Not-So-Breaking News: Bollywood Soundtracks STILL Lack Originality

[Featured Image: Screenshot/YouTube]

by Nila Choudhury

Whatever happened to the gorgeous lyrics from Bollywood soundtracks with depth and catchy beats that had your foot tapping rhythmically? Whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV? You miss your old familiar friends waiting just around the bend…

Oh, wait. That was the theme song to “Full House,” I suppose Bollywood’s habit of reusing old hits to make new hits is contagious?

[Read Related: 16 Amazing Songs That Had Us Dancing Through 2016]

Original Bollywood soundtracks are a thing of the past as filmmakers today take it upon themselves to remake the beautiful classics of yesteryear—even though no one asked them to. Sometimes they can create a lovely modern version of an old classic, maybe one we can dance to at the next cousin’s wedding but sometimes it just goes terribly wrong.

Check out this list of songs from classic Bollywood soundtracks remade, courtesy of today’s music producers.

1. Original “Laila O Laila” featuring Zeenat Aman from the film “Qurbaan.”

The stunning Zeenat Aman is the epitome of class, grace, and sex appeal—the woman knew how to work it all! An original song is an iconic number that fans still listen to and after years of tragically disgraceful remakes, I have to say the music directors of “Raees” did a great job for their version of “Laila Main Laila.”

They have kept the beauty of the original track intact while adding an upbeat, modern twist. Personally, I thought it was lovely and although haters will always have their two cents to add, I loved that Sunny Leone was chosen for this song.

Leone is hot, beautiful, smart, brave, unapologetic, hard-working, and kind. She is building her career, and improving her work, despite critics trying to shame her for her past. Shah Rukh Khan—King Khan—called her up personally to be in the song! I can’t think of an actress in today’s batch of young stars who could have done justice to the song.

[Read More: An Open Letter to the Misogynistic Journalist who Interviewed Bollywood Actress Sunny Leone]

Props to Leone for proving her to her critics there are people—people at the top of the industry like Khan—who will work with her regardless of her past.

2. Original “Humma Humma” from the film “Bombay.”

“Bombay” is a classic film that filmgoers fell in love with. The tragic love story of the characters played by Manisha Koirala and Arvind Swamy—a Muslim woman and Hindu man—touched the hearts of millions.

“Humma Humma” is an upbeat track from the film that will have you bopping to the beat. I found it particularly interesting that the makers of “OK Jaanu” slowed down the beat of their remake, “The Humma Song.”

Usually, music composers are speeding up tracks, increasing the bass, and throwing in a bunch of autotune lyrics along with the every-type-of-screeching-sound-they-can-fit-in-one-song type and calling it a “techno” remix. The visuals of the songs from both films are meant to be fun but sensual as well and I think “OK Jaanu” does deliver as Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor look adorable together.

The only doubts I have regarding this track is Badshah’s verse, not sure if that was really necessary.

3. Original song “Sara Zamana Haseeno Ka Deewana” from the film “Yaarana.”

Amitabh Bachchan kills it with his iconic jam “Sara Zamana Haseeno Ka Deewana” from the hit film, “Yaarana.” It is insane how people still know the dance moves to this song! Can we take a moment to appreciate that light up suit?

Maybe it’s because I’m ridiculously corny beyond reason, but I absolutely loved that suit!

As epic as that song was, I think the “Kaabil” creators thought to themselves, “How can we completely destroy this classic and make people’s ears bleed?”

Well then, if that was your intent, you have succeeded, my friends. At least Urvashi Rautela looked hot in the video, although she did look like a jumping bean at times with those dance moves.

4. Original “Mahi Ve” from the film “Kaante.”

Malaika Arora Khan is the original item song queen and this diva is not just a sexy dancer but from her judging skills on dance reality shows, it is clear that she is knowledgeable about technique as well. In this item number from “Kaante,” Malaika is all types of sexy and it is difficult to match up to her level of skill.

The film “Wajah Tum Ho” takes advantage of Zarine Khan’s new found sexual side but sadly, Zarine doesn’t have the skills to match up to Malaika’s dancing expertise. At times I was left wondering if she was dancing or just doing yoga poses?

The remake of the song itself was nothing to get excited over. I didn’t find it to be exceptionally mind blowing but I don’t think it was completely vomitrocious?

