190216 Sonakshi Sinha in Mungda
Sonakshi Sinha in Mungda Image Credit: Supplied

“Oh God, one more remix?” Karan Johar rightfully asks in the reboot of the song ‘Aankh Marey’ in ‘Simmba’. Bollywood musicians are increasingly looking back at old tracks and pepping them up with a sprinkle of dance music and serving them to Bollywood buffs — much to some people’s joy and to some people’s dismay.

The onset of 2019 has brought along one song recreation after another. ‘Aankh Marey’, ‘Tere Bin’, ‘Chamma Chamma’, ‘Paisa Yeh Paisa’ and the latest ‘Mungda’, which was launched on February 5.

Singer Subhro J Ganguly, who has forayed into Bollywood with ‘Paisa Yeh Paisa’ and ‘Mungda’ from the upcoming film ‘Total Dhamaal’, says recreations are like tributes to legendary composers.

“The 1970s and 1980s music was so legendary that our new generation is rediscovering it in their own way and recreating it. The current generation is dancing to those tunes and paying tribute to those legendary composers and singers, who had done those wonderful compositions. I think it is more of a tribute to them,” Ganguly said from Mumbai.

The original versions of ‘Paisa Yeh Paisa’ and ‘Mungda’ were picturised on actor Rishi Kapoor in the film ‘Karz’ and ‘Mungda’ on twinkle toes Helen in the film ‘Inkaar’, respectively. The recreated versions are by Gourav-Roshin.

“They have been shot really well... They are sounding fabulous and I hope these two tracks hit the club and become big,” Ganguly said.

The foot-tapping number ‘Chamma Chamma’, originally picturised on actress Urmila Matondkar in the 1998 film ‘China Gate’, has got a revamped version in the latest release ‘Fraud Saiyyan’, starring Arshad Warsi and Saurabh Shukla.

Warsi, who also featured in the remixed version of his own song ‘Aankh Marey’ from the 1996 film ‘Tere Mere Sapne’, finds the viral trend fun.

“I personally feel there is no harm in recreating songs. I did ‘Aankh Marey’ in 1996 or 1997... The whole generation did not know about the song, but today everyone knows it because they all went back and Googled it... It’s fine, and something that is nice for people to go back and see, and the new generation seeing it too,” Warsi said.

Arpita Chakraborty, one of the singers of the new version of the hit disco song ‘Paisa Yeh Paisa’, said: “I feel that it is the best way to revive and relive the melodies that were created by yesteryear’s music directors, to make them more accessible and presentable to our youth. I absolutely love remakes.”

190216 kartik
Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon in the video for ‘Poster Lagwa Do’. Image Credit: Supplied

Other old songs that have made their way into new films via remixes are ‘Poster Lagwa Do Bazaar Mein’ from the upcoming film ‘Lukka Chupi’. It is a recreation of Akshay Kumar’s eponymous hit number from his 1997 movie ‘Aflatoon’.

Singer Arjun Kanungo, whose single ‘La La La’ was recreated for actor Saif Ali Khan’s film ‘Bazaar’, said he is tired of remixes.

Have Bollywood musicians run out of ideas as they look back at old numbers for inspiration?

“I think it is nothing to do with singers or composers. It has to do with record labels who are pushing out their old catalogues... because they can see a business opportunity,” Kanungo said.

“I am tired of recreations now and focus more on original music because of the simple reason that in the future, say 10 years down the line, the record labels won’t have anything to recreate. If you keep recreating a song again and again and make no new content, then you are really not thinking about the future very much.”

The day the music died...

The last two years have seen a spate of films repackaging old classics as its crutch to score chart-topping tracks. Here’s a look at the more popular one’s you’ve probably heard in recent times.

Tamma Tamma Again

After Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt immortalsied the song back in 1990’s ‘Thanedar’, the track was repackaged by rapper Badshaah for 2017’s ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ with Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan trying to recreate the magic.

The Humma Song

Forget fans, even composer AR Rahman went on record that he was not too keen on having his classic track revisited for 2017’s ‘OK Jaanu’, starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor. Even original singer Remo Fernandes slammed the recreated song, and called it “pale and insipid.”

Haseeno Ka Deewana

Urvashi Rautela’s jaw-dropping track in Hrithik Roshan’s ‘Kaabil’ stopped short of having a lynch mob beating down the doors of its makers, which saw the actress attempt to reimagine Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic track from the 1981 film, ‘Yaarana’.

Tu Cheez Badi

The Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan classic was first remixed for the 1994 film ‘Mohra’. Despite criticism back then as well, the song still stayed true to the qawwali theme. However, 2017’s ‘Machine’ had fans weeping when the EDM beat breaks down what was left of the rhythm.

Dekhte Dekhte

The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s music was repackaged yet again for the Shahid Kapoor film, ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’, which — despite being featured on a popular star — did nothing for fans. — Bindu Rai