By Durga Chakravarty
New Delhi– Old numbers minted as new are crowding the music industry as remixes appear to grow roots in Bollywood where filmmakers are keeping pace with fresh demands of the newer generation of listeners.
The line “Jitna purana ho sona sona, kyun na phir bhi rahega woh sona sona” from the number ‘Aunty ji’ has nailed the point that remixes have found an eager and an ever-growing market, song-makers argue.
While K-pop, reggaeton or hip-hop are stirring up western audiences, Bollywood is busily scrambling old Hindi hits with modern beats, catchy rhythms and pouring the product out at higher decibels to grab attention.
Refashioned tracks like ‘Dilbar’, ‘Husn hai suhana’, ‘Mirchi lagi toh’, ‘Nadiyon paar’ found a ready market in India where the latest foot-tapper ‘Chura ke dil mera’ of the 1990s has bettered its performance.
Singer Neha Kakkar, often described as the uncrowned remix queen, uses her vocal prowess to amp up recreations such as ‘Aankh marey’, ‘Cheez badi’, ‘Dilbar’, ‘O saki saki’ for dance-floor pelvic-grinders.
The 33-year-old, who started her musical journey from neighbourhood ‘jagratas’ along with siblings Tony and Sonu Kakkar, seemed convinced that recreations will never fall through the cracks of time.
“Remakes will never go out of fashion. It’s an old-school way of keeping the classics alive. It’s also about our memories associated with the song,” Neha told IANS.
There was a time when Punjabi numbers and Hindi rap were taking over the music scene in films. Be it ‘Lungi dance’ from ‘Chennai Express’, ‘Dhup chik’ from ‘Fugly’ or “Abhi toh party shuru hui hai” from the film ‘Khoobsurat’.
Vintage numbers are stealing the spotlight in contemporary Hindi movies with a clever mix of modernity.
Playback singer Shilpa Rao, known for belting out original hits such as ‘Ghungroo’, ‘Khuda Jaane’ and ‘Malang’, feels otherwise.
“I am seeing so much original content that has been coming up. I am a huge supporter of original music. So, I will always be on that side without a doubt. I am always up for original music. We have no dearth of originality,” Rao told IANS.
The 37-year-old artist argued India was an ocean of talent that should stay away from excuses to create lazy remixes.
“We have to create music for this era. I don’t want to be a part of an era that was a remake era. We want to be part of an era that defines it. The black-and-white era is defined by the music created by Naushad Sahab,” she added.
Rao, who holds a Masters degree in statistics and is fearless about trying out new styles in her tracks, wants to be known for an era where “we did experimentation”.
She said: “I would love to be associated with that era. Remix is a hindrance to that, we need real music.”
Singer-performer Mika Singh, who has even rehashed his own numbers as well as other songs, asserts that remakes are not new and have been there for a long time.
His refurbished ‘Sawan main lag gayi aag’ was undisputedly an instant hit just as the original number which was released in 1998.
Mika, who has also rehashed ‘Tum par hum hain atke’, ‘Hawa hawa’, and ‘Aankh maare’, told IANS that remixes such as ‘Chura liya’ or ‘Kanta Laga’ set the ball rolling way back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The singer blamed the ever-changing kaleidoscope of music on the rapid attrition rate of artists in India’s entertainment industry.
“The artists then (from the 1990s) are not seen now…The ones who came two years or two months ago have vanished. So, that is why it is felt that it’s not working in the film industry.”
Speaking about himself, the 44-year-old blamed the pandemic that sees film releases only on online streaming platforms ever since 2020 when Covid-19 broke out.
And hence the only song to get traction was his ‘Sawan main lag gayi aag’, which featured in two digital films ‘Ginny Weds Sunny’ and ‘Indoo ki jawani’, he said.
“Nothing else worked. Whatever songs are coming on OTT are not able to become a hit…Music will always be there…If the artists vanish then people think that the music has also gone,” he said. (IANS)