A song from 'Judwaa 2'
Either Bollywood is fast running out of fresh tunes, or like its favourite 'bwoy' Karan Johar, loves its own work a little too much to bear. 2017 is the year of the rehash, no wait, year of the rehash with migraine-inducing rap thrown in as proof of having done some work in the music studio.
Run through any top 10 charts of the year and you will hear many of the songs that were your pet earworms while growing up. Remember those songs which dominated the 'Top 10' programmes on the mint-fresh Zee TV, Hungama and other channels in the 90s? Admittedly not as blameless as we 90s kids assumed they were, but treasured nevertheless, most of them have been snatched from our collective memories and rebirthed into pounding, grotesque versions.
Take the trippy 'Tamma'. In the original, Sanjay Dutt, wearing a golden jacket and nothing inside (not joking), and a curly-haired Madhuri in an eye-hurting glittery outfit, danced ineptly on chairs to much cheering and clapping. One would think a song that already has so much bling (and Bappi Lahiri) needs no embellishments. But no. The new version, which has garnered over 250 million views on YouTube, has been 'blingified' further with some Ameen Sayani impressions and Badshah's rap thrown in for extra headaches. The result is strident cacophony, but going by the number of views, it has nonetheless got its fans' approval.
There is an anaemic 'Humma' from Ok Jaanu; there is the unforgettable 'Tu Cheez Badi Hain Mast' rehashed in a movie called Machine. The new version helpfully shouts at you in a deep baritone every now and then - 'change' - just in case you wondered what happened to the original. 'Laila O Laila' from Raees saw Sunny Leone swaying to the rejigged version of the classic Zeenat Aman number. Another huge hit of the year is the stalker-favourite 'Chalti Hain Kya 9 se 12' from Judwaa 2 (and 1). The second version does not sound too different from the original and that's not saying much, unfortunately.
Composer Tanishk Bagchi seems to be the (idle) brain behind most of these reappearances. But to give him his due, the peppy version of the Nusrat classic 'Mere Rashke Qamar' is a winner. The Sufi number retains its essence thankfully, whether due to the soothing lyrics or the powerful voice of Rahat, it is hard to say.
All was not doom and gloom, however. There were some gems, however rare, that deserve a mention. 'Barfani', sung beautifully by Armaan Malik from Nawazuddin's movie Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, is one of the nicest numbers this year.
'Ik Vaari Aa' from Raabta, though a typical Arijit Singh number, scores high on melody as does the title track from the same movie. 'Baarish' from Half Girlfriend is a song that will probably stay in minds for longer than 2017. Both the versions (one by Ash King and another by Atif Aslam) are equally good and do make one think of all the joys and sorrows rains bring. A song from the sleeper hit Hindi Medium that got lost in the melee is 'Hoor', a sonorous afternoon number with a gentle lilt.
Better times may just be on the Bollywood music horizon though, considering the recent releases. Tiger Zinda Hain has some good numbers including the instant hit 'Dil Diyan Gallan', as does Padmavati. 'Ghoomar' is already on the charts and if the movie manages to release anytime soon, its other songs might also sneak in.
Hopefully, 2018 will see Bollywood look beyond itself and create music that is not dug out of musty cupboards full of self-love. Karan Johar, take note.