Until last week, Saara Zamana was a song that conjured up images of Amitabh Bachchan in a brightly lit, futuristic glow suit, prancing around in an indoor auditorium, lip-syncing to Kishore Kumar’s voice. Hrithik Roshan’s upcoming film Kaabil has offered an alternative visual — a sultry Urvashi Rautela shimmying away in a short dress and high heels. If numbers are to be believed, then within a day of its release, the song had more than two lakh views. Then there was The Humma Song from OK Jaanu, which was a pale attempt at remaking the ’90s cult hit, Humma Humma. While it received the hits, the reception was drab, and Remo Fernandes, who sang the original, called it “a pale, insipid” version.
Next in line is Ram Sampath’s Laila o Laila for Raees, which will replace Zeenat Aman with Sunny Leone. Earlier this year, Baar Baar Dekho introduced a new rendition of Kala Chashma. One would be forgiven for feeling like the airwaves are suddenly a heady mix of nostalgia with an electronic vibe.
But insiders think it’s a trend which too shall pass. “This trend has started lately,” says Gourov Dasgupta, who recreated Haseeno Ka Deewana for Kaabil, with his long time collaborator Roshin. “There’s a certain recall value to the old songs, no doubt. And it’s not that all songs fail — songs like Dheere Dheere did work. There are big guys in the industry who suggest these ideas,” he says.
As a composer, Gourov likes to keep a little bit of himself in every song that he creates. “Essentially, it must sound good. For example, one wouldn’t be able to recognise the song from the intro, we have kept an element of surprise in the song,” he adds.
Composers are not the only ones who work on the rendition; there are lyricists who have to add more words to the classics. “This is the requirement of the industry. If I don’t do it, then someone else will,” remarks lyricist Kumaar, who wrote Baby Doll, which went on to garner a lot of praise for having a distinct Gulzarish touch.
According to Kumaar, remakes are not always a good idea. He admits that he wouldn’t like if words were added to Baby Doll. “Who likes to recreate classics? I didn’t come to Mumbai to add words to classics. But I am sure that this is one of those phases and hopefully, the industry will soon get over it,” he says, with hope.
On the other hand, Hard Kaur thinks musicians these days are just ‘lazy’. “They don’t want to write new music, but remix old ones and turn the classics to utter sh*t. It has become a business now.”
“I understand how it is business — it’s about the money and box office, but what’s at the core of it? I have had so many meetings where directors and producers who tell me, ‘Aapka gaana hi toh bachayega movie ko.’ Why? What is wrong with their movie?” she says. “I think it needs to get clearer that old classics are classics for a reason and people aren’t doing even a decent job of remaking them,” she signs off.