Are you in favour of recreating an old classic song? Take for example “Laila Main Laila”, “The Humma Song”, “Ek Do Teen” or even the latest tracks like “Dilbar” from Satyameva Jayate. If you prefer the original tunes over the new-age techno beats, then it isn’t your fault.
Today, no music album is complete without a couple of rehashed songs, which might have the same tune and the catch lines (mukhda), but its rewritten paras (antara) ensure that the track loses its essence.
“I don’t understand why they change the lyrics because at the end of the day people are listening to it only for that mukhda which was so popular. I can understand if you redo the music with the modern sound and all, that is fine. But, changing the antara, it is like there are two songs in one!” singer Shibani Kashyap, whose songs “Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat” and “Sajna Aa Bhi Jaa” ruled the charts in the 90s, told indianexpress.com.
“If you are going to retain just one line and the rest of it is new, then you just might do a good original song. Why do you mix it? Then it is not here, not there, it is a mixed feeling,” remarked seasoned singer Sunidhi Chauhan.
So, does that mean Bollywood has lost its melody? “The audience only listens to what is served to them. Therefore, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the people who are either creating or recreating music,” said iconic singer Sonu Nigam.
The trend of remixing old songs began in the 90s when classics like “Saiyaan Dil Mein Aana Re” and “Kaliyon Ka Chaman” became hot favourites. The entire album of Jawani Deewani got remixed by one artiste or the other. The song “Keh Doon Tumhe” from Deewaar sprung back into our minds when DJ Aqeel repackaged it while retaining the original voice of Kishore Kumar. This track was altered again in Baadshaho last year, but it failed to make an impact.
Sunidhi shared, “I will be happier if we give the listeners original music because it can never get the kind of recognition, the original stuff got. And that way, we are also discouraging new people who are working so hard in making original melodies. All the remixes sound the same, unfortunately. So, I am okay with songs being recreated, but it should be in the right manner and the right taste.”
Sunidhi and Sonu have lent their voice to the rehashed songs in Fanney Khan, in which the music of yesteryear plays an important part. Its songs “Mohabbat”, “Badan Pe Sitare” and “Halka Halka” are already chartbusters.
Sonu, who apparently agreed to croon “Badan Pe Sitare” to pay a tribute to legend Mohammad Rafi said, “I have some Rafi Sahab songs in Fanney Khan, but that was at a very special request from Mr. Anil Kapoor. There is a situation of genuine justification and the best part is the original form of the song hasn’t been tampered with.”
Several people suggest the music industry today looks for a shortcut by picking old numbers and adding a new twist to it. Our industry stalwarts think this is because the aim is not to have a shelf-life today.
“I am basically not the kind of person who judges any trend or who suggests that things should be done a certain way, that I feel is appropriate. Having said that, I do agree that by recreating old super hit songs the makers today are choosing a shortcut,” added Sonu.
Sharing her two cents on why old songs are being recreated, Shibani said, “Old songs have a longevity and are eternal. RD Burman songs are still played. So, I think somewhere today, there needs to be more focus on the melody than the noise. The music takes over too much and for the listeners, it is very difficult to absorb so much information. The song “Dil Diyaan Gallan” (Ek Tha Tiger) has become such a huge hit because it has beautiful lyrics and melody. This proves that the listeners are looking for something which is not too tough. It’s all right to have these raps and ‘daaru’ kind of songs. But you don’t carry those songs for years. That’s the reason why old songs are being recreated because the new ones are not memorable.”
Raghu Dixit, who is quite popular for his fusion music among the youth, and is the leading man of The Raghu Dixit Project, shared with indianexpress.com, “While I personally have not liked most of those recreations, I think they exist because there is an audience for it. If they had failed to impress or not acquired a new audience, then they would not have continued to be made. So, I guess it’s part of the evolution in the soundscape of our times.”
Singer-composer Shibani further added, “At the end of the day, they (companies) have to do business. That means they must have realised that the music business is not making money on the kind of songs which are being churned out. There are such good composers like I love what Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy did for Raazi, what Amit Trivedi did for Secret Superstar. But, maybe the music is not being promoted. Also, there is too much to chose from. So maybe they want to break from the clutter and quickly nail it.”
One name who has become omnipresent in almost every recreated song today is that of Neha Kakkar. Her recent hits include “Dilbar”, “Oonchi Hai Building”, “Mehbooba” and “Tu Cheez Badi”. Sharing her take on the latest trend, she said even if people claim it takes away the original song, they still hear it. “There is a lot of negative audience on social media. They would comment on anything. But they are the ones who are dancing on all these songs.”
“It is about the producers, the directors who ask them to recreate a song or compose in a certain way. So music directors don’t have much say today,” she added.
Kanika Kapoor reiterated Neha’s words. She said, “I think that’s what’s working right now. Companies are doing what’s making them money.”
Sunidhi had more to add. “Thankfully 99 per cent of the songs I’ve sung were original. Also, our Indian culture and music is so rich, we can never get enough of it. So, we should keep trying because we are yet to find so many hidden gems. We should encourage newcomers by having faith in them for making original music rather than keep following what is already done,” said the singer.
So will she croon a remix for personal happiness or for professional aspects? “That’s what is happening 50 per cent of the time. Obviously, I will not refuse. But if they are asking for my happiness then I will be like, ‘I am okay, but I am not kicked about it’,” added Sunidhi.