Return of the retro: Bollywood beats to remixed classics

New Delhi, April 14 (Calcutta Tube) A svelte Zeenat Aman swaying to the cult classic ‘Dum maro dum’ in the 1971 film ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ is part of Bollywood folklore. So is the sizzling 1980s cabaret number ‘Pyaar do, pyaar lo’, which enchanted an entire generation of cinegoers. Remixed versions of songs like these are now finding a place in Hindi movies, having struck a chord with today’s youth.

‘Pyaar do pyaar lo’ from Feroz Khan’s 1986 film ‘Jaanbaaz’ has been given a neo-age twist in Anees Bazmee’s ‘Thank You’, while saucier versions of ‘Laila O Laila’ (‘Qurbani’) and ‘Dum maaro dum’ have been remixed for upcoming films ‘Chalo Dilli’ and ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ respectively.

Actress Lara Dutta, whose debut production ‘Chalo Dilli’ features item girl Yana Gupta gyrating to the new ‘Laila O Laila’, explains the reason behind recycling old melodies.

‘Some songs are from iconic classics that young cine-goers haven’t even seen. So we are just trying to give them songs which will never go out of style. ‘Laila’ is our humble ode to a classic song. Zeenat ji (Zeenat Aman) also liked it. We are very happy with the way it turned out,’ Lara said.

However, Zeenat Aman, whose iconic songs are preferred picks for remixing, has not appreciated the new ‘Dum maaro dum’ with its widely panned lyrics, but is quite happy with ‘Laila…’.

‘I liked the song when I heard it. They have retained the original version and, at the same time, have given the song a new flavour. It’s got a rustic, ethnic feel and I liked it a lot. So I’m supporting it,’ said Zeenat.

‘I think people are trying to work with what is tried and tested. The people who have used the songs know that these songs have worked at certain time,’ added the actress, whose chillum-smoking scenes made the original ‘Dum maaro dum’ a rage.

Retro songs were the flavour in 2010 too. ‘Parda parda’ from ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai’ was an amalgamation of R.D. Burman’s greatest hits – ‘Monica oh my darling’ and ‘Duniya mein’, while ‘Disco dancer’ and ‘Yaad aa raha hai’ were old wine in new bottles in ‘Golmaal 3’.

Dharmendra’s rocking song ‘Yamla pagla deewana’ in his last release of the same name garnered as much appreciation as his original song did 35 years ago in ‘Pratiggya’.

Old songs are not just getting a new age makeover in terms of music but also getting topped with spicier, bolder lyrics and contemporary dance steps.

Popular singer Mika, who has sung new versions of classics like ‘Apni toh jaise’ in ‘Housefull’ and ‘Pyaar do pyaar lo’ in ‘Thank You’, is all for the trend.

‘I have sung a couple of songs that have been changed to suit the new generation of audience. So they can’t be called remixes per se. In ‘Apni to jaise taise’, they kept the original chorus, but changed the ‘antara’ (verse) completely,’ Mika told IANS.

‘Remixing a song is not a new phenomenon. People all over the world do it, with due permission of the original composer. There is nothing wrong in getting a new set of audience to appreciate a forgotten melody.’

As a singer, he says, it is important for him to retain a certain flavour of the old song, and yet make it his own.

‘For me, the major challenge is that I have to make the song my own and give it my own flavour, while respecting the singer who sang it first,’ he added.

However, there are many old melody loyalists like actors Sophie Choudhary and Divya Dutta, who disapprove of the trend.

‘Y r so many new item songs remixes of old classics? Dum maro dum & Laila dnt even come close 2 the originals! Tk God 4 Munni n Sheila I guess! (sic),’ Sophie tweeted recently.

‘I m ardent fan of t originals anyday (sic),’ Divya posted.

Nevertheless, youngsters are grooving to the new versions.

‘Since many years, songs like ‘Jahaan teri ye nazar hai’ and ‘Jaanu meri jaan’, which do not even have official movie remixes, have been played in discotheques and have set the mood for the night! So when these spicier versions of old songs are being introduced in movies, it makes dancing all the more fun and exciting,’ 27-year-old Pranjal Mishra said.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at

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