Music has a history of transcending boundaries to reach people across the world. It is an art form that touches people and makes them conquer linguistic barriers. Music has the ability to make people groove and dance like no one is watching, it is something that can play in the background while you do your work and you can still enjoy it and that’s the beauty of music.
Western music has had immense popularity among the Indian audience for decades now. It’s not new to witness an Indian zoomer’s playlist made up of foreign pop music. However, whenever this phenomenon has taken the opposite turn, it has left our minds blown.
The songs that we as Indians have enjoyed, grooved to, or even grown up with, are not just popular among us. There have been several instances when Indian songs have gained international acclaim and have popularly made foreigners dance and jam.
In the recent iPhone 13 launch event, the promo video of the new phone features the song ‘work all day’ by Footsie, which is sampled from RD Burman’s Dum Maro Dum song from a 1971 movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna. The song goes perfectly with the vibes of the promo and has started to make headlines already as people noticed the tunes of this popular song.
Well, this isn’t the first time an Indian song has been used in foreign production. Remember when Mera Joota Hai Japani played in Deadpool and the Indian audience went bonkers? Seldom it happens that we hear a tune familiar to us playing in such a big production and people all across the world are going to hear it.
Indian music has a reputation of making people dance or give them an instant dopamine rush. The song Chaiya Chaiya, beautifully sung by Sukhwinder Singh is a song that has gained immense popularity across generations and rightfully so! You can't help but start vibing to the song instantly. It was right to use it in the opening and closing credits of the 2006 movie Inside Man.
Similarly, the use of Chamma Chamma in the musical Moulin Rouge took that performance to the next level while blending perfectly with the settings of the grand performance.
One of the most popular songs produced by an Indian artist that took the whole world by storm and got the acclaim it deserved has to be Slumdog Millionaire's Jai Ho by AR Rahman. Not just the song is a masterpiece, it spoke to so many people across the globe. Rahman even performed the song in the Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2010. This song also won the Oscar and a Grammy for Rahman and that makes it even more special.
However, there is an album way older than Slumdog Millionaire that made a special place for itself in the 80s. Mithun Chakraborty’s Disco Dancer made him an international star. The songs from the movie, especially the title track ‘I am a Disco Dancer’ and ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ gained immense popularity in the Soviet Union and China.
People over there went bonkers after the songs, performing them in reality shows, grooving to them in clubs and whatnot. Everyone knew Bappi Lahiri and Mithun Chakraborty because of these songs and their popularity still hasn’t faded. The comment section of Jimmy Jimmy’s YouTube video is proof enough.
In 2004’s Hollywood horror comedy, Shaun of The Dead, the scene when Shaun goes into a store, Kishore Kumar’s Lehron Ki Tarha Yaadein can be heard playing in the background followed by the Hindi announcement about the outbreak, clever and subtle use of the music. Similarly, in 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind, Mera Mann Tera Pyaasa & Wada Na Tod by the maestro Mohammad Rafi are used in the background.
Also, who can forget the use of the melodious Bombay Theme in 2005’s Lord of War or Jaan Pehchaan Ho in 2001’s Ghost World?
The Dictator has to be one of the best comedies by Sacha Noam Baron Cohen. The trailer of the song features the Indian Punjabi song, Mundian Tu Bach Ke Rahi and again, takes note of the trailer a notch above.