Chull to Angreji Beat: Bollywood’s love for Punjabi hits explained

  • Prashant Singh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 24, 2016 08:22 IST
Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra in a still from Kapoor & Sons.

For many years, Punjabi folk songs and tunes have been used in Bollywood films in various forms. But in 2011, when the makers of Tanu Weds Manu picturised Sadi Gali, a well-known Punjabi song, on Kangana Ranaut, this first-of-its-kind experiment was a success. In 2012, Yo Yo Honey Singh and Gippy Grewal’s Punjabi number featuring Deepika Padukone, Angreji Beat, became a massive hit. Then, in 2014, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania featured two Punjabi numbers — Samjhawan and Saturday Saturday. Both songs were already big hits in north India.

Read: Kapoor & Sons trailer: Brothers Sidharth, Fawad lock horns over Alia

Listen to Kar Gayi Chull

Now, filmmaker Karan Johar’s latest production, Kapoor & Sons, has the refurbished version of Badshah and Fazilpuria’s Kar Gayi Chull, while Honey Singh’s High Heels has been redone for Ki & Ka. “Audiences have a strong connect with such songs. But you can’t force one just for the heck of it. We have used Kar Gayi Chull in a house-party atmosphere, where people play tracks that are already popular. So, it fits in seamlessly,” says director Shakun Batra.

Listen to Angreji Beat

But what is it that makes listeners click with the songs instantly? “Punjabi music has been the source of Bollywood tunes for the longest time. Since these songs are catchy and melodic, when they are remade in Hindi and given a more commercial production value, they always work, as they reach a wider Hindi film audience,” says music composer Arko Pravo Mukherjee.

Listen to Saturday Saturday

In the recent past, songs like Tung Tung Baje from Singh Is Bliing (2015) and Soch Na Sake from Airlift have been the refurbished versions of hit Punjabi numbers. “When you use a popular track, its connect with people is immediate. So, you don’t have to spend a lot of energy and money on making it popular. Today, when you have to get the audience’s attention, such songs help break the clutter and stand out,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

Watch: Alia, Sidharth groove in Chull from Kapoor & Sons

But, as Shakun admits, “It’s a double-edged sword. You can’t afford to disappoint the fans of those songs. So, you have to work on it and take it up a notch.” Singer Divya Kumar, too, admits that this “trend is growing fast”, and that “eventually, if that’s what the audience and listeners like, then why not?”

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