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Lata Mangeshkar appeals to music companies on remixes: ‘To twist a song out of shape is just wrong’

The industry is forgetting the special place given to Hindi film music in culture, the respected singer said.

One of India’s most respected singers has taken to Twitter to voice her anguish over the remixing of Hindi film music. In a note on her Twitter account, Lata Mangeshkar shared her views on the trend of remixing that has gripped the Hindi film industry, and appealed to recording companies to think twice before issuing new versions of classic songs with altered lyrics and arrangements.

There’s nothing objectionable in principle about remixes, Mangeshkar wrote, and it is perfectly alright to present a song in a new way if its essence is preserved, “but to twist a song out of shape is just wrong”, she wrote. “I hear that this is what happening these days, and the credit for the song is being given to somebody else... To ruin the core of the tune, to arbitrarily change the lyrics and to add cheap thoughts to them – this kind of nonsensical behaviour causes me immense distress.”

The new generation of listeners will benefit from presenting a song in its original form, added Mangeshkar, whose career spans eight decades. Numerous songs sung by Mangeshkar have been remixed in recent years, such as Ni Main Yaar Manana Ni from Daag (1973). At the time, Mangeshkar had criticised the tendency to remix songs, saying, “It’s like rooms being added or removed from the Taj Mahal.”

The latest note emerged after a conversation with lyricist Javed Akhtar. Mangeshkar drew attention to the hard work put in by scores of composers, singers, lyricists, technicians and directors in creating and presenting Hindi film music. “Every song was created with great love,” she wrote. “There were heartfelt efforts to make a song beautiful and meaningful... Our musical heritage should not be played with, and music should be respected as an important symbol of our society and culture.” It was up to the recording companies to “maintain the purity of Hindi film music and deal with the problems caused by remixes”, but “they have sadly forgotten this” in their pursuit of monetary gain, she added.

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