Three remakes of Zooby Zooby song! Who has done justice to Bappi Lahiri’s ‘inspired’ original?

Indian Idol contestant Sourabhee Debbarma was the first to recreate Zooby Zooby in her album, followed by Rochak Kohli in Naam Shabana [2017] and now Tanishk Bagchi has produced his version in Dhokha Round D Corner [2022].

By Mayur Lookhar

Zooby Zooby, a 1987 Bollywood song where the hook melody was inspired by popular German band Modern Talking’s Brother Louie song. 35 years later, we’ve seen three remakes of Zooby Zooby in the space of 13 years.  Wow, what was that Govinda song, “It happens only in India”.  Anything can happen in the Indian entertainment space. 

Today [30 August], we’ve seen T-Series launch their second, and third overall, remake of Bappi Lahiri’s popular track from the cult classic Dance Dance [1987] which starred Mithun Chakraborty, Mandakini, Smita Patil and Amrish Puri in leading roles.

T-Series have titled the new remake or recreation, [as modern composers call it] as Mere Dil Gaaye Ja [Zooby Zooby]. It is recreated by remix expert Tanishk Bagchi, with Zahrah S. Khan lending her vocals, additional vocal by Yash Narvekar.  Lyricist Kumaar, another remix specialist, has penned the lyrics.  The song features the cast of Dhokha Round D Corner – producer Bhushan Kumar’s sister and lead actor, Khushalii Kumar, R. Madhavan, Aparshakti Khurrana, Darshan Kumar.

Let’s get it straight, Khushalii is looking like a bomb. She impressed us with her voice quality in the trailer. This song reveals her dancing skills too, but in a limited quantity. Khushali is fairly decent in her hook step, but that is all about that we see from the dancer Khushali. The second half of the song has her posing with Madhavan.  The long shots don’t really allow the viewers to get a close look at Khushalii’s dancing. Maybe there is a slight shortage of energy, but the lady shows promise in the few close shots of her dancing. The tiny bit of Nagin-style fang dance is always popular with the masses.

The song has fine visual appeal too with the many chandeliers glowing like a galaxy of star fish. Brother Louie’s hook tune is used sparingly in the three minute song. In fact, that is not even the hook tune of Bagchi’s recreation. Overall, we liked Bagchi’s score, it is peppy and magnetic. Zahrah S. Khan is impressive in her singing with Yash Narvekar complementing her well in his lone verse. The impact of the Zooby Zooby verse is so strong that one doesn’t really pay heed to the added lyrics by Kumaar. The Mere Dil Gaaye Ja song is enjoyed as a package – music, visuals.

T-Series first remade Zooby Zooby as Zubi Zubi in Taapsee Pannu-starrer Naam Shabana [2017]. Rochak Kohli was the composer and he also doubled up as the co-singer. Sukriti Kakar was the lead vocalist. The song was played in a disco where Shabana [Pannu], the secret agent has come searching for someone. The Zubi Zubi line was only used a couple of times in the track. The rest of the lyrics by Manoj Muntashir were so far disconnected form the Zubi Zubi theme. The music was contemporary pop, with a shade of EDM/Club attached to it.  There was nothing retro about the music. Kakar’s singing was anything but captivating. It would be a sham to even call this a remake of Zooby Zooby. T-Series, too, may have realized this later and hence they made amends with the Mere Dil Gaaye Ja song five years later.

So, we’re down to the first remake of Zooby Zooby. No, it wasn’t from any film, but from a private album by former Indian Idol contestant Sourabhee Debbarma. The album was called Sourabhee Meherbaan and it was released by Sony Music Entertainment in 2009.  We’re not sure how many listened to Sourabhee’s Zooby Zooby.

It begins on a slightly hip-hop note before Sourabhee takes over. The rap-artiste returns later to give a more complete performance. Like Brother Louie [1986], Debbarma kept the hook tune mellow. Unlike the Bollywood films, where technology played its part in the tones too, here Sourabhee’s crystal clear voice is heard throughout the song.  It would be unfair to compare any of the modern singers – Sukriti, Zahrah and Sourabhee to the brilliant Alisha Chinai, who sang Bappi Lahiri’s Zooby Zooby.  We can safely say that of all the three modern singers, we found Sourabhee’s rendition of Zooby Zooby most natural and convincing.  The best thing about Debbarma’s rendition is the music which takes you back to the retro, disco era.  The opening beats are like Afro, then the retro, disco music takes over. In this one track, we were reminded of Modern Talking, Boney M, even bit of Beegees, but there is a slight dash of desi music too.  Ajay Singha has given a fine tribute to Modern Talking’s Brother Louie and Bappi da’s ‘inspired’ Zooby Zooby original.  Arguably, Sourabhee has given the best Zooby Zooby recreation.  Tanishk Bagchi’s Mere Dil Gaaye Ja comes second, while Rochak Kohli’s poor remake stays at third place.


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