Yes, vomitrocious is a word—it’s in the Urban Dictionary, it must be real, right?

Anyway, it’s just eh.

5. Original “Koi Faryaad” from the film “Tum Bin.”

“Tum Bin” was a surprise hit for people as it launched three new faces. Through word of mouth and great reviews the film grew to be a cult classic. The storyline was beautifully depicted and the music was exceptional.

Who could forget the beautiful gems created by Jagjit Singh for this film? “Koi Faryaad” was one of these beautiful songs that held so much depth and sweetness.

For the sequel, “Tum Bin 2,” Jagjit Singh’s iconic song was recreated and re-titled “Teri Faryaad.” The new track was sung by Rekha Bhardwaj and includes Singh’s vocals from the original. “Teri Faryaad” holds the same melody and the same depth as the original track which was very beautiful. Also, it’s Jagjit Singh kids, if you don’t know who that is, go Google this great man (may he rest in peace).

Who am I to judge the talents of Singh, he can do no wrong if the creators had decided to re-make the track entirely I’m sure I would have hated it. Jagjit Singh’s legendary voice just makes everything sound so much more beautiful.

6. Original “Aise Na Mujhe Tum Dekho,” from the film “Darling, Darling.”

Kishore Kumar sang this lovely number, “Aise Na Mujhe Tum Dekho” for the film “Darling Darling” starring Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman. The video and song was light, sweet, and fun in the original version bringing in a special magic that only Anand and Aman can.

“Wajah Tum Ho” however, adds a seductive twist to the track and retitled it “Dil Mein Chhupa loonga.” Though the video is a whole lot of sexy, the original song is more fun. Sung by Armaan Malik and Tulsi Kumar the song is actually pretty decent, it’s catchy and completely oozes sexiness while the original was quirky and fun.

[Read Related: We Give You Every Reason to Take a Look Back at ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’s’ Soundtrack]

It is interesting to see how much the tone of the entire song has changed in this remake, they’ve even changed the lyrics to hold a more sensual meaning.

Nila CWith a master’s degree in developmental psychology under her belt, Nila Choudhury is avoiding rishta aunties by heading back to school for a doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Immaculata University. Currently, she is an assistant editor at A born-and-raised New Yorker, she lives on bagels and pizza. She enjoys traveling, reading, writing, watching corny Bollywood movies, wearing tiara’s and singing “Let It Go” —off key, of course—during her free time. Keep up with Nila on her new blog, Recklessly Besharam.

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

Abhishek Bachchan, Saiyami Kher, and Angad Bedi on ‘Ghoomer’

“Ghoomer,” R. Balki’s latest directorial venture, had its world premiere at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2023 (IFFM), earlier this month, and the moment was nothing short of memorable. Lead actors Abhishek Bachchan, Saiyami Kher, and Angad Bedi, were present to unveil their labor of love to the world, and all three were left speechless at the reaction of the global audience; the film received a standing ovation on opening night, leaving the team extremely emotional — a feeling that Bachchan tells Brown Girl is one he cannot put into words.

“Ghoomer,” tells the story of Anina (played by Kher), an exceptional cricket player who loses her right hand in an accident. Downtrodden and with no will to live, Anina finds a mentor and coach in Padam Singh Sodhi (played by Bachchan), an insensitive and brash failed cricketer who helps her turn her life and career around; Anina also has the unwavering support of her husband, Jeet (played by Bedi). Sodhi teaches Anina unorthodox techniques to make her mark on the cricket ground once again. Enter, ghoomer, a new style of bowling.

[Read Related: 5 Tidbits About Bollywood Royalty Abhishek Bachchan For His 41st Birthday!]

Balki checks all the boxes with this feature — his protagonist is a female athlete, the film is his way of giving back to cricket (a new form of delivery), and he highlights the idea that nothing is impossible for paraplegic athletes. The heart of Balki’s film is in the right place — Kher mentions that the film is meant to be more of an inspirational movie and less of a sports-based movie. One can only imagine the impact that a film like this would have on an audience that’s hungry for meaningful cinema.

And, to chat more about “Ghoomer,” Brown Girl Magazine sat down with the stars of the show. Bachchan, Bedi, and Kher came together to talk about their inspiring characters, the filming journey, and how their film aspires to change the landscape of cricket and paraplegic athletes in the country. It was all that, with a side of samosas.

