So what happens when Benny Dayal and Sunidhi Chauhan lend their voices to a long forgotten Nazia Hassan number? Yes, Disco is reborn, cast in a new die of high pumping energy and influx of youth. Student of the Year gave us the ‘Disco Song’, an ode to the Disco Deewane, sung by the iconic Pakistani singer years ago. However, the rules of disco have changed in all these years and would be interesting to have a small recapitulation of how the genre has worked its way in India to date.
First came Bappi Lahiri and then came the Disco Revolution in the nation! Yes, it definitely won’t be wrong to say that the man, laced with his jewelleries and gold alike, was the one who brought the culture to India, one that would rest on the foundation of synthesised disco music, though with an Indian touch. So what if Mithun Da rocks in ‘Disco Dancer’ and strums an unplugged electric guitar in ‘Yaad Aa Rha’, the intensity from then on was such that there had to be at least one disco number in almost every Mithun Chakraborthy movie from thereon. So much that the makers went all out and blindly copied Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and turned it into Kasam Paida Karne Waale Ki’s Jeena Bhi Kya Hai Jeena Teri Aankhon ke Bina’, with Bappi and Salma Agha on the vocals!
However, the sublime disco anthems were not restricted to just Mithun numbers, songs like ‘Dil Lena Khel Hai Dildaar ka’ and even ‘Poocho Naa Yaar Kya Hua’ from Zamaane Ko Dikhaana Hai had some minimalist as well as conventional disco themes attached to them, thanks to some melodious music from R.D.Burman. It was at this point of time when Nazia Hassan burst onto the big stage with her Disco Deewane number and her future collaborations with Feroze Khan for Aap Jaisa Koi and the Boom Boom number added the much needed charm to the industry. The sweetheart of Pakistan died at an early age of 35, suffering from lung cancer and a great talent was lost. Bappi Lahiri too wasn’t seen much in the 90’s amidst allegations of music plagiarism but recently returned to the screen, singing for Taxi No.9211 and The Dirty Picture and also as a judge of the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs.
Post the end of this period, the Indian music industry had a lot of churning and different cultures, themes were introduced, alongwith a fresh breed of talent. An era which saw some great musicians and technicians all around. A.R.Rahman, Amit Trivedi, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal-Shekhar and Sneha Khanwalkar some of the most bright illuminating stars in recent times.
However, the disco numbers have found a recent surge and there have been a hint at such collaborations. John Travolta may have walked along free with the Bee Gees hit – ‘Stayin’ Alive’ in his sequel to ‘Saturday Night Fever’ but the return of the disco song has taken some time. One might wonder that we have had an ‘It’s the Time to Disco’ and a ‘Where’s the party tonight?’ but a really Karz like rendition of 1980s has been missing in recent times. There have been references to Mithun’s Kasam Paida Karne Waale Ki in the recent Anurag Kashyap classic Gangs of Wasseypur, but an out and out disco number is what one has been waiting since sometime. Student Of The Year too tried to recreate the magic to an extent.
A point to note here is that it’s been the ‘Mashups’ which have really added onto the craze in the recent times and DJ Kiran Kamath has been a name to reckon with. From producing hit remixes and Mashups like the Valentine, Zero Hour and Dirty Mashup to the recent one in Student of the Year, the music producer and programmer has been a force to reckon with in the industry, especially with the T-Series group, there’s even a Tapori mashup! Moreover, its not just him there are a bunch of musicians who are rolling out these numbers, a medley of the best of the best soundtracks, a sweet, sour delicacy that’s appealing to the youth and instantly touches the right chord with the party going people.
Mashups are the new vogue and Disco is a genre one would love to see back on the big screen, however even as we contemplate what could be the future of the Indian music industry, MTV Unplugged is back with its second season and it was A.R. Rehman who has anchored the ship this time, seems a journey with multiple hues and promises abound! Do try and have a dekko at it too.