It seems that original music in Bollywood is on its death throes if the number of remixed old classic songs is anything to go by.
Are the audiences fed up with those meaningless rap and hip-hop numbers which are dished out by the dozen these days that they are seeking new pastures? Or has Bollywood simply run out of good songwriters and musicians?
There could be some truth in the first premise. Music that pleases the body rather than the soul has gained preference in recent times. If it moves your feet then you hear it again and again.
But a trend, which started in the 1990s, is again beginning to dominate the scene. Back then Kaliyon Ka Chaman and some other songs became a hit when they were remixed. DJs often mixed them in discos and this fired the imagination of audiences.
It was novel and people liked the new trend. But Bollywood is always known to go overboard and the initial trend was lost in a cacophony of sounds.
The scene is different today. Shelf-life of songs is a bygone thing and has been taken over the greed of a quick buck. The filmmakers want money and they go ahead with anything.
The remix juggernaut is now moving even faster. Probably one in three movies has an old song in a new avatar. There is no dearth in good musicians and songwriters. But if money is the mantra, nobody cares.
“I am quite happy with the remix versions. Some of them are refreshing and make pleasant listening,” says Gauri Gaekwad, 39, a housewife.
“I remember hearing those songs in the old days on the radio with the family. To hear them now in a different way is nice and I get nostalgic.”
For Philomina D’Souza, 21, a student, it makes no difference as she had not heard many of the old songs before.
“These were copies from an old hit, is it? The old ones must be nice. Did it have guitar and drums back-ups?” she asks as she swings to the new version of the Madhuri Dixit song Ek Do Teen.
“We have entered the Era of Murder of Music unfortunately,” says Deepak Karmarkar, 49, bank worker, who has an amateur singing group. “This is sacrilege. How can they hurt the souls of those bygone musicians, writers and singers?
Am sure R D Burman would turn in his grave if he heard these shallow versions of his hits. I will not see movies which has remixes.”
Mohammed Ismail, 74, a shop owner, cringed when asked about the remixes.
“Arrey, they haven’t even spared a beautiful song like Chalte Chalte from Pakeezah. That was such a beautiful and melodious song with Meena Kumari dancing in such a dignified manner.
Today, a young man with a fashionable haircut is mouthing it. Yeh toh narkh hai,” he adds.
But Bollywood remains unaffected despite criticism against using old songs. When names of films are repeated, plots are rehashed and music copied, songs were next in line.
The industry has the habit of going berserk at times with new trends and this will go on until people come forth to express their anguish with this.
“Come on. This is stupid thinking. They will do by the dozens until someone gets bored. Then they find something else and set a new trend. That’s Bollywood. That’s the reality,” says Anil Mehta, a businessman.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the author and individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.