Musical memories

Jagjit Singh’s velvety voice returns in a cover of an old hit, but does it work?

‘Koi Fariyaad’ has now become ‘Teri Fariyaad’, in keeping in with the trend of composing new versions of popular hits.

The cumulus clouds fogging memories of the 2001 sleeper hit Tum Bin begin to clear when Jagjit Singh’s melodious voice filters through like a message descending from the heavens. In the sequel Tum Bin II, Singh’s ghazal Koi Fariyaad from the original release has been re-imagined to establish a connection between the two films.

Music composer Ankit Tiwari has composed two versions of Koi Fariyaad, retitled Teri Fariyaad for the sequel. Tiwari has mixed Jagjit Singh’s voice with Rekha Bhardwaj. Shakeel Azmi has written new lyrics for the tracks, which weave in the misra-e-saani (second line of the couplet) of the original ghazal written by Faaiz Anwar and composed by Nikhil-Vinay. The extended version of Teri Fariyaad is 10 minutes and 35 seconds long. The shorter version lasts three minutes.

‘Teri Fariyaad’.

The track in Tum Bin II is being promoted as a tribute, rather than a regular remix. The new song reintroduces the original singer’s voice and doubles up as a cover version with new musical inputs. This tribute is unlike the trend of recycling old songs with new voices and added beats. Few composers have tried the route Tiwari has taken. His compositions sit well within the context of the sequel by preserving the ghazal’s essence and honouring the original singer, who died on October 10, 2011.

In Queen (2014), the remixed version of Hungama Ho Gaya (Anhonee, 1973), composed by Amit Trivedi, is also not out of place. The original track was written by Verma Malik, composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and sung with pizzazz by Asha Bhosle. In Trivedi’s version, Bhosle’s vocals were retained and the song was shot inside a Parisian discothèque, similar to the setting of the original number in which Rita (Bindu) is shown atop a bar counter jiving to the beats. Queen’s director, Vikas Bahl, shows lead character Rani (Kangana Ranaut) going through the same emotions of drunken ecstasy. The song capitalises on its great reverb effect.


Singer Nitin Mukesh’s only bona fide hit, So Gaya Yeh Jahan from Tezaab (1988), was remixed in Nautanki Saala! (2012). The original composers were Laxmikant-Pyarelal, with lyrics by Javed Akhtar. Composer Mikey McCleary increased the tempo and added the surf guitar to his version of the soulful road song featuring Mukesh’s vocals. Both versions depict characters driving through Mumbai’s deserted streets.

‘So Gaya Yeh Jahan’.

Nazia Hassan’s vocals were blended with the voices of Benny Dayal and Sunidhi Chauhan in the dance number The Disco Song (Student of the Year, 2012). The song samples Hassan’s title track from her 1981 pop album Disco Deewane. Composers Vishal-Shekhar add funky beats with additional lyrics by Anvita Dutt-Guptan. The revamped version became a favourite dance number.

The idea is to give the original a contemporary spin, but the effort isn’t always successful. Cover versions of classics such as Khoya Khoya Chand in Shaitan (2011), Yeh Mera Dil in Don (2006) and the title tracks of Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) and Dum Maaro Dum (2011) sound gimmicky and hold little recall value because they stray from the original compositions.

‘The Disco Song’.

The exquisite thumri Aaja Savariya, sung by Hari Devi Mishra in raag bhairav in Gaman (1978), was rediscovered and introduced to a new legion of music lovers through the soundtrack of Monsoon Wedding (2001). Jaidev composed the original track. The Indian fusion group MIDIval Punditz remixed the track with modern musical instruments, including the synthesizer. The seamless blend of the singer’s divine vocals with electronica music gives Aaja Savariya its much-deserved due.

‘Fabric/Aaja Savariya’.
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