Take a look!

The featured image is courtesy of Sterling Global. 

By Sandeep Panesar

Sandeep Panesar is an editor, and freelance writer, based out of Toronto. She enjoys everything from the holiday season to … Read more ›

‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’: A Perfect K Jo Showcase Celebrating the Filmmaker’s 25 Years in Cinema

Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani

It’s always a flamboyant affair of colour, emotions and grandeur when Karan Johar directs a film, and his latest blockbuster “Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani” is as K Jo as it gets. After recently being recognised at the British House of Parliament for 25 years as a filmmaker, Johar is back to doing what he does best — bringing together families and star-crossed lovers, but this time with a modern touch. He makes a decent attempt at showcasing progressive ideals and feminist issues while taking us on this family-friendly ride.

“Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani” is a larger-than-life film revolving around the love story of a boisterous Rocky (Ranveer Singh) from a wealthy Delhi family, and Rani (Alia Bhatt), a sharp journalist from a progressive Bengali household. And of course, despite belonging to completely different backgrounds and lives, our protagonists, in true Bollywood fashion, fall hopelessly in love through a string of slow-motion gazes, warm embraces and some truly breath-taking song sequences in Kashmir’s snowy mountains. They are then forced to face their opposing families which brings along the family drama in the second half of the film.

The plot is not the film’s strongest point — there’s no real surprise about what’s going to happen next, and yet the film doesn’t fail to keep audiences engaged and pack an emotional punch. This is down to its strong acting, witty dialogues and K Jo’s classic, beautiful cinematography.

K Jo

Ranveer Singh sinks into the skin of his character with ease – not only does he make the hall burst into laughter with the help of perfectly-timed gags but he pulls off those dreamy gazes ,expected in K Jo’s heroes, to evoke that typical, fuzzy-feeling kind of Bollywood romance. Alia Bhatt’s intelligent and undefeated character is no less a pleasure to watch on screen — not only does she look breath-taking in every shot but her feminist dialogues earn claps and cheers from the audience as she brings a progressive touch to this family drama.

[Read Related: ‘The Romantics’: Revisiting the Legacy and Grandeur of Yash Chopra With Filmmaker Smriti Mundhra]

Albeit, while Bhatt’s dialogues do their best to steer this film to the reformist drama it hopes to be, some of Singh’s gags and monologues on cancel culture bring out bumps in the road. The film could have done better to reinforce its points on feminism and racism without using the groups it tries to support as the butt of jokes.

There is also a case to be made about how long these Punjabi and Bengali stereotypes can go on with often gawkish displays of Ranveer’s ‘dilwala-from-Delhi’ character among the overly-polished English from Rani’s Bengali family. But it is with the expertise of the supporting cast, that the film is able to get away with it. Jaya Bachchan in particular is as classy as ever on screen; the stern Dadi Ji holds her ground between the two lovers, while Dada Ji Dharmendra,  and Thakuma Shabana Azmi, tug at our heartstrings showing that love truly is for all ages.

K Jo Rocky aur Rani

Saving the best to last, it is the film’s cinematography that makes the strongest case for audiences to flock to the cinema. The soul-stirring songs steal the show with their extravagant sets and powerful dance performances that treat the audiences to the much-awaited cinematic experience of a K Jo film. While audiences may already be familiar with the viral songs, “What Jhumka?” and “Tum Kya Mile“, it was the family-defying fight for love in “Dhindhora Baje Re” that really gave me goosebumps.

Overall, the film does exactly what it says on the tin and is a family entertainer with something for everyone. It will make you laugh, cry, and cringe at times, but nothing leaves you feeling as romantic as some old school Bollywood with a mix of new school humour, in true K Jo form.

