thoughts on “Tracking Down the Roots… Again!

  1. creepy! i just finished watching die hard 3 and had the exact same feeling… but my search was just a google away.. thanx for making it easy pal!

  2. Finding this link was awesome.
    I am not a big action movie fan, but my husband insisted I watch Die Hard: With a Vengeance and said I would like it. I did. But the music reminded me of the song baton baton mein.
    So I immediately got online to find out which sound track was original and found out about the Irish song you mentioned.
    And then I read the exact same story on this blog. Except that my search didn’t even take 11 minutes, thanks to the internet.

  3. This tune has been lifted by some composer who fit the tune to words of a popular christian worship song (like bhajan) although with a slower tempo. it is jeevane en jeevane namo namo.
    Very enterprising to say the least. there are number of similar cases where Tunes of Boney M numbers like Rasputin has been cleverly used. These were more popular among the evangelical and pentecostal churches of Kerala in the 80-s and remain in circulation even today.

  4. Neat research!!

    I always used to tell my wife, whenever she watches the Colors TV serial “Na Bole tum Na Maine kuch kaha” that this tune reminds me of Die Hard 3 score.

    So I was always wondering where the original tune came from because it seemed unlikely that a Hollywood movie got “inspired” by a Hindi movie from the 70s.

    Thanks for your efforts.

  5. I had the same sense of familiarity when listening to “English Civil War” by Clash (1978). This sounds like Na Bole Tum….. One of my favorite songs from the 70s. So I searched the internet and came to this page. English Civil War is also a rearrangement of the song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”. The Clash album “Give ’em Enough Rope” was released in 1978 and was a massive hit in the wake of Punk Rock tsunami hitting England in 1977 with the album “Never Mind the Bollocks” by Sex Pistols. The movie “Baaton Baaton Main” came out in 1979. It may not be a stretch of imagination to consider that “Na Bole Tum” may have been inspired by the Clash’s version. I like all versions.

  6. amazing. last night i watched the beautiful baton baton mein song with my wife and told her the beat of this song might just have been inspired from western music. but never once occurred to me the root could date to late 18th century native Ireland, love of a woman and horrors of war! hurroo! Hurroo!

  7. you are right. When I recently heard the song ‘na tum na bole’, I thought the tune was familiar. It took me some time to realise that the tune is lifted from ‘Johny comes marching’, a song I was familiar because I listen frequently to American civil war era songs on you tube. I did a google search and stumbled on this page. But I guess ‘Na tum’ is very good adaptation with good lyrics.

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