United by Songs

Ever since I watched the movie ‘English Vinglish‘, heard the Marathi song ‘Navraj Majhi‘ in it, I have thought about the recent times in Bollywood movies where songs of various languages have found space in the mainstream movies.

One could recollect the songs like ‘Chikni Chameli’ of Agneepath, ‘Womaniya’ and other songs of G.O.W of the recent past which are adaptations of Marathi and Bhojpuri songs. And by adaptations it does not mean lifting. Rights are bought and such endeavours are thankfully not finding the doors of courts.

One might also think it is not a new phenomenon. One of the stalwarts of Bollywood S D Burman was famous for doing so. His Assamese background and knowledge of Bengali songs was put to use in Hindi movies and many of them are evergreen numbers.

The music industry however did see an era where music directors were accused of lifting songs, without acknowledgement. Such directors have existed always be it Bappi da or Preetam da. There is an interesting story of how Bappi Lahiri’s song was lifted by hollywood, but the large-hearted musician did not pursue the matter further.

Music directors like Amit Trivedi, Sneha Khanwalkar are taking music to greater heights. While a A R Rahman can create great music never heard of, these new age music directors are treading a very exciting path, where they are ready to experiment with local songs, giving it a pan Indian appeal and yet keeping the original taste intact.

While one might argue that this phenomenon of adaptations of local songs does more damage to the original song, others might argue that it is at least a way where the song which otherwise would have been heard by few ears, reaches a larger audience. Tampering with the soul of the song however should not happen.

It has been observed that a strange integration has occured in the movies. The successes of the ‘100 crore club’ movies, all adaptations of South Indian movies has connected Bollywood and other ‘-woods’ seamlessly. There is increased acceptance, increased acknowledgement. Such should happen and on the face of it appears to happen with music too. Acceptance of local, ethnic, cultural, other language music should increase acceptability and tolerance.

After all art forms should help connect. Let more of such music happen.

About Sambit Dash 29 Articles

Other than teaching Biochemistry to undergraduate students of medicine i write, i research, i speak, i read…and i am passionate about these activities