Mumbai: As years go by, the feel, approach and style of music gets more snazzy and trendy, but the charm of old Hindi songs always holds sway. 2010 was no different and saw many composers revisiting old Bollywood songs like "Apni to jaise taise" and "Disco dancer" to woo music buffs.
"Housefull", "Golmaal 3", "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai" and "We Are Family" repackaged hit retro tracks that turned out to be hugely popular with the masses.
"Old songs are repeated nowadays because they are still very popular with people. In many cases, they are more interesting and catchy than the current tracks; so they hold a lot of value," Singer Sunidhi Chauhan told reporters.
While in "Housefull" composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and singers Sunidhi and Mika Singh recreated the magic of Amitabh Bachchan`s popular song "Apni to jaise taise" from "Lawaaris" (1981), in "Golmaal 3" two songs - "Disco dancer" and "Yaad aa raha hai" - from Mithun Chakraborty`s 1982 film "Disco Dancer" were used by Pritam Chakroborty.
"Popular songs have a life of their own and will find a way to stay in people`s mind one way or the other. I`m fortunate I got to sing Kishoreda`s song! For me, it was my personal tribute to him," said Mika.
In "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai", Pritam went a step forward and mixed two old songs to create a single electrifying track for today`s audiences.
"Parda", which was an amalgamation of R.D Burman`s greatest hits - "Monica oh my darling" and "Duniya mein" - held the new generation`s flavour with new voices of Sunidhi and Rana Mazumder.
While the basic essence of the songs was kept intact, Pritam brought in a new flavour by doing his own bit and creating a new cabaret from old songs.
The composers did not confine themselves to Indian numbers alone.
Composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy churned out an Indian version of Elvis Presley`s classic song "Jail House Rock" for "We Are Family". The Hindi lyrics were composed on the tunes of the original and Anushka Manchanda, Akriti Kakkar and Suraj Jagan sung it.
According to Shaan, in today`s times of cut-throat competition, instant acceptability is of prime importance; hence old tracks are often used to grab listeners` attention.
"Any original new song will need three-four hearings for you to register the tune, the lyrics. But a song that is already established doesn`t need too many hearings. You listen to it once and you know what it is all about; so there is instant recall and instant acceptability," he said.
Mika said: "These songs have been super hits in their times and people already love their tunes and lyrics; so when they are presented in a new format, half the battle is won."
However, Bhushan Kumar, head honcho of T-series, begs to differ. For him, the trend is basically an outcome of lack of time and overload of work on music composers.
"Nowadays there are just four or five composers who are making music for most films; so sometimes it happens that they are short on time and they need a great song. In this situation they use an old track, change it according to today`s needs and use it. This is the reason most of the times," Kumar told reporters.
But his two upcoming films "Yamla Pagla Deewana" and "Dum Maro Dum" have retro tracks and Kumar says the songs were incorporated not because of time constraints but because the title demanded so.
The Hindi film industry, which is expected to be a $2.03 billion industry according to a Pricewaterhouse Coopers report, is inseparable from music that contributes as much as 15 percent of an individual film`s earnings.
While different people give diverse reasons, National Award winning music director Amit Trivedi says one should welcome the trend.
"It is great and I like the idea because recycling old melodies is good since those were dying out. A lot of people from the generation are not aware of those beautiful melodies that were being churned out that time. So presenting them in a new way is a good thing because it keeps them alive," he said.
"My only concern is that it should be done nicely and tastefully," he added.
But as far as the selling points of stylised retro songs are concerned, industry experts feel current songs are more in demand as far as downloads, ringtones and other mediums are concerned.
"We have done market surveys which have revealed that even though old tracks are liked by audiences, new tracks that are original have more business potential. They have more selling value," said Kumar.