We develop the asymptotic formulas for correlations

\[ \sum_{n\le x}f_1(P_1(n))f_2(P_2(n))\cdot \dots \cdot f_m(P_m(n))\]

where $f_1,\dots,f_m$ are bounded ``pretentious" multiplicative functions, under certain natural hypotheses. We then deduce several desirable consequences: first, we characterize all multiplicative functions $f:\mathbb{N}\to\{-1,+1\}$ with bounded partial sums. This answers a question of Erd{\"o}s from $1957$ in the form conjectured by Tao. Second, we show that if the average of the first divided difference of multiplicative function is zero, then either $f(n)=n^s$ for $\operatorname{Re}(s)<1$ or $|f(n)|$ is small on average. This settles an old conjecture of K\'atai. Third, we discuss applications to the study of sign patterns of $(f(n),f(n+1),f(n+2))$ and $(f(n),f(n+1),f(n+2),f(n+3))$ where $f:\mathbb{N}\to \{-1,1\}$ is a given multiplicative function. If time permits, we discuss multidimensional version of some of the results mentioned above.