In the world of visual media, the power of music cannot be underestimated. A well-chosen song has the ability to not only enhance the storytelling, evoke emotions, and create a lasting impact on the audience, but is also used to establish an era, or a place, or a character. This is why sync licensing plays a crucial role in the entertainment industry. A sync license allows the use of copyrighted compositions in visual formats, such as movies, ads, short films, and series.
In this article, we will explore five Indian songs (both new and old!) that have made a significant impact in Hollywood films and series with their quirky and delightful sync placements.
Music Supervisor: Kier Lehman
One of the most unconventional and refreshing sync placements in recent times can be found in the animated film “Spiderverse.” The movie, known for its innovative animation style, also made waves with its music choices. One standout song that caught everyone’s attention was a Bakar Bakar by Nucleya, an Indian electronic music producer. The energetic beats and unique fusion of traditional Indian sounds with modern electronic music perfectly complemented the high-octane action sequences of the film.
Music Supervisor: Kerri K. Drootin
“The Office,” an acclaimed American television series, captivates audiences with its witty characters and ingenious incorporation of music. One unforgettable episode stands out during a vibrant Diwali celebration, where the show creators deliberately included the song “Lodi” from the Bollywood film “Veer-Zaara.” This clever choice aligns perfectly with The Office’s signature humor and is enhanced by the hilarious and cringe-worthy dance performed by the protagonist, Michael Scott. Whether of Indian descent or not, viewers can’t help but chuckle at this delightful combination.
Music Supervisor: Brienne Rose
Netflix’s coming-of-age series “Never Have I Ever” revolves around an Indian-American teenager trying to navigate high school life. The show’s creators made a conscious effort to infuse Indian culture into the narrative, and this extended to the music as well. In one episode, a Hindi dance song takes center stage during a pivotal party scene. The vibrant beats and catchy lyrics perfectly capture the spirit of celebration, adding an authentic touch to the show’s portrayal of Indian culture.
Music Supervisor: Kathy Nelson
In the crime thriller film “Inside Man,” director Spike Lee made a bold choice by incorporating the iconic Bollywood song “Chhaiya Chhaiya.” The song, originally featured in the Indian film “Dil Se,” is known for its infectious rhythm and energetic dance moves. Its inclusion in a key scene of the film, where the characters are planning a heist, added an unexpected twist and injected a burst of energy into the narrative.
Music Supervisor: Jen Pray
The critically acclaimed film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” features a unique blend of science fiction and romance. In one captivating scene, the two protagonist’s are getting to know each other for the very first time, while three evergreen Hindi songs play in the background. The songs “Wada Na Tod” from the film “Dil Tujhko Diya” (1987), “Tere Sang Pyar Main Nahin Todna” from the film “Nagin” (1976), and “Mera Mann Tera Pyasa” from the film “Gambler” (1971) create a nostalgic and bittersweet atmosphere, perfectly reflecting the emotions of the characters and adding depth to the storytelling.
The use of Indian songs in Hollywood films and series is a testament to the universal appeal of music and its ability to transcend cultural boundaries. Directors, screenwriters, and music supervisors are constantly on the lookout for unique and unconventional musical pieces to enhance their storytelling and captivate audiences. The sync placements of these Indian songs have introduced global audiences to the rich and diverse sounds of Indian music. As the world becomes more interconnected, we can expect to see more exciting collaborations and sync placements that celebrate the beauty of music from different cultures.