Sorry folks, the uproar over the reworked ‘Humma Humma’ in ‘OK Jaanu’ is misplaced

The mega-hit song from composer AR Rahman’s repertoire should not be clubbed with other mindless remixes.

The verdict on the remix The Humma Song that features in the January 13 release Ok Jaanu, the remake of Mani Ratnam’s OK Kanmani, was swift. Two days after the song was released, Remo Fernandes, who had sung the original chartbuster Humma Humma in the dubbed Hindi version of Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Bombay (2005), voiced his displeasure in an interview: “It is but a pale, insipid version of the original. Vocally, instrumentally and arrangements-wise, it seems to be a hurried, uninspired job.”

Old fans of the original tune agreed, new listeners clicked away, and at last count, the song had reached 20 million views on YouTube. While The Humma Song is certainly not a patch on the original, the recreated version is neither a remix nor a cover. But is anyone listening?

The new track by Badshah and Tanishk Bagchi introduces a rap segment and breezy vocals by Jubin Nautiyal and Shashaa Tirupati. Badshah raps, “Jo galti karne waala hoon, main uske liye pehle se hi maangta hoon maafi” (I am seeking mercy for the mistake I am about to commit). It sounds as though he is conscience-stricken as the on-screen character lip-syncing his words.

‘The Humma Song’.

The Tamil original Humma Humma , sung by Rahman, Suresh Peters and Swarnalatha, was an all-out dance number, juxtaposed with the goings-on of a newly married couple (Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala). The revamped version does not try to better the original and only wants to introduce the tune in a slow, sensuous groove befitting the situation in Ok Jaanu. Live-in partners Aditya (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) are shown marking their territories in a shared bedroom. Ratnam’s OK Kanmani (2015) featured a similar song sequence through the AR Rahman composition Parandhu Sella Vaa.

The real question to ask is: why did the filmmakers not dub Parandhu Sella Vaa in Hindi? The Humma Song borrows equally from Parandhu Sella Vaa as it tries to combine two entirely different elements: the playful mood of the narrative song sequence from OK Kanmani to the funky beats of Rahman’s Humma Humma hit from Bombay.

Are the two parts blending seamlessly? It’s not that they aren’t. It’s just that our collective conscience as music connoisseurs is pricking our ears at the thought, how could they meddle with a classic like Humma Humma?

‘Parandhu Sella Vaa’.

The director of Ok Jaanu, Shaad Ali, appears to be attempting an act of homage to Ratnam, the film’s co-producer. Ali has worked as an assistant director on Ratnam’s Dil Se (1998) and as an executive producer in Raavan (2010). Ali remade Ratnam’s Tamil film Alaipayuthey (2000) in Hindi as Saathiya (2002).

The outrage over Ali’s attempt does raise the question: should a classic number be touched at all? Many make that error, remixing and rewording great old numbers in promotional videos and oddly placed sequences where they have no business existing.

In the upcoming Kaabil (2017), the heavily synthesized remix Haseeno Ka Deewana sticks out sorely as a standalone music video for the film’s promotion. The original tune is from Yaarana (1981). Rajesh Roshan is the composer of the original as well as the remix.

There is no formula of what works and what doesn’t. The recent appearance of Sunny Leone in the recreated version Laila Main Laila (Raees, 2017) is a fine example of taking the popular number Laila O Laila (Qurbani, 1980) and repackaging it with great sounds. Composer Ram Sampath replaces the drums and string instruments from the original’s overture and replaces it with trumpet and claps, leaping off from the stage setting of the original into the raucous crowd shown in the remixed version. He hasn’t changed the tune or altered the rhythm. He amplifies the chorus and makes the score grander. The music video suggests that the song is integrated in the film’s narrative.

‘Laila Main Laila’ from ‘Raees’.

In 2016, there were plenty of misfires concerning the recreation of old melodies. Ilayaraaja’s beautiful Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Sadma, 1983), sung wistfully by Indian classical vocalist Suresh Wadkar, was orchestrated with electronic beats and rendered in the soporific voice of Alia Bhatt in Dear Zindagi. Composer Amit Trivedi went with two versions of the classic, one in Arijit Singh’s dependable voice. Singer Suryaveer Hooja had also attempted a version Aye Zindagi in Prague (2013).

The music label T-Series, which holds the copyright for several old tunes, recreated not one but three popular tracks, Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Blackmail, 1973), Aise Na Mujhe Tum Dekho (Darling Darling, 1977) and Mahi Ve (Kaante, 2002) in the film Wajah Tum Ho (2016). Singer Arijit Singh was quite vocal about the auto-tuning of his voice in the recreated track Dil Ke Paas.

Kala Chashma (Baar Baar Dekho), originally a non-film bhangra pop tune, worked twice as much despite the film’s poor reception. Another ’90s pop hit, Nachange Sari Raat by Stereo Nation, was revamped in the film Junooniyat (2016). The composers Meet Bros Anjjan took the hook line and Kumaar provided additional lyrics. The original still fares better.

Bombay Rockers’ Rock The Party was remastered in Rocky Handsome, keeping the original voices intact, which makes the song work.

