It's one thing to pay homage. It's another to feel nostalgic. And, it's quite another thing to take away my precious happy memories. Sure, everything old becomes new again and perhaps the greatest of art deserves to be rediscovered and reintroduced to a new generation. But technology has leapt to a point where we can literally recreate any time from our past by the click of a button.
I am a huge Bollywood buff. I rarely use the word 'Bollywood' out of respect for the evolution the Indian film industry has seen over the last couple of decades. But lately it seems that, week after week, I'm less enthused by the films coming out and more disturbed by the songs being launched or rather redone — basically, an original being unearthed and given a quick contemporary twist.
I can't seem to listen to any song I remember from my childhood without the jhankaar beats and the obligatory quasi hip-hop/rap sequence in the middle.
I can't seem to listen to 'Dil Kya Kare' (from Kaabil), 'Tamma Tamma Loge' (from Badrinath Ki Dulhania), 'Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast' (from Machine) or any song I remember from my childhood without the jhankaar beats and the obligatory quasi hip-hop/rap sequence in the middle. I understand it's a gimmick — update an already classic song so that it guarantees some level of popularity and sing-along-ability.
But what exactly are we introducing to our audience and to this generation by these subpar remakes? If we redo all the great (and some not so great but popular) songs and reduce them to jingles with stars gyrating aimlessly at discotheques — will anything artful or iconic be left?
I ask this because I am slowly being robbed of my childhood memories. A song that once reminded me of high school or a childhood show is turned into a silly and frothy track that only makes me feel old.
Cover songs are awesome if they are reinterpreted by different artists and presented in a unique way. Some of my favorite songs happen to be cover versions of other songs. But the interesting thing here is that often the songs weren't particularly popular when released originally.
We seem to be literally taking the top 5 songs of any given year and remaking them. These unnecessary remakes, for all intents and purposes, are the industry's new 'item songs'.
But now, we seem to be literally taking the top 5 songs of any given year and remaking them. These unnecessary remakes, for all intents and purposes, are the industry's new 'item songs'.
But while I could care less which European model with an Indianized name danced to the latest club song, I do care that my childhood playlist has been hijacked.
Sure, I could simply turn off the radio and TV, and not watch films, but the truth is then I'd be missing out on a lot of great content. Not to mention, that as a pop culture junkie, it's important for me to know what's going on. But, as I see the remake of a song that I danced to outside the science lab with my buddies or jammed to with my musician friends, I find my memories getting tainted and I don't like it.
Recently, at a wedding, I saw my friend's one-year-old daughter, despite her cold and fever, get a momentary boost thanks to 'Humma Humma' — the new version from 'Ok Jaanu'.
Recently, at a wedding, I saw my friend's one-year-old daughter, despite her cold and fever, get a momentary boost thanks to 'Humma Humma' — the new version from Ok Jaanu. I thought about how a new memory was being formed. I might have been cribbing about them playing such drivel instead of the original track, but I slowly found myself dancing alongside my friend and his daughter.
As she bopped along, I realized that at the end of the day, perhaps the song was getting a new lease of life and now her generation and mine could talk about the same song. She might like this updated mix but I know she won't tune out if I were to speak to her about the original. Maybe we'll even go on YouTube and watch the original. Maybe she'll even want to listen to other songs from that era that haven't been remade.
For better or worse, remakes are here to stay and I have to make peace with them. I also need to be at peace with the fact that some of my childhood memories will fade or become a little less special. But if I'm losing some of the special-ness attached to that memory and gaining a new memory with a new generation — it actually might be worth it.