Filmmakers have always carried with them a serious pressure and trepidation over the subject of creating song remakes. Especially when the song in concern is a highly renowned and an iconic song. Due to the immense pressure attached to it as well as the obvious criticism that they know they will receive, filmmakers try and divert all their energies into the remakes. They are aware of the scrutiny that they are likely to face at the release of the song. There is a lot of pressure involved, as they have to brace themselves for constant comparisons to the original, in terms of cinematography, beats and vocals; the entire work.
While some filmmakers try and resort to the road of keeping the song as a tribute to the classic melody, a case in point being the Hawaa Hawaii song of Tumhari Sulu which is a rehash of the late Sridevi’s immensely famous item number in Mr India. There was an air of innocence in the video, and Vidya Balan ensured that it was indeed a homage to Sridevi. Sridevi felt honoured beyond words and even met the cast and crew after watching the song.
Of course, there are mixed reactions and an air of distrust around remakes, usually, despite the best efforts of the filmmakers. OK Jaanu’s Humma Humma drew much flak, and there was an angry buzz around Judwaa 2’s Oonchi Hai Building.
Yet, nothing stirred up quite the storm as Jacqueline Fernandez’s Ek Do Teen did, which is a reprised version of Madhuri Dixit’s famous number from Tezaab (1988).
ORIGINAL EK DO TEEN WASN’T AN ITEM NUMBER
The song catapulted Madhuri to fame. Her dance moves were the perfect combination of perky and graceful. Ek Do Teen is primarily responsible for Madhuri earning the epithet ‘the dancing queen of Bollywood’.
Let’s go back to the 1988 song. In Tezaab, there was a reason behind the song. It wasn’t an item number. It established Mohini’s character – a girl who has to make a living with her dance performances, while her alcoholic father lives off her earnings. Not just this, the lyrics served a bigger purpose. Mohini sang the song, counting down the days till she finally gets to see her beloved (Anil Kapoor).
So when the garish remake hit the web, it was bound to set off a firestorm. Here, a toned and rather skimpily clad Jacqueline dances around, while there are men all around her, and she basks in the attention. To say the least, it does seem like a travesty of a classic. Jacqueline insists that it is a tribute to Madhuri. A ‘tribute’ that Madhuri would probably cringe at.
THE RAGING CONTROVERSY
Ever since the rehashed song hit the web, Jacqueline has been on the receiving end of much trolling and hate. Of course, that is not the proper way to deal with the problem either.
Tezaab director N Chandra and choreographer Saroj Khan are appalled at the remake and haven’t held back from expressing their anger. N Chandra actually said, “I can’t believe they’ve done this to Ek Do Teen. It’s crass beyond imagination. And Jacqueline Fernandez doing Madhuri Dixit’s number? Give me a break! It’s like turning Central Park into a botanical garden. Madhuri danced with such grace and innocence. This number is like a sex act,” he said in an interview.
It is a painful thing for any filmmaker to watch her or his art being desecrated in a manner such as this. In addition to that, when a classic is being remade, it’s important to remember why exactly it is called iconic. That word isn’t just there for decoration. There are also sentiments involved.
Back to Ek Do Teen. It was a game changer for Bollywood, and it changed Madhuri’s life as well. In one of her interviews, Madhuri said that she began to be recognised as the Ek Do Teen girl after Tezaab.
Considering the storm over Ek Do Teen, there is cause for apprehension when it comes to iconic remakes, and some filmmakers might want to hold back from doing so. People have expressed their fury on social media sites about the recreated version. The common sentiment is that “they’re done” with rehashes.
But is that the solution? Isn’t there a midway? Even IF an iconic song has to be touched, can’t it be done in a more pleasing and aesthetic manner, without insulting the original creators? Why can’t filmmakers approach these classics with sensitivity and consideration?
If they’re so insistent on making it a “tribute” to the original – then maybe they should make it exactly that- a tribute, not something that makes people curl in horror.