Jaane Jaan, Zara Hatke Zara Bachke: Rising trend of using popular songs as film titles; does familiarity brings success?


The trend of using popular Hindi songs as movie titles is not something new, but has been observed more frequently in recent times. Movies titles such as Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, derived from the song Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan by Mohammad Rafi, Jaane Jaan taken from the song of the same name, by Kishore Kumar, Monica O My Darling taken from Piya Tu Ab Toh Aaja sung by Asha Bhosle are examples of this phenomenon. We speak to industry insiders to gain insight into whether choosing a familiar title helps attract attention and if it translates into success.

The movie title Jaane Jaan was taken from the song of the same name by Kishore Kumar,

Trade expert Girish Johar also agrees with the benefits that come with using a familiar title. “If the story lends itself to the title, then makers can consider this because there will be advantages. I don’t see a disadvantage- It’s easily recognisable, it gives the film a brand value, it’s easily marketed, and it cuts across the audiences in a very relatable manner. Backfire tab karega jab wo film se connect nahi karega. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic idea. It did help films like Monica O My Darling or Zara hatke Zara Bachke. The background score (which is also the same song) adds to the overall effect it creates. Filmmakers try to encash on the relatability and popularity factor,” he shares.

Filmmaker Vasan Bala, who directed the film Monica O My Darling says, “Because the foundation is a song, the sequencing of words have an inherent rhythm which gives out a vibe…gives out the idea about film’s story with minimum words.The additional nostalgia value adds to the connect.”

Talking about deciding to use it in his film (Monica O My Darling), he says, “It hinted that the film is a comedy with a dark undertone. A noir. But that’s never enough,” he points out. “It was also aided by the font selection in the first look of the film, the texture, colour pallet, design elements, characters etc. All of this come together to create an identity with the title or an invitation for the film, eventually leading to the all important trailer,” he explains.

Director Anees Bazmee also agrees with Johar and Bala, that there is no harm in doing so, but he asserts that it “does not translate into more audience”. However, he point out the reason for filmmakers doing so. “It’s a real struggle to name your movie what you want. Because most of the time it has already been taken by someone else. There is a dearth of titles in our industry and hence we see more and more people naming their films behind a familiar song or something that pre-exists.And there is no wrong in giving a title inspired by a song. It sums up the entire film because people are familiar with the tonality of that song, the vibe of it etc. But of course one needs to look for more original ideas,” he shares.

However, lyricist Mehboob, who has written some of the old classics like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam says, he does not see it as a marketing strategy. “I don’t think it helps. It’s just the scarcity of titles and stories and the fact that people are not scratching their head to come out with creative ideas,” he says.

He is fine if someone wants to use a song’s line for a title, given that it fits the situation “but there is nothing that this would do,” he says. Having said that, the artiste points out how he does not like how old song and music are used in the projects as background scores. “It’s something that I don’t appreciate. What’s the point of using something that already exists and is being cherished for a long time,” he says.

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