Toone mujhe bulaaya Sherawaliye, the Mata devotional, sung with gusto by Mohammed Rafi and Narendra Chanchal, from Aasha, the 1980 golden jubilee produced and directed by J. Om Prakash (for GenY, he is Hrithik Roshan’s maternal grandfather) was so popular then that the veteran hit-maker told me how he had seen audiences in a city in Punjab showering coins on stage when it came on, and even dancing in the aisles.

“The theatre staff had a rich haul at the end of each show!” the filmmaker smiled. And obviously, this phenomenon was in no way restricted to one theatre, one city……Or one film!

While watching K. Vishwanath’s Sargam (1979) in its opening week, I too witnessed the frenzied whistles, foot-thumping and the showering of currency at Mumbai’s Gaiety cinema when Dafliwale came on screen—in fact, as soon as its iconic prelude music began!

The same kind of madness was seen for songs like Mehndi lagaake rakhna, reportedly unabated, over the extraordinarily long run of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. And over the years, there have so many such chartbusters and classics, from Shola jo bhadke (Albela in 1951), Pyaar kiya to darna kya (Mughal-E-Azam), Khaike paan Banaraswala (Don) and more.

A still from movies'Dum Laga Ke Haisha' , 'Chennai Express' and 'Singham Returns'
A still from movies’Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ , ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘Singham Returns’

And now, after decades, we hear of coins being pelted at the screen, in small towns up North, during the end-credits song, Dard karaara, in Dum Laga Ke Haisha.

Songs, as I have said earlier (The Hidden Superstar Of Hindi Cinema: Good Music) remain an integral part of our cinema, and today we also mention their ‘economic’ advantages: great songs get a film a great opening, create repeat-watch value and ensure sales of albums (then) and downloads now.

Music even brought people back to the big screen after Home Video had stolen away audiences in the 1980s (like Papa Kehte Hain from Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Ek do teen char from Tezaab and others).

And our stars love them too, for they are perfect to connect directly with their fans on live shows!

And today, when the business of most films is concentrated on the first weekend, such spectacular songs are often the key to additional revenue. Like Lungi dance, inserted during the end-credits of Chennai Express when the music score was released to a tepid response. At a time when most audiences start exiting the hall, this song held them back, especially the children who took to this track like fishes to water. And what’s more, loyal fans were back for more of the film just to enjoy this infectious track. Yes, special songs still create repeat value!

The end-credit number today, should thus be something far better than just a medley (MashUp being the technical name) of songs from a film’s soundtrack. Aata maazhi satakli (Singham Returns) can be the perfect example of how songs should not be used in the end—the visuals too must be lovable and alluring in an era wherein songs are said to be watched more than heard.

– Rajiv Vijayakar, a Senior Journalist, Film & Music Critic and Historian for Hindi cinema and Film Music is also an Author and Twice Jury Member at 58th and 62nd National Film Awards.

Rajiv Vijayakar tweets @rajivvijayakar

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