Urban desi artists like Arjun and Zack Knight are known for taking hit Bollywood tracks and revamping them with some western flair—but, have you noticed recently how Bollywood soundtracks are picking up urban desi hits? Looks like the tables have turned on the music industry as legendary singers like Udit Narayan are taking a back seat to the Yo-Yo Honey Singh’s of the world. I just cringed internally.
Jokes aside, there are tons of amazingly talented urban desi artists but it’s so hard to get a bit of attention towards their original music that they have to resort to Bollywood mixes to attract the mainstream. They may not be as technically perfect or classically trained as Udit Narayan or Sonu Niigam, but the urban desi artists of today have their own special flair. With the fusion of Eastern beats and Western lyrics on the rise, the ever-evolving face of music in India is taking a new turn with this blend of sounds. Urban desi artists are finally getting the attention they deserve.
These artists have started to infiltrate the Bollywood world and I’m definitely not complaining. Check out these amazing urban desi tracks Bollywood filmmakers have recycled for their films.
1. “High Heels”
Originally by British-Indian artist Jaz Dhami, the dance track “High Heels” released in 2012. The iconic song is one that fans love to hear over and over, not to mention the epic rap verse by Yo-Yo Honey Singh—fans know those lyrics by heart!
The 2016 film “Ki and Ka” revamped “High Heel” with some altered lyrics. The filmmakers kept the original iconic rap by Yo-Yo Honey Singh and parts of the original chorus. The film battled gender roles and social roles of men and women, and starred Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor.
2. “Rock The Party”
Bombay Rockers is the Danish and Indian group that literally rocked the urban desi music scene back in the early 2000s with hits like “Ari Ari,” “Rock Tha Party,” and “Sexy Mama.” Their hit song “Rock Tha Party” released in 2003 and became the “it” song at every party.
John Abraham’s recent “Rocky Handsome” recycled the party jam as an item song for the film. Original singers of Bombay Rockers made a come back with their feature in the music video along with sexy ex-“Bigg Boss” contestant, Nora Fatehi. I love that Abraham brought back the original singers for the video as well, it really honors their work and legacy as urban desi artists, while many Bollywood remakes don’t even acknowledge that they took the song from elsewhere.
3. “Sadi Gali”
Canadian brothers Manj, Surj and Kuly formed the band Rhythm Bass Dhol aka RDB. The trio has given us amazing hits and after rocking the urban desi scene, they managed to leave their mark in Bollywood as well.
It all started with “Sadi Gali”: the song was originally released more than 10 years ago as a single on RDB’s 2005 album “Three.” The original track was a collaboration with the popular bhangra singer, Lehmber Hussainpuri.
RDB’s track was later recycled for the hit film “Tanu Weds Manu” starring R. Madhavan and Kangana Ranaut. A decade later this hit number is still one to get everyone on the dance floor bouncing to the beat.
4. “Soch Na Sake”
Urban desi artist Hardy Sandhu’s “Soch” is a beautiful track with a touching music video. Sandhu even won Punjabi Music Awards’ Best Music Video and Most Romantic Ballad of the Year award for this track. The ballad, which released in 2013, is accompanied by a video on unconditional love that overcomes all obstacles.
The romantic ballad from Sandhu was translated from Punjabi to Hindi and recycled for the Akshay Kumar film, “Airlift,” Renamed “Soch Na Sake,” the romantic song was just as beautiful as Sandhu’s Punjabi version. “Soch Na Sake” is sung by Arijit Singh and Tulsi Kumar.
5. “Teri Khair Mangdi”
Urban desi singer Bilal Saeed teamed up with Dr. Zeus and Canadian rapper Fateh for his song “Teri Khair Mangdi.” It is accompanied by a dark music video dealing with love and betrayal. The track released in 2013 on Saeed’s album “Twelve.”
Saeed turned his upbeat techno style track into a slow soulful ballad for the film “Baar Baar Dekho” starring Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra. Some of the lyrics were changed a bit but Saeed still composed and sang the song for the film.
6. “Kala Chashma”
He might not be the typical urban desi singer, but Punjabi artist of the 90s, Amar Arshi is the original singer of the mega-hit “Kala Chashma” from “Bar Baar Dekho.” The song was written by head constable in the Punjab police in Kapurthala, Amrik Singh Shera when he was only 15-years-old.
He says no one would take up his song and then Amar Arshi took it and performed it in England where the audiences loved it. It was a hit from then on. The music video, well, looks like just another 90s music video.
With some flashy outfits, coordinated backup dances, sexy leads and some hot choreography, Shera and Arshi’s “Kala Chashma” gained new life as the hit item song of the year from the film “Baar Baar Dekho.”
Music is changing and urban desi artists are on their way to the big leagues revamping Bollywood along the way! Do you prefer the originals or the Bollywood remakes? And which urban desi track do you think would be the perfect song for a Bollywood film’s soundtrack?
Comment below and let us know!