The adage ‘old is gold’ may seem very cliched but then, there are some oldies that perfectly fit the part and cannot be replaced. The same goes for Hindi movie songs. Remember how there was a sudden craze for remixes of old Bollywood songs a few years ago? Seems like the trend has resurfaced with a new crop of movies like ‘Raees’, ‘Kaabil’ and ‘Ok Jaanu’. From the groovy tune of ‘Humma Humma’ and Kishor Kumar’s classic song ‘Dil Kya Kare’ to the evergreen ‘Laila O Laila’, iconic remixes are making a comeback in a big way.
Is this an indication that the remix culture, popular in the late 90s and beginning of 2000s, is gaining momentum again? Many young musicians in the city feel remixes are a great way to remember the past. “As a concept, it familiarises us with the big hits of yesteryears. However, it depends on how well they are made,” opines Tanushree Dwivedi, vocalist with the experimental groove band ‘Zehen’.
She points out that since the original tune holds a special value for many, coming up with a remixed version that is equally good and catchy can be a challenge; making people accept it is another test. “Some of the remixes are fun to listen to but the catch is to make it sound different yet sustain the classic essence. Many songs that are being remixed are attempts to please the younger generation; though this doesn’t work sometimes,” she says.
“But one of my personal favourites were the remixes done by ‘Bombay Vikings’. Neeraj Shridhar and his team did a great job. Their motive was not to just sound cool but to completely remake a song. He even changed a few lyrics,” recalls Tanushree. Agreeing that presenting an old song in a different manner brings back a lot of old memories, Sriharsha Ramkumar, flautist with the band ‘Hamsadhwani’, says, “Though there are many who are coming up with unique versions of a classic song, they should take care not to lose the original touch. Improvising is encouraged these days and many evergreen songs are being taken for experimentation. I recently heard the ‘Humma’ song from ‘Ok Jaanu’ but I didn’t realise that it was a remixed version. It sounded really good — a sign of a good remix.”
Back in the olden days, he says, not many types of equipment were available to musicians. Nevertheless, they made great music. With the advanced technology available today, Sriharsha believes the remix culture is here to stay — at least for a while. “The older generation, however, might not like listening to remixes as they might prefer the classics and the originals,” he adds. Though many are of the opinion that remixes are getting popular yet again, Nithya Gopinathan, a trained Carnatic vocalist, doesn’t find them so appealing. Her take on these songs, that eventually become a part of a movie, is that it all depends on how the song is being recorded.
“I loved seeing the ‘Humma’ song for its beautiful picturisation. Similarly, the song ‘Laila’ from the movie ‘Raees’ does have an element of the original. However, these days these songs are turning into item songs that make them lose their charm. I believe that ‘Raees’ didn’t need to have the song but they added it to get a few more views, unlike the case in yesteryear movies,” says Nithya. Varun Hemanth, the drummer with ‘MotherRoot’, says that in India, the music industry is dependent on the film industry. He wishes musicians would try and create a distinct industry for themselves.
“In the 90s, a few musicians did try to carve a separate space for themselves; that’s when albums came in. Sadly, it didn’t work. But I feel the album culture should come back. In the future, this will really help musicians who are not looking to be a part of the movie industry,” says Varun. He says his point of view about music has changed over the past six to seven months, “Earlier I was a close-minded musician and very genre-specific, but today I am open to the idea of remixes as well as fresh numbers. Though the concept of remixes is not new, it gives an edge of creativity and a personal element to an old favourite, which is great.”