Unlike some of these songs, which were not part of the film’s plot, DJ Chetas recreated Oye Oye, originally from Tridev (1989), in Azhar. The revamped version was inspired by true events from the life of cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, but the song did not have the desired effect.

Like the title track of Dhoom (2004), which always makes a return for the better in its sequels, Jagjit Singh’s pathos-laden ghazal Koi Fariyaad (Tum Bin, 2001) returned as Teri Fariyaad with additional vocals by Rekha Bhardwaj in the sequel Tum Bin II. Composer Ankit Tiwari did a credible job with the original tune by Nikhil-Vinay.

The trend of tinkering with sacred melodies is unlikely to fade away in 2017. Commando 2 is reportedly recreating Hare Krishna Hare Ram from the 2007 film Bhool Bhulaiyaa. Do the math. A ten-year-old popular song is a classic worth revisiting for the next generation.

‘Hare Krishna Hare Ram’ from ‘Bhool Bhulaiya’.
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How technology is changing the way Indians work

An extensive survey reveals the forces that are shaping our new workforce 

Shreya Srivastav, 28, a sales professional, logs in from a cafe. After catching up on email, she connects with her colleagues to discuss, exchange notes and crunch numbers coming in from across India and the world. Shreya who works out of the café most of the time, is employed with an MNC and is a ‘remote worker’. At her company headquarters, there are many who defy the stereotype of a big company workforce - the marketing professional who by necessity is a ‘meeting-hopper’ on the office campus or those who have no fixed desks and are often found hobnobbing with their colleagues in the corridors for work. There are also the typical deskbound knowledge workers.

These represent a new breed of professionals in India. Gone are the days when an employee was bound to a desk and the timings of the workplace – the new set of professionals thrive on flexibility which leads to better creativity and productivity as well as work-life balance. There is one common thread to all of them – technology, tailored to their work styles, which delivers on speed and ease of interactions. Several influential industry studies and economists have predicted that digital technologies have been as impactful as the Industrial Revolution in shaping the way people work. India is at the forefront of this change because of the lack of legacy barriers, a fast-growing economy and young workers. Five factors are enabling the birth of this new workforce:

Smart is the way forward

According to the Future Workforce Study conducted by Dell, three in five working Indians surveyed said that they were likely to quit their job if their work technology did not meet their standards. Everyone knows the frustration caused by slow or broken technology – in fact 41% of the working Indians surveyed identified this as the biggest waste of time at work. A ‘Smart workplace’ translates into fast, efficient and anytime-anywhere access to data, applications and other resources. Technology adoption is thus a major factor in an employee’s choice of place of work.

Openness to new technologies

While young professionals want their companies to get the basics right, they are also open to new technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. The Dell study clearly reflects this trend — 93% of Indians surveyed are willing to use Augmented/Virtual Reality at work and 90% say Artificial Intelligence would make their jobs easier. The use of these technologies is no longer just a novelty project at firms. For example, ThysenKrupp, the elevator manufacturer uses VR to help its maintenance technician visualize an elevator repair job before he reaches the site. In India, startups such as vPhrase and Fluid AI are evolving AI solutions in the field of data processing and predictive analysis.

Desire for flexibility 

A majority of Indians surveyed rate freedom to bring their own devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones etc.) to work very highly. This should not be surprising, personal devices are usually highly customized to an individual’s requirements and help increase their productivity. For example, some may prefer a high-performance system while others may prioritize portability over anything else. Half the working Indians surveyed also feel that the flexibility of work location enhances productivity and enables better work-life balance. Work-life balance is fast emerging as one of the top drivers of workplace happiness for employees and initiatives aimed at it are finding their way to the priority list of business leaders.

Maintaining close collaboration 

While flexible working is here to stay, there is great value in collaborating in person in the office. When people work face to face, they can pick up verbal and body language cues, respond to each other better and build connections. Thus, companies are trying to implement technology that boosts seamless collaboration, even when teams are working remotely. Work place collaboration tools like Slack and Trello help employees keep in touch and manage projects from different locations. The usage of Skype has also become common. Companies like Dell are also working on hi-tech tools such as devices which boost connectivity in the most remote locations and responsive videos screens which make people across geographies feel like they are interacting face to face.

Rise of Data Security 

All these trends involve a massive amount of data being stored and exchanged online. With this comes the inevitable anxiety around data security. Apart from more data being online, security threats have also evolved to become sophisticated cyber-attacks which traditional security systems cannot handle. The Dell study shows that about 74% of those surveyed ranked data security measures as their number one priority. This level of concern about data security has made the new Indian workforce very willing to consider new solutions such as biometric authentication and advanced encryption in work systems.

Technology is at the core of change, whether in the context of an enterprise as a whole, the workforce or the individual employee. Dell, in their study of working professionals, identified five distinct personas — the Remote Workers, the On-The-Go Workers, the Desk-centric Workers, the Corridor Warriors and the Specialized Workers.

Dell has developed a range of laptops in the Dell Latitude series to suit each of these personas and match their requirements in terms of ease, speed and power. To know more about the ‘types of professionals’ and how the Dell Latitude laptops serve each, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Dell and not by the Scroll editorial team.