A lot of debate took place around Shahid Kapoor-Kiara Advani starrer Kabir Singh, when it opened in theatres on June 21. One month down the line, the Sandeep Reddy Vanga directorial has not only surpassed every Bollywood film in 2019 in terms of popularity, it has also become the highest grosser of the year with Rs 271.24 crore in its kitty.
Shahid's alleged flawed character in Kabir Singh aside, one of the major forces that propelled the film to unimaginable box office success was its music album, which comprised of a total of seven original, situational songs, apart from two cover versions of Bekhayali and Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage. The number of times that the music album of Kabir Singh has been streamed online on various platforms, lends perspective to its popularity amongst the youth.
In the list of top grossing Bollywood films of 2019 are Kabir Singh, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Bharat, Kesari and Total Dhamaal. While Uri had only mood music and situational sound tracks to drive the narrative and pace forward, it largely stayed away from popular Bollywood music owing to its subject and treatment.
Between Bharat and Kesari, their individual box-office success was also boosted by their song and dance numbers. Bharat had a couple of chartbusters in Slow Motion, featuring Disha Patani and Chashni, featuring Katrina Kaif. Other songs from the Salman Khan-starrer, namely Aithey Aa, Turpeya and Zinda, were also streamed a substantial number of times, adding to the film's pre and post release buzz.
Kesari, on the other hand, a period war drama film, could not steer clear of popular film music. In fact, Teri Mitti and Ve Maahi have registered 100 and 200 million views on YouTube respectively, as reported by Dharma Productions on Twitter. However, Kesari released on March 21 and has had substantial time in its hands, as compared to Kabir Singh, to reach the music milestone on YouTube.
Total Dhamaal had a couple of remixes in Paisa Yeh Paisa and Mungda, while the only original was Speaker Phat Jaaye, which has collected over 35 million views on Saregama's official YouTube handle. Total Dhamaal had nothing much to do with songs, while only Mungda, featuring Sonakshi Sinha plays in the film and not in the opening or closing credit sequences.
Coming back to Kabir Singh, songs such as Bekhayali, Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage, Tera Ban Jaunga, Mere Sohneya, Yeh Aaina, Kaise Hua and Pehla Pyaar have been streamed on T-Series' YouTube channel for a breathtaking 111 million, 96 million, 88 million, 30.3 million, 16.1 million, 34 million, 14 million times respectively, for lyrical, full song, music video and various other versions of the track. On Saavan music app, Kabir Singh music has received close to 175 million hits additionally.
On Saavan, Bharat's music album has over 51 million plays, while Uri: The Surgical Strike and Total Dhamaal have 27.5 million and 41.8 million plays respectively. Kesari has been in contention with Kabir Singh on Saavan, with over 150 million views and counting. Ek Onkaar, Sanu Kehndi, Ajj Singh Garjega and Deh Shiva from Kesari have been massively popular on Saavan and YouTube as well, making it one of the top musical albums of 2019.
Special mention goes to Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy, which has scored over 157 million plays on Saavan and counting. However, Gully Boy released in February and was basically a musical.
In all, figures online state the reason for Kabir Singh's box office performance. The music of Kabir Singh is soulful and in-trend, which also harks back to the love for music in popular Bollywood films. Illegal piracy on web and figures from various other music apps and services will peg Kabir Singh's popularity at a more substantial place. However, it also affirms the power of music in making a film successful in India.
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