The words ‘Bollywood’ and ‘Punjabi’ are hardly unrelated. After biopics, Punjabi songs seem to be the new obsession that Bollywood has chosen to cling to. I’ve lost the count of Punjabi songs that have been remade for Bollywood films in 2019 itself. Right from Luka Chuppi to Jabariya Jodi, no film is complete without having a popular song remake. Where does this obsession stem from, especially when a large proportion of the audience doesn’t even completely understand the language?
After biopics, Punjabi songs seem to be the new obsession that Bollywood has chosen to cling to.
‘Punjabification’ of Bollywood?
This influx of Punjabi songs in mainstream cinema isn’t a recent phenomenon, though. Since as long as I can remember, the setting and characters in most movies have been North Indian. Unless the story requires the characters to be non-Punjabi (like 2 States, Chennai Express or Super 30), each and every plot is based on Delhi, Chandigarh or some town in Punjab. Also, most filmmakers do make one of their characters into a chirpy, bubbly and exuberant one. And all of this is attributed to the character being ‘Punjabi’. Hence, naturally, inclusion of a peppy Punjabi number becomes inevitable.
Unless the story requires the characters to be non-Punjabi, each and every plot is based on Delhi, Chandigarh or some town in Punjab. Naturally, inclusion of a peppy Punjabi number becomes inevitable.
A lot of it started in 2012 with Cocktail, when Pritam remixed Main Sharabi and Angreji Beat, by Yo Yo Honey Singh and Jugni by Arif Lohar. The trend picked up with Bollywood hits like Soch Na Sake, Kala Chashma, High Heels, Saturday Saturday, Main Tera Boyfriend and the list goes endless from there. The singers and composers noticed the trend and it almost became mandatory for every film to have a remake of a popular Punjabi number.
Non-Punjabi Characters Singing Punjabi Songs?
As an audience, we do tend to believe a lot of weird things that Bollywood serves us with. And as long as we were getting peppy dance numbers, it was great. However, when non-Punjabi characters, started lip syncing to Punjabi songs, things went a bit overboard, didn’t they?
Here are some of the massively popular movies that did this.
1. Student of the Year 2
As soon as the movie began, we were made quite sure that the plot is based in Mussoorie and nowhere near the Punjabi-speaking belt. Yet, whenever the characters are celebrating love, heartbreak or even weddings, they start singing in Punjabi. Strange, much? Be it Fakira or Mumbai Dilli Di Kudiyaan, the songs use some definitive Punjabi lyrics which surely aren’t in use in Mussoorie. Though there were other problems with the film too, this one for sure could have been avoided.
2. Luka Chuppi
So the film is set in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh and the characters have even pulled off the accent to an extent. The sets, the dialect, the clothes are all believable and in accordance to the setting of the movie. However, as soon as the first song starts i.e, Photo, we know what’s going to happen. Then the other songs follow, Duniyaa and Tu Laung Main Elaichi, and these two too are in Punjabi. How unnatural is it for two people to be talking in one language and singing in a completely different one. And we all thought only Meenamma from Chennai Express made this mistake.
3. Jabariya Jodi
Though the film hasn’t released yet, it is quite evident that it is set in Bihar. Siddharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra have also been receiving praise for carrying off the Bihari dialect fairly decently. And then, the inevitable happened. The first song from the album was dropped recently and it turned out to be another remake of a Punjabi song. Moreover, the song isn’t one with bare minimum Punjabi lyrics, but has some significantly authentic lyrics. How are we, as an audience, supposed to buy something as eccentric as this.
Well here, not were Ranveer and Sara just said to be from Maharashtra, but were also extremely fluent in Marathi. It was completely believable for the setting to be in Maharashtra. But then Tere Bin happened and they started singing in Punjabi. This is where the problem comes in. The movie began with Simmba’s introduction which had parts in Marathi, and then a song comes in Punjabi. Guess I’m not the only one who found it weird.
These are just a few of the songs which have had this strange problem. While remixing a popular Punjabi number for marketing is more of a norm now, it just doesn’t justify the sudden change in characters’ accents. There is a dire need to move away from this obsession now and inculcate other regional language songs too, if at all there is a need to do so.