Stills Courtesy of Media Global House



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By Anushka Suharu

Anushka Suharu is a British Indian journalist, with a Masters in Interactive Journalism (City, University of London) and a BA … Read more ›

‘The Romantics’: Revisiting the Legacy and Grandeur of Yash Chopra With Filmmaker Smriti Mundhra

The Romantics

If you are a South Asian, born in the ’80s or the early ’90s, chances are your ideas of love and romance are heavily influenced by Hindi films — that first gaze, the secret love notes, that accidental meeting somewhere in Europe, over-the-top gestures and dancing around trees. While reality may have been far from what was promised on reel, you still can’t stop pining over a hopeless romantic, with chocolate boy looks, chasing you across the earth and many universes; in the life here and the ones after. Somewhere deep down, you still dream of that possibility despite your husband sitting and sipping his morning coffee right next to you. And much of the credit for weaving this dreamland, that we can’t resist happily sliding into, goes to the legendary Yash Chopra. Award-winning filmmaker Smriti Mundhra’s docu-series, “The Romantics,” that released on Netflix on February 14, chronicles Chopra’s prolific career; offering an illuminating look into the highs and lows of his journey, his unblemished vision for Hindi cinema and sheer love for filmmaking. 

I wanted to look at Indian cinema through the lens of it being a major contributor to the global cinema canon and Yash Chopra seemed like the perfect lens to explore that because of the longevity of his career and the fact that he had worked across so many different genres. His films, for so many of us, defined what Hindi cinema is.

— Smriti Mundhra

As “The Romantics” unveils, in a mere episode — a challenging feat in itself — Chopra did experiment with multiple genres as a budding filmmaker, initially under the shadows of his elder brother B.R. Chopra. From the religiously sensitive “Dharamputra” and the trendsetting “Waqt” to the action-packed and iconic “Deewaar.” It wasn’t until later on in his career that he set a precedent for a Hindi film having a wholly romantic narrative; though “Waqt” did offer the perfect glimpse into what would go on to become Chopra’s cinematic imprint. And then came “Chandni” which ushered in a new era for Hindi cinema; defying the formulaic approach to box office success and making love stories the golden goose.

In the words of more than 30 famous faces, a host of archival videos and interviews, and personal anecdotes, audiences get an extensive insight into the life and career of Yash Chopra and the evolution of his vision through the business acumen and genius of his polar opposite son and a famous recluse, Aditya Chopra. “The Romantics” is not a fancy portrait of a legendary filmmaker but an exploration of what goes into making a successful film family and a path-breaking production house. As viewers, we not only get a peek into the making of a fantasy creator but also learn of the many failures, hurdles and uncertainties that the business of filmmaking comes packaged in, the impact of socio-political shifts on the kind of content being produced and demanded, and just how much control we have as an audience over the fate of the film and the filmmaker.

For both the uninitiated and fanatics, there are some interesting revelations like Shah Rukh Khan’s lifelong desire to become an action hero as opposed to a romantic one and the creative conflict between Aditya Chopra and his father Yash Chopra on the sets of “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge” — a project that, surprisingly, did not seem too promising to the latter. Mundhra penetrates deep into the family’s history and industry relationships evoking some really candid conversations; almost as if these celebs were eagerly waiting for their moment to speak. With one appraising interview after the other, it’s a panegyric that does border on being a tad tedious but there is enough depth and fodder in there to keep one hooked. Kudos to Mundhra for managing to achieve cohesion despite there being more than enough material to chew on. In the process of bringing this project to life, Mundhra also ends up achieving a number of milestones: one that the series features the last of actor Rishi Kapoor’s interviews and two, it brings Aditya Chopra, who, it appears, can talk a blue streak contrary to popular belief, to the front of the camera after almost two decades. The moment when he puts the nepotism debate to rest by referring to his brother’s catastrophic attempt at acting is quite the show-stealer.


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At some point during the four-episode series, you might question if it’s fair to credit the Yash Raj family for being the only real changemakers of the Hindi film industry and for picking up the baton to get Hindi cinema the global recognition that it has. But then there is no denying the Chopra clan’s body of work, their ability to understand what pleases the crowd and their commitment towards growth and progress amidst changing times and technology — Yash Raj Studios is in fact the only privately held and one of the biggest, state-of-the-art film studios in India. Chopra’s career and legacy are in no way under-lit that Mundhra can claim to throw new light on with “The Romantics.” But what she really has on offer here are sheer nostalgia, some fascinating discoveries and an ode to a cinephile and his art with a bit of fan service.

In an interview with Brown Girl Magazine, Mundhra discusses why it was so important for Chopra to be the subject of her docu-series, her own learnings during the series’ research and creative process and her accomplishment of getting Aditya Chopra to talk, and that too, at length.

By Nida Hasan

Managing Editor at Brown Girl Magazine, Nida has worked and written for several publications in a journalism career spanning almost … Read more ›