Has Bollywood music industry run out of ideas? For the longest time, it feels as though a significant percentage of songs released are remakes of iconic tracks from 10-20 years ago.
Muqabla, Dus Bahane 2.0 and Mere Angne Mein are just a few recent examples that show originality is becoming a rapidly declining resource in the Hindi music industry. And now, the recreation of AR Rahman's iconic song Masakali is like the final assault on the lovers of original creations.
Rahman's Masakali was an unabashed love-letter to old Delhi that depicted, both in the grandiose shots of the city and in the more intimate, its tiny gated streets, houses with old-style courtyards, and most importantly its vibrant crowd.
Several people's hard work went into making that song what it is today. While Prasoon Joshi's lyrics exhibited liveliness, soft romance, and hope with a dash of nostalgia, Rahman's distorted rhythms and feel-good music enhanced every moment and allowed you to not only see, but also feel the emotions.
Together, the music and lyrics in Masakali, encapsulated the film that was Delhi 6. Not to mention, Mohit Chauhan's breezy vocals and Sonam Kapoor's scene-stealing thumkas, choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant, perfectly captured the spirit of the song. On the other hand, Tanishk Bagchi's Masakali 2.0, featuring Sidharth Malhotra and Tara Sutaria, is only cringe-worthy and fails to live up to the original in many ways, with netizens calling it "an utter disgrace" to Rahman's composition.
Rahman also appears to be upset with the recreation, and rightfully so, as the Oscar-winning music composer tweeted the link of the original Masakali song late Wednesday night, alongside a note that read, “No short cuts, properly commissioned, sleepless nights, writes and re-writes. Over 200 musicians, 365 days of creative brainstorming with the aim to produce music that can last generations. A team of a Director, a Composer and a Lyricist supported by actors, dance directors and a relentless film crew.”
— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) April 8, 2020
The music maestro also seemingly vented out his frustration at the remix by posting a cryptic picture on his Instagram, which said, "The strongest man is he who is able to control his anger."
Earlier, during an interview with The Quint, Rahman had spoken out about the trend of remixes, saying that it has now been "over done" and has become "annoying."
"One of my songs ‘Ishwar Allah’ is one of my favourites, and Javed Akhtar wrote it. They took that song and they really killed it. I didn’t do anything because I was like, what’s going on? They really killed it because whatever is added to that maybe beautiful, but not with this. I know because it’s – it’s memories, it’s respect. It’s something which happened at that time. It’s destiny. You can’t change that. And I hate to use the word, bastardised it," Rahman had said.
Critically-acclaimed music composer Amit Trivedi has also been a vocal critic of the ever-rising trend of remixes. In an interview to Ians, Trivedi had said that he hoped this trend would end soon.
“I hate the remakes of old songs. We are into the business of original music, then what is this remake? Remaking is rehashing the old songs. If a particular singer is following this trend, then I think he is not man enough. As a musician, you should be creative and by remaking the old songs, you are just playing safe. This is not creativity,” he had said.
Singer Shaan had, too, expressed his displeasure over recreations of the old classics. "Music companies can’t be so obsessed with recreations especially when people are not liking them. Why are they still doing it? You put two lines in the song and call it yours, it doesn’t make any sense," he told the Indian Express.
Even though music veterans, experts and lovers have already known this for years, one cannot deny the fact that today this phenomenon is more noticeable than ever. Having said that, recreating or remixing classic songs is not a crime, but a better way to pay homage to them than ripping them off like this definitely involves a deeper understanding of what made these timeless classics what they are.