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Oh God, One More Remix?! The Highs And Lows Of Remixes In Bollywood

Vishal Dadlani during a live performance
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“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,” noted singer Sunidhi Chauhan told The Indian Express when asked about remixes. Chauhan is probably the only one who is trying to understand the trend of remixes instead of outright bashing it like her peers. It is no secret that seasoned musicians are absolutely disgusted with Bollywood remixing their songs.

“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,” singer Shibani Kashyap told the newspaper, echoing Chauhan’s views.

It’s not that singers like Sunidhi Chauhan, Shaan, Sonu Nigam and others are against certain words being used in today’s music. It’s the fact that half the songs don’t make sense these days and still manage to go viral on YouTube and other social media.

When Deedar De from Chhalang released, it was evident that Vishal-Shekhar weren’t happy with the remix. They had sung the original version in the 2005 movie, Dus. “We have been very kindly credited here, only because we composed the original #DeedaarDe in 2004. However, we haven’t done this ‘remix’. That said, best wishes to the film and team. Thanks for loving our music down the years,” Vishal tweeted while Shekhar said in another tweet: “One day you won’t be checking on how many likes you got, how many views you got, how many new followers you got…. none of these things will matter … stay away from comparing… stay away from the chase.”

Remixes aren’t new. They’ve been there since the early 2000s when desi pop boomed in India. All of us remember the Sajna Hai Mujhe and Saiyyan Dil Mai Aana Re tracks with sexy men and women grooving to the beats. However, they weren’t part of mainstream Hindi cinema which was still dominated by sur and taal. They were part of dance and remix albums which were popular then. In 2008, Ranbir Kapoor danced his way into people’s hearts with Bachna Ae Haseeno. The remix of that songs wasn’t seen in a negative light, mainly because it was thought to be a one-off situation.The song and the film had Rishi Kapoor’s blessing, after all.

However, it took Bollywood four years to actually swallow the remix pill. It all started with a film called Student of the Year and a song called The Disco Song. Nazia Hassan’s legendary voice got a botox and a facial and was re-packaged for the 21st century. Cut to 2017 when 30 classics were remixed. The Humma Song, Laila, Haseeno Ka Deewana, Tamma Tamma Again, Tu Cheez Badi, Ishq Tera Tadpave, Hawa Hawa, Mere Rashke Qamar . . . and the list goes on and on. Seeing Dharma Productions’ success with remixes, T Series jumped onto the bandwagon and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, with the success of Aankh Maarey and Dilbar, there is no way that Bollywood is returning to original music anytime soon, no matter the hate. In fact, Nadiyon Paar (Let The Music Play Again) has to be the most played song of 2021. And it’s not even a remixed version of a classic but an Ishq Bector song.

“Music ki samajh kitne logon ke paas hai? Bohot kum. Hum sabko musically educate toh nahi kar sakte lekin hum itna kar sakte hai ki aap apni taraf se good music dete rahe ki dheere dheere ek taste banega. Lekin sabse aasaan tareeka yeh hai ki main aapke sthar pe utar jaaun (very few people actually understand music. We cannot musically educate everyone but what we can do is churn out good music so that people develop a taste for it. But the easiest way is to stoop down to their level),” Shaan recently told a web portal. “Music companies are saying that these kinds of songs, they may not be great music, but humare views aate hai usme(we get a good number of views on them),” Shaan added.

So, one has to ask – who is to blame? The music companies who are taking cherished songs and making them into money-making remixes or the people, who are the reason they are being created in the first place?


[Image Credit: Vishal Dadlani]