Music is the food for soul and somehow, Bollywood is ensuring that the food stays the same over generations. Suddenly, parents and children are seen grooving to the very same music, reducing the gap.
Earlier it was all about having dinners together, and now thanks to Bollywood and their lack of creative influx, family bonding is now happening over the dance floor. If there is a Sunny Leone gyrating on ‘Laila main laila’, no one can object, cause the moral police (read parents) too were mesmerized by the same song, while they ogled Zeenat Aman. If there was a horrible stiff Sanjay Dutt making you laugh in ‘Tamma Tamma Loge…’ your kids doing the same steps today thinking they are the Varun Dhawan’s of the world is also amusing.
While all this is fun, it is rather unfortunate the lack of new blood. Like the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayega, train scene, everyone is just spoofing or giving an ode to the past and not really making something equally memorable. Some of the biggest films releasing this year and it has only been 2months since the year has begun, have seen rehashed songs be it Ok Jaanu, Raees, Kaabil or the yet to be released Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya. While there have been films earlier which have used popular songs from the years bygone, to make a statement in the course of their film, the frequency with which we are having remixes are rather alarming.
Rather than using popular songs as a narrative tool, which Hindi films have done in the past, here the association of a ‘Laila O Laila’ or ‘Tamma Tamma’ is designed to act as a cue to evoke specific reaction from the viewer to help benefit the new film. The manner in which OK Jaanu rehashed Bombay’s ‘Humma humma’ right down to its visual element — Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor’s cat and mouse game is more an ode to the Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala song from the film, than taking the narrative of their own film forward. This becomes more prominent when you realise that the treatment of the song in the Hindi version is more like the lovemaking night of the young couple in Bombay, as opposed to the night an unmarried couple is forced to spend together in OK Kanmani (2015), which is the narrative that were to follow in the first place.
Like Ok Jaanu, Kaabil and Raees too took the easy way out, and tried to get some mileage out of getting gimmicky. Though having Sunny Leone in the song, worked wonders for Raees, with Mahira not allowed to step into the country, it is really unfortunate that with someone like Rajesh Roshan in the family, KAABIL didn’t use its strengths. Perhaps they should try and take a leaf outta Gauri Shine’s film, Dear Zindagi (2016) that used an Arijit Singh version of Sadma’s (1983) ‘Ae zindagi gale laga le’ not only rekindled the same hope associated with the song but also helped the film rise above the usual trappings.The song was not a mere hark back to the past but a tool to ride on the prestige that is attached to the original.
In spite of being gimmicky, or at times even embarrassing, perhaps there is nothing wrong in the way Bollywood is rehashing older songs. This could be a passing fad or a marketing ploy to relive yesterday once more. This approach does make one wonder if new Bollywood would ever be able to come up with a fresh syntax for songs in Hindi cinema.
The question still remains, do these really help? “The whole strength of using a song that is already established itself iconically in the past, is that it takes the audience, back into their own past, the feelings that that song conjured into their minds, and mesh that into the narrative of the film they are currently exploring. The Bollywood directors themselves have done it beautifully in the past…the most memorable instance would be ‘Hum hain rahi pyar ke’ from Nau Do Gyarah (1957) playing on a transistor radio in Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991) where the mood of the song becomes a plot device. Had the film been made today, one would have been treated to a recreated version, choreographed to perfection and marketed as the film’s big musical offering.
“Even Karan Johar wove ‘ Lag jaa gale ke phir ye…’ and ‘Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh…’ poignantly into the story line where the characters and their personal upheavals, needed an anchor to something familiar, something they have known all their lives, like an old song from the past.”
Wouldnt such associations work better if instead of being rehashed older songs, they were used as a part of the narrative in the form of diegetic sounds? Don’t get us wrong, we are not complaining. We are just looking forward to being entertained, but if we see an effort, we would appreciate that more.-CineBlitz