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Indian Music Used Internationally

There are no boundaries to music and globalization has made it so easy for music to transcend borders and pervade the whole world. If the art and talent is good, it will be appreciated all across the globe and Indian artists are infiltrating the big productions in good old Hollywood and taking the world music industry by storm. 


Very recently the internet went into a flurry after Apple launched their new iPhone X advertisement-the background score was altogether way too familiar-turns out it was a tune from our very own R.D. Burman’s repertoire- Meri Nazar Hai Tujh Pe from the 1980 hit film The Burning Train. The track in the advertisement was produced by Peter Cannon who acknowledged the song and ensured fans that the track had been legally licensed. This Indian connect won Apple a lot of followers and made Indians proud.


There is a special thrill in listening to an Indian number in a foreign placement-so often our composers are accused of being inspired by international artists so it is very refreshing to see original talent being appreciated by the best in the global film fraternity. Very recently Disney India acquired the rights of Bappi Lahiri’s song Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom Baba for their 2017 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The retro dance hit fit in seamlessly in the theme of the fun film and fans were in for a treat.


Music directors often use famous songs from artists across the world and use it as part of a movie’s background score. Even though it may not be an original score, these songs have a keyrole in the film’s musical journey for sure. In this way, a number of Indian tunes have been featured in some of the most popular Hollywood movies. 


The 2002 film, The Guru also had the lead singing the Hindi song Chori chori hum gori se pyaar karenge from AnuMalik’s soundtrack of Mela. Anu Malik’s Chamma Chammaalso found place in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge. One of the biggest Hollywood films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind featured two great Bollywood hits Vaada Na Tod and Dil Tujhko Diya-both songs playing a key role in displaying the poignancy of the protagonists’ emotions in the scene.


The Dictator’s trailer featured the popular Punjabi number Mundeya Tu Bach Ke Rahi by Jay-Z and Punjabi MC, which was originally a bhangra number by Labh Janjua. JaanPehchaan was featured in Ghost World in 2001 and the actors were even imitating the dance moves from the 1965 song! One of the major hits Deadpool opened to Mera Joota Hai Japani and it was indeed a great moment for all Indians as it is such an iconic song here. Kishore Kumar’s Lehron Ki TarhaYaadein in Shaun Of the Dead was another feather in the growing collection of Indian music being appreciated internationally. 


One of our best music directors A.R.Rahman has had his music featured in a number of international films. He alone can be credited with multiple scores rendered in Hollywood films. The 2008 Uma Thurman-Colin Firth film, Accidental Husband featured two great hits from Rahman- Mujhe Rang De from Thakshak and Chhalka chhalka re from Saathiya. It is heartening to see that the music we love is appreciated globally too. The Lord of War featured the Bombay Theme in 2005 and it truly befitted the mood of the film aptly. Another Rahman super hit Chaiya Chaiya was used in Inside Man’s background score in 2006. A.R. Rahman’s international success often leads directors to turn to his music to be part of their background score and they are never disappointed.


Music has no boundaries and each day we see more artist collaborations, more intermingling of different genres and cultures of music and if there is one thing which can unite this world it has to be music.

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