M. Palin, Salil C., Polyushka PoleWas watching Michael Palin's "Full Circle", a typically engaging travel documentary featuring "the nicest Python". I this series, Palin is traveling around the Pacific Rim, and one of his first stops is in Russia. He befriends a Russian who sings a popular folk song called "Polyushka Pole" - Palin records this and eventually gets to sing this along with a naval choir in Vladivostok.
Now this song was immensely familiar. The reason? It has the same tune as "Dharti kare pukaar ke" from Bimal Roy's "Do Bigha Zameen", scored by Salil Chowdhury (also recorded at I2FS). The original Russian title seems to be literally translated as "Meadowland", which seems appropriate. The song also is said to appear at the beginning of "Castaway", a fact which seems to have escaped me (remember Fedex employee Tom Hanks in Moscow at the beginning of the film?)
Salil Chowdhury, in addition to being a great man of creativity, was also a communist, and his political leanings would have provided access to Soviet culture as well, hence explaining the roots of this famous Hindi film song. Did he acknowledge the inspiration - I don't know. But it's not just Awara and Disco Dancer that went northwards - some of it came south as well.