Pasoori: Bollywood remake of hit Pakistani song divides Indians

Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani
Image caption,The Bollywood version features superstars Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani

Indians are reacting sharply to Bollywood’s remake of Pasoori, a Pakistani pop song which became a smash hit in both nations last year.

Originally sung by Ali Sethi and Shae Gill, the quirky number featured in Coke Studios Pakistan – the country’s longest-running music show.

An Indian version of the song released to mixed reviews on Monday.

Many listeners said they found the rendition unnecessary, but others said they loved the feel of the new version.

Titled Pasoori Nu, the remake features in the upcoming Bollywood film, Satyaprem Ki Katha, and stars actors Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani.

The song’s official music video has been viewed more than nine million times on YouTube since its release on Monday.

There had been a lot of excitement around its release – given how the new version is sung by Arijit Singh, one of India’s biggest playback singers in recent years, and is penned by Sethi himself along with Indian writer Gurpreet Saini.

The song retains the original chorus along with its catchy pop hook but overall has a more romantic feel to it. Agg lavaan teriya majbooriya nu (Set fire to your compulsions), Singh croons in perfect imitation of Sethi’s voice, as the actors dance and embrace each other against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

Ali Sethi and Shae Gill
Image caption,The original song is performed by Ali Sethi and Shae Gill

But on Monday, many Indians criticised the music video and accused its makers of “totally ruining” the original song for them.

“Nice try, don’t try again,” one user wrote.

“No doubt Arjijit Singh is an amazing singer. But you need to stop messing with good songs,” another added.

Others said they were tired of Bollywood’s habit of rehashing old films and songs into new content. “Can’t you people let original things stay original?” a user asked.

However, several others defended the song and accused its critics of being unnecessarily harsh.

“Loved this version of Pasoori,” a fan wrote, while another added: “Arijit sir’s version of Pasoori, the best gift for every music fan.”

Pasoori, a Punjabi word which roughly translates to “a complicated mess”, released last year in the 14th season of Coke Studio Pakistan. Produced by the soda company, the show features studio-recorded performances by some of the country’s most famous artists and is hugely popular in India.

The song was a massive hit in India, where it garnered millions of views, topped music charts for weeks and inspired a flurry of remakes.

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