When East meets West


Staff member

From Lady Gaga to Nelly Furtado, the global musical caravan is finding India a good stopover with more and more international pop stars giving a desi twist to their hit numbers, with the sole aim of tapping into the ever-ripening Indian market.

The latest example comes courtesy of Latino pop icon Enrique Iglesias, who paired up with talented Bollywood singer Sunidhi Chauhan for a Hindi remix of his hit Heartbeat.

The sexy ballad, from the album Euphoria, is a perfect fusion of desi and western music — it starts with folk lines sung by Chauhan and has an extensive use of sitar and tabla, composed by Shamir Tandon. There is also a short flute piece, merging traditional Indian instruments with pop and club tunes. The original song featured Iglesias and Nicole Scherzinger.

tabloid! takes a look at some of the best East meets West collaborations.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga took one more step in uniquely crafting her image when she released a remix of her hit single Born This Way, helmed by top Bollywood producer duo Salim and Sulaiman. The remixed single has an interesting balance of Gaga's vocals and bass beats, a strong nightclub streak, and fusion of tabla and sitar chords.

"When we started working on Born This Way, there was a feeling of excitement and a bit of nervousness," said Sulaiman. "The sitar was the instrument of choice for us when it came to creating a melodic riff. Of course, there was dhol that always creates the atmosphere of party and euphoria, but what really rocked it all was Salim's voice to add that Indian flavour."

The union of Gaga and Bollywood seems to be a natural fit, something with the elaborate musical routines and colourfully bold costumes both the industry and Lady have in common.

Britney Spears

Salim and Sulaiman