All those who know me well know about my penchant for writing on films, and music. And this blog is about both. As I was undergoing my daily ritual of working out and listening to a music channel, I noticed something peculiar. 4 songs played back to back, and they were Dil Kya Kare and Saara Zamaana from Kaabil, Laila O Laila from Raees, and Humma from Ok Jaanu. For those who still couldn’t connect the dots, all 4 are remixes of hugely popular songs, and are considered cult by people regardless of the era they were born in.
Dil Kya Kare, a love ballad that remains the top favourite of all romantics is from the movie Julie (1975) and is composed by Rajesh Roshan. Saara Zamaana belongs to the same composer, and is from Big B starrer Shahenshah released in 1988. Laila O Laila comes from one of my most favourite composer duos Kalyanji-Anandji and is from the movie Qurbani (1980), whereas Humma is much more recent among all the others, and belongs to the time I grew up in. It was a part of the critically acclaimed Bombay (1995).
All the 4 songs mentioned have their unique charm, and lend themselves to different moods. Laila O Laila is one of the earliest, and greatest item numbers Bollywood has ever seen. The work done on percussions by arranger Babla Ji is phenomenal, and really ground breaking. It paved the way for many more such numbers, all set in the typical 80s pub. Dil Kya Kare, managed to capture the heart beat of all those caught in fervent love, or those fantasizing about loving someone. Saara Zamaana is much more upbeat, and was instrumental in making everyone Bachchan ka Deewana once again, at a time when he was considered past his top game (how wrong critics turned out to be; he’s only gotten more fantastic with age!). Last but not the least, Humma Humma comes from an album which made Rahman an instant hit even with the Bollywood film industry, over and above the South Indian film industry he was more famous in at that point of time.
The point of this blog is to raise a few important questions. Why are we resorting to remixes of cult classics to such a large extent? Why has Bollywood, considered the largest creative industry in India, lost its ability to creative something new and original. And this particular discussion is just limited to songs, else I would also be dissing Sanjay Gupta – the man who can never make anything original. He has been slapped a notice by Netflix for apparently plagiarising their original series Daredevil and remaking it as Kaabil. Just to add, two of the four songs mentioned are also from his film Kaabil.
Getting back to the questions, I’d like to highlight some facts, in light of which these questions seem to be more pertinent. Bollywood is one of the largest film industries in the world, and the total value of the industry stands at $1.3bn. We produce over 1600 films of all sizes and languages every year, and see at least 2.7 billion footfalls inside theaters during the same time. Everyone is paid well, right from an actor’s assistant to the film director. When you’ve top music directors being associated with every film, and they are being paid top bucks, why can’t they come up with something original?
I simply fail to understand how current producers are even promoting the use of remixed songs for their films. Aren’t they hungry to create something that will possibly be used by future filmmakers, just the way they are being tempted to use old classics as remixes? I reckon they aren’t thinking about songs this way, else they would have paid enough attention on the film’s music to ensure that it turns out to be another DDLJ, or maybe a Rangeela.
I’ve had a chance to be a part of the industry in my small way – having attended some music sittings of Uttam Singh Ji (composer of India’s third largest ever selling album Dil To Pagal Hai), and Anandji Bhai of the great Kalyanji-Anandji fame. These traditionalists still take the old route, and even if they aren’t commercially present anymore, they prefer working hard on an original. I have also had a chance to interact with the newbies in the industry, who are making it big. They apparently want the ‘best’ and the most creative minds working for them. What for? For just spotting good remixes I believe.