Reggae, rock and rap recharge golden hits

Reggae, rock and rap recharge golden hits

Remixed tracks spark debate in Bollywood

Three decades after it scorched the silver screen, Himmatwala is back in a new avatar. The 1983 film, directed by K Raghvendra Rao, had Jeetendra — white pants, white shoes et al — cavorting with voluptuous Sridevi amidst pots of all shapes and sizes.

Now, it has Ajay Devgn, a “non-dancer” by his own admission, shaking a leg to Naino mein sapna, sapno mein sajna with Tamannah, in the Sajid Khan remake.
Three songs from the original have been retained in the new version of Himmatwala. (Cue for fangirls to break into frenzied thataiyya-thathaiyya!) Which brings us to the current trend of remixing retro hits.

The trend picked up pace with Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan, where Mike McCleary revived the iconic song, Khoya khoya chand from Kaala Bazar. Is it a trend worth applauding? Well, the jury is still out.

“I don’t find any relevance in reviving old songs. New songs mixed with different kind of tunes cannot remain etched in public memory. Original compositions are always remembered,” declares music director Sameer Sen, who had a successful run in Bollywood in the 1990s.

“Directors introduce old songs to popularise their film but this has been proved wrong with Himmatwala, which flopped at the box office. Any composition that has done marvellously in its time cannot recreate the same magic,” he adds.

When asked whether remix marks the death of creative talent, he replies: “Perhaps, yes. Earlier there were only four to five music composers in the industry but now there are more than 20 music directors. Everyone cannot come up with original stuff, so they seem to have found an easy way out by remixing old songs.”

But Mikey McCleary, the 44-year-old music composer from New Zealand, who arrived on the Hindi film music scene two years ago with Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan, chooses to differ. “It’s not remix. Remix is when you borrow the original audio track from an old song. I take the basic skeleton of the tune and create the rest from scratch,” says the man who has won acclaim for rearranging the super hit Dama dam mast kalandar,
in David.

The debate rages on, but those jiving to the golden oldies infused with bursts of folk music and topped with Reggae elements are not complaining. “The songs are catchy as long as the music is not overdone. The originals are good in their own way but you cannot deny the fact that the new versions are also popular,” says Amit Tyagi, a college student.

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