Does using popular songs as movie titles work?     

The trend of naming Bollywood flicks after catchy numbers of yesteryears is picking up pace and is here to stay

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media

Biswadeep Ghosh

Film titles must be catchy. And, what can be catchier than film songs that reside in the viewer’s memory? Knowing that is true, many directors use titles of songs as titles of their films, hoping they will allure the viewer to the cinema hall.

The coming months will see the release of a bunch of films whose titles have their origin in songs from yesteryears.

There is the Akiv Ali-helmed film starring Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Rakul Preet Singh, whose title De De Pyaar De has been lifted from a hit song of the Amitabh Bachchan-Jaya Prada starrer Sharaabi. Prem R Soni’s directorial venture, starring Jimmy Sheirgill and Iulia Vantur, has been named Radha Kyun Gori Main Kyun Kaala, a phrase from the song Yashomati Maiya Se in the Shashi Kapoor-Zeenat Aman starrer Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

It is a coincidence, no doubt, but a few other upcoming films have song-inspired titles as well. Sunny Deol has been making headlines after joining the Bharatiya Janata Party recently. Deol, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Punjab’s Gurdaspur, is directing and acting in Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, whose newcomer leading actors are his son Karan Deol and Saher Bamba. The film’s familiar title is from a popular song of Blackmail, a film starring Deol’s father Dharmendra and Rakhee Gulzar.

Another upcoming film is Shamas Nawab Siddiqui’s Bole Chudiyan which stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Mouni Roy. The film’s title that rings a bell is from a popular track that featured in the Karan Johar-helmed multi-starrer Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham....

Films with songs as titles aren’t new, of course. Many filmmakers have preferred songs as titles since they connect with the average film-goer. Do makers also choose such titles because songs with appropriate phrases can be found rather easily? Nobody will respond in the affirmative, although chances are that is true.

The Hrithik Roshan-Preity Zinta starrer Koi...Mil Gaya’s title originated from a song in the Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol romance, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Om Shanti Om which starred Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone is yet another film whose instantly relatable title comes from a song in the Rishi Kapoor-Tina Munim starrer Karz.

Even the most casual of filmgoers can recollect where the Salman Khan starrer Jai Ho’s title comes from. It is from the title of the famous AR Rahman composition in Slumdog Millionaire. If the SRK-Rani Mukherjee starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan’s title is from a song of Sholay, arguably the most popular Hindi film ever, Baar Baar Dekho, an unimpressive Siddharth Malhotra-Katrina Kaif film, owes its title to a classic from the Shammi Kapoor-Shakila film, China Town.

Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone came together in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, which is also a song from the Randhir Kapoor-Jaya Bhaduri starrer Jawani Diwani. Bachna Ae Haseeno, another Ranbir Kapoor starrer, owes its title to a song from another Rishi Kapoor film, Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin. Chalte Chalte, the SRK-Rani Mukherjee starrer, owes its title to, well, the title track of a Vishal Anand-Simi Garewal film.

Popular songs offer convenient options for titles, regardless of whether filmmakers seek shortcuts or familiarity while choosing them. If somebody aspires to make a film on a woman who turns into a notorious criminal, calling it “Munni Badnaam Hui” can be a viewer-friendly title found with ease.

Some films with such titles have been exceedingly popular. Others have failed to find audiences. What matters is whether a film has what it takes to attract the viewer. That needs a lot more than just a title one has heard of.

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