Special Feature: 16 best recent Bollywood remakes of Punjabi songs

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In the world of Bollywood music, remakes has been the trend for a few years now. Reviving super-hit songs with a funky new sound wouldn’t have become a popular trend if it wasn’t for Punjabi music that has played a super major role. While we take a break from new music with the world in lockdown, we look back at some of the best Punjabi remakes that came out of Bollywood in the last two years.

By far the biggest Punjabi remake is when Tanishk Bagchi takes on Panjabi MC with the wedding party track Morni Banke in the movie ‘Badhaai Ho’ (2018). The original Punjabi version is still a must play at weddings and Punjabi parties but this one has a whole new musicality and class to. He has taken the urban out of Panjabi MC’s version and made this a lot more traditional Punjabi that makes it sound a lot more authentic than the original. The Punjabi effect goes to the next level with his choice of singers Guru Randhawa and Neha Kakkar who deliver to what is expected of them with lot of vocal styling and effects. There is energy, attitude and performance element to the song overall that helps deliver a well-executed music video too. Lyrics by MellowD are quite amazing and as good as one would here in a traditional Punjabi song rather than a Bollywood redo. Overall this song was an easy winner and one of the best remakes in any category of music.

Another big winner was when Navraj Hans and Harshdeep Kaur delivered a fresh new take of Malkit Singh’s Gur Naal Ishq Mitha with some good production elements to it in the movie ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’ (2019). Rochak Kohli delivers a totally different take on the musicality of this song going back to core Punjabi music compared to the original which really topped the charts then with a western beat throughout. The stark contract in treatment actually worked very well putting this song strongly in a wedding sequence making it instantly relatable and super enjoyable. The lyrics are entertaining and capture a whole plethora of tease, romance, and showering blessings to make this a song for the full family to come together on. Kaur’s warm vocals are the best part of the song while Hans has such a unique style that the song genuinely works as a pure traditional Punjabi wedding song.

Going beyond the dance genre, Meet Bros geo together with Kumaar in ‘Marjaavaan’ (2019) to recreate Kinna Sona originally made famous by the legendry Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The music retains the original melody on the chorus with its Punjabi touch that has been executed well with some Dholki & Harmonium but reinforced with guitars and electronic drum beats to make it relevant in 2019 which really worked. For a soulful romantic number the composition is also upbeat giving a very positive and happy aura to the song. The new lyrics by Kumaar are just brilliant making this a completely unique song using just the hook line of the original. To top it further the choice of singers with Nautiyal and Dhvani Bhanushali is perfect for this song. Nautiyal sounds truly lovable while Bhanushali has that innocence & shyness about it that works really well with the lyrics. A great remake to say the least!

Another great soft romantic Punjabi remake is Photo from ‘Luka Chuppi’ (2019). Karan Sehmbi’s original 2016 song comes together with the lyrics of Nirmaan and musical vibes of Bagchi on this one which has a lot more Hindi than Punjabi in this remake. The strong rural Punjabi vocal touch mixes well with a modern delivery style with some quality vocal texture that is soothing to the ears. The urban vibes are very clean with a deep beat and gentle flute solos on the bridge. The lyrics are quite well written with simple emotions captured well without much complication of words making it an easy one to sing along to making this a great romantic number to groove to on a sunny romantic drive.

The movie ‘Jawaani Jaaneman’ (2020) gave us Gallan Kardi that took Jazzy B & Apache Indian’s 2005 Dil Lutiya and gave it a full makeover mashing up the UK bhangra, Asian urban and Bollywood styles to create a great party number in tune with the current music trend. Bringing Jazzy B back to deliver his unique vocal is the real strength of this remake. A great addition to the song and adding the UK touch is Mumzy Stranger with a consistent and well written rap that goes all through rather than the typical one rap stanza. Kudos to Prem-Hardeep for the music and arranging this remake. The mix of all elements is quite nicely balanced and has a good amount of compositional variety while the music is simple and repetitive for it to be effective on the dancefloor.

Honey Singh marked his big return to delivering hits with superhit dance songs Dil Chori in ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ (2018). Taking Hans Raj Hans’s original and giving it a Bollywood touch came quite naturally and made this an easy hit. Vocals by Simar Kaur, Ishers and Honey Singh’s rap are all excellently delivered to a proper modern Punjabi beat that makes this a fabulous remake and an easy feather on Honey Singh’s hat of hit songs.

Rishi Rich collaborated with Badshah to bring back his 2006 UK hit with Master Rakesh – Bhare Bazaar in the movie ‘Namaste England’ (2018). Musically the song slowed down a bit but with a sexy bassline added to it to make it more Bollywood fitting that totally worked! With the Punjabi dhols removed to make way for a more urban electronic beat made the music perfect to make this remake a dancefloor burner. The interesting bit of the song is the vocal takeover by Vishal Dadlani replacing Master Rakesh and he delivered it super well. His energy is electrifying and is matched well by Payal Dev and Badshah of course.

Recent hit ‘Good Newwz’ (2019) gave us two big Punjabi remakes. Sauda Khara Khara is a remake of the original Bhangra king of India – Sukhbir’s 1999 hit where Kumaar put in a good amount of new lyrics to create brand new stanzas while only using the chorus of Sukhbir’s 1999 hit. The vibrant lyrics made it a fit song for the wedding music scene. The music by Lijo George – DJ Chetas has a strong Punjabi tinge to it while Sukhbir added in the hooks and fast dhol beats from his original. There is a good amount of musical variation in the song that keeps the listener constantly engaged. The interesting twist in this remake is that instead of Sukhbir, Dosanjh leads the vocal here with Dhvani Bhanushali while Sukhbir sticks to the chorus. All in all a decent good party number and it was good to see Sukhbir back in style with this remake.

Remake of the 2004 Bhangra banger Laal Ghaghra was yet another Punjabi dancefloor blazer in this movie. Bagchi brought back Sahara & Manj Musik of RDB to remake this hit one with a slightly stronger Punjabi touch from Bollywood standards. The music was strongly based on dhol beats, clarinets with constant hoye hoye shouts to keep it rather traditional but with the tempo slowed down to make it more palatable for commercial Bollywood listeners. Neha Kakkar was the best new thing added on this remake with her charismatic vocal. The additional lyrics brought in a bit more fun to the song while keeping it easy to sing along to.

Ayushmaan Khurrana in his movie ‘Bala’ (2019) brought in a Punjabi pop revival of a rather recent 2017 hit called Naah Goriye by B Praak and Harrdy Sandhu. The composition in this remake was not too far from the original with a shaper beat and a massive sprinkle of Spanish guitars but it exposed Bollywood to this gem of a new-age Punjabi music. The lyrics by Jaani are near bouts the same on this remake with a brand new female lead delivered by Swasti Jain. She delivered that powerful but crude Punjabi vocal with a touch of folk and a touch of sensuality about it making this a good one that is still an easy hit on the dancefloor.

The latest release Illegal Weapon 2.0 from the movie ‘Street Dancer 3D’ (2020) stands out from the other Punjabi remakes on this album including Sip Sip and Lagdi Lahore Di. A remake of the 2017 original of Garry Sandhu with Jasmine Sandlas Illegal Weapon, Bagchi added a lot more attack to the music of this remake making it a lot more Bollywood worthy and danceable for an urban dance battle movie. The programmed synthetic beats & bass are crisp with strong urban vibes that are a treat to pump through the speakers. The fresh set of part Hindi lyrics by Priya Saraiya make the song work for both Hindi and Punjabi music markets. The music doesn’t stand out by far from the original this a good song for both singers to make a mark in Bollywood.

‘Jabariya Jodi’ (2019) delivered the remake of Khadke Glassy of the original Ashok Mastie and Honey Singh collaboration. The music & additional lyrics by Bagchi are a fair addition to the original vocals & lyrics by Channi Rakhala. Honey Singh’s original composition blends a fair bit of urban beats with Punjabi and Bagchi only extended that further adding some more modern beats and urban sound effects. There are some interesting sounds & programming bits added in and the female vocals by Jyotica Tangri are quite interesting. This was a good revival for long forgotten Ashok Mastie and very good easy-flowing lyrics by Bagchi.

Another big one is the remake of The Wakhra Swag from the movie ‘Judgementall Hai Kya’ (2019) with Bagchi leading this remake of the huge Punjabi number from 2015. He retained a lot of the original lyrics and the original artist Navv Inder leading the vocals while bringing in Lisa Mishra to lead the female vocals who really takes center stage compared to Inder taking over the full song in the original. Her vocals have a strong swag quality being sensuous and strong at the same time. While the original featured rap by Badshah, he was well replaced by Raja Kumari delivering the female rap in this remake. The music does not go far from the original keeping the same tempo and hook pieces with the tumbi leading the melody of the song but Bagchi added a strong deep bass line to the track mixing it well with some dhol beats in the chorus giving it a little more contemporary feel.

In the typical Bagchi style another remake Pyaar Tenu Karda Gabru featured in ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan’ (2020) and is a remake of Honey Singh and J-Star’s 2011 Punjabi hit – Gabru. Vayu flipped the lyrics around to make this a song with subtle gay tonalities and to be a lash out against the society stereotypes about homosexuality making this a themed remake. The lyrical execution is very interesting as the song mixes Punjabi and Hindi switching the direction of the song from a female to a male target. Romy delivered the vocal with a swag delivering the Punjabi in an authentic style while Bagchi simplified the traditional Punjabi music in the original and striped it back to a more Bollywood style urban beat.

Another remake to mention is Hauli Hauli from ‘De De Pyaar De’ (2019) which turned out to be the big club party tune featuring a colab between Garry Sandhu with Neha Kakkar on Bagchi’s music. The authentic & crude folkish vocals balance off well against Kakkar’s sultry and boldly exuberant vocals. The hook music is quite strong and rides on a strong urban beat blended with a rap piece by Mellow D in this remake.

Bagchi also delivered Koka in the movie ‘Khandaani Shafakhana’ (2019) bringing back the Jasbir Jassi original given a rap treatment with Badshah here in the remake and Dhvani Bhanushali leading the female vocals. The melody and groove is quite strong in this remake turning this Punjabi song into completely a Hindi number with a decent dance vibe to move to.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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