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Should we do away with cult of remixes? Bollywood ’s musicians react

Film music witnessed a  complete aridity of idea in 2016. What better proof of this than the distasteful re-mixes of evergreen classics that poured out  this year, each one worse than the previous. Among the songs that were remixed during the year there was Aaj phir tumpe pyar aaya hai(the Laxmikant-Pyarelal love ballad from Feroz Khan’s Dayavan), Aise na mujhe tum dekho(the Kishore Kumar ballad from Darling Darling) and Pal-pal dil ke paas(the Kishore Kumar classic from the film Blackmail sung with grievous listlessness by Arijit Singh). At year-end  they even did a re-mix of A R Rahman’s Humma humma , provoking a sound and sharp reaction from the original singer Remo Fernandez.

So  should we do away with cult of remixes? Bollywood ’s musicians react.

Amaal Malik: “We composers are forced to remix songs.For a new version of R D Burman’s Gulaabi aankhen that you hear, I had done  a whole new song and only  added the word gulaabi. But the trend at T Series is not to listen to  the composer and add their own creative inputs to a composition. They heard the word ‘gulaabi’ in my song and added ‘gulaabi aankhen’.What can  I do? I only do a re-mix if I can add my touch to the original. Several legendary songs are destroyed if not re-constructed sensibly. I agree re-mixes are now in the overdrive mode. I can vouch for the fact that the recreations I’ve done  are not in bad taste. Out of the 17 songs I  composed in 2016  only 2 were re-makes. And in both cases the original artistes have called me and told me they love my version. For me it is important to do the re-mix legally respectfully and aesthetically, and to give the original artistes their due credit. I’ve refused 8 recreations for 2017 and have in the process lost the opportunity to compose for 4 films. Nowadays not only 1 classic but 2-3 classics are being recreated for one film!!! If I don’t do it I stand to lose the project. But I stand by my rules.I will re-mix a song only if I can add an Amaal Mallik vibe to it. Otherwise, no thanks!”

Amit Kumar(son of the legendary Kishore Kumar): “From the day remix songs and even cover versions of popular songs started I immediately said to myself, ‘The downfall of Hindi film music has begun.’ Whether it is a renewal of the original’s shelf-life or a sign  of desecration, I don’t know. All I know is, Hindi film music is finished.”

Alka Yagnik : “Remixing old classics is nothing short of ruining their purity.”

Rekha Bhardwaj : “Remix of  classic songs takes away the soul and purity of the creation.

 Nishat Khan : “All these remixes are a sign of creative laziness. They very rarely renew the shelf-life of the original song. It’s just a momentary pseudo-creative selfindulgent exercize.”

Alisha Chinai: “Remixes of classics have instant recall value. It all depends on who’s doing the remix. If it’s Pitbull it’s a mega-hit.”

Prasoon Joshi:  “Recreating a song thoughtfully is a  good approach. It is when a remix is used as a formula with no craft visible, only the naked and desperate need to attract instant that, that it dilutes the intrinsic merits of the original song. Classics must be handled with care, and not casually.”

Shamir Tandon  “There have been instances when an old song has been recorded well and presented with pleasant visuals.Such songs have been well-accepted. But most of the time re-mixes do a bad job of the original. They just sabotage an old song.”

Lata Mangeshkar: “Let me recall an incident for you. There was a time when I’d sing a lot on stage.   I was once asked  to sing a song by Suraiya .  I refused. The organizers argued that I ‘d do full justice to the song. But acording to me a Suraiya song was  a Suraiya song in the public’s mind. To eliminate the original is a very difficult task. Once someone asked my opinion on  a song of mine that another singer had sung.  I said , “Dekho  main   unees hoon  aur woh  bees hai. Lekin mein apni jagah pe unees hi rahungi, wohnahin ho sakti. One of my Bappi Lahiri compositions Thoda resham lagta hai was re-mixed by an American group. Quite frankly I didn’t  remember this number at all. When I heard it in the number by Truth Hurts I asked my family where it was from. It was they who told me that I had sung it in a film called Jyoti. I had no idea who ‘Truth Hurts’ was. Since  Jyoti   stars Hema Malini , who’s one of my favourite actresses, I made it a  point to watch Jyoti when it came on  television. But I didn’t pay much attention  to the song Thoda resham lagta hai   when it came on. I didn’t mind it being used in the American song because   Truth Hurts hasn’t tampered with  my voice or the composition in  any way. It’s far more preferable to the re-mixes in our country.”

 Shekhar Ravjiani:  “Remixes can be seen as a homage to a great composition. This may be possible if it is done more on the lines of a cover version. But to say a remix will extend the shelf-life  of ,sayLag jaa gale se is balderdash.At the same time doing a remix is not easy.There is substantial pressure on the musician to make sure it comes out right. There’s the anxiety if how people would accept the new treatment of a classic song. There’s that constant self-questioning, ‘Are we doing justice to a classic?’ Just like well-preserved remixes are received well, badly presented ones will have to bite the dust.”

Shaan : “If done keeping the contemporary sounds and musicality in  mind and without losing the emotional quotient of the original song, a remix could increase and renew the shelf life of a classic melody.”

Shankar Mahadevan : “It all depends how one does it without destroying the aesthetics of the original composition. On the plus side, these classics are made accessible to younger generations who have probably never heard these songs. But due credit must be given the original composer.”

Amit Trivedi: “As long as the remix works, it is all fine.”
Adnan Sami: “Imagination is an incredible divine gift that can be used in any creative activity, be it in the realm of positivity, negativity or stupidity.Have I made my point clear?”

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