The popularity of Hindi film songs is no longer limited to India as Hollywood films are also lapping them up
With the world becoming a smaller place, it’s no wonder that the West is now familiar with Bollywood. Often looked upon as musicals, Bollywood films’ love for songs is also well-known.
In fact, The Hundred-Foot Journey, which stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri and Manish Dayal in lead roles and is slated to release on August 8, features three Hindi songs in different sequences from the film. Baahon main teri masti ke gheren from Kaala Pathhar, Sar se sarke sar ki chunariya from Silsila, and Din maheene saal guzartey jayengey from Avataar are the three songs that have been used in this film that is being produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake.
hitlist takes a look at other Bollywood numbers that won Hollywood over and ended up being featured in their films...
Song: Chamma Chamma
Hollywood film: Moulin Rouge (2001)
When Urmila Matondkar did thumkas in the song, Chamma Chamma, from the film, China Gate, one didn’t imagine that the song, a hit in India, would pique Baz Luhrmann’s curiosity.
Urmila Matondkar scorched the big screen in the song, Chamma Chamma, from the film, China Gate. The song was featured in Baz Luhrmann’s film, Moulin Rouge.
The film, that revolved around the love story between a British poet and a terminally-ill cabaret dancer, had a medley that featured songs such as Tera rang balle balle from Soldier, Chamma Chamma from China Gate and Makhna from Bade Miyan Chote Miya. Not surprisingly, the song turned out to be a cracker of a remix.
Song: Jaan Pehchaan Ho
Hollywood film: Ghost World (2001)
Known as one of the first rock ‘n’ roll songs in Bollywood, Jaan Pehchaan Ho, from the film Gumnaam, was used in the Hollywood film Ghost World’s opening credits sequence. The film starred Scarlett Johansson, Thora Birch and Brad Renfro; it was a high school dramedy.
Song: Wada Na Tod
Hollywood film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet essay polar opposites in this cult film. In one of the scenes, Lata Mangeshkar’s voice plays in the background. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this song added another layer to the love story in the film. Interestingly, the song, Mera mann tera pyaasa, from the Hindi film, Guide, was also used in this film.
Song: Chaiyya Chaiyya
Hollywood film: Inside Man (2006)
You know a song’s popularity has soared and reached new heights when it gets featured in a film starring Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Willian Dafoe.
Malaika Arora-Khan made Shah Rukh Khan match steps with her on the roof a train in Chaiyya Chaiyya from Dil Se. This AR Rahman composition was played in the Hollywood film, Inside Man.
Chaiyya Chaiyya, an AR Rahman composition for Dil Se that had Malaika Arora-Khan gyrating on the roof of a train with SRK, was used in the opening credits for this film.
Song: Chalka Chalka
Hollywood film: The Accidental Husband
Chalka Chalka, originally composed by AR Rahman for the film, Saathiya, was used in The Accidental Husband, an American comedy that starred Uma Thurman and Colin Firth. The film also featured other songs by Rahman, including Yaro yarodi, Swasamae and Rang de, from the films Alaipayuthey, Thenali and Thakshak respectively.
Sar se sarke sar ki chunariya from Silsila
Musicians speak out
It is a nice thing, you know. I am in LA right now working on a few projects. I believe this trend is catching on in a big way since a lot of old Hindi songs are also being used in today’s Bollywood films.
It is great that our songs are being featured in Western cinema. It’s a case of old is gold and such is the popularity of these old gems that their recall value is being cashed in on by Hollywood filmmakers.
— Bappi Lahiri, music composer
This is something that makes me very proud. If anything, it reflects the sheer calibre of Indian musicians and singers. Of course, a new Bollywood song, despite becoming an overnight hit overnight in India, will take a little longer to get famous worldwide.
In any case, a song’s popularity depends on a lot of factors. Going by our successful collaborations in the past, I am confident that we will witness more musical collaborations between Hollywood and Bollywood in the near future.
— Shekhar Ravjiani, music composer and singer
It’s a great to see that our songs are getting noticed. Also, our songs are not just being used in films, they are also being featured in American pop music. Kaliyon ka chaman, for instance, is a very well known song in the international arena.
Since we don’t own the royalties for these songs, our music companies should tap into the market. T-Series, for one, promoted a lot of songs in the Middle-East. If the international market is exploited to its full potential, a lot more songs will be adapted and/ used in Hollywood films. Our old songs sound exotic to people in the West, whereas the newer variety will take some time to trickle down to Western audiences.
– Pritam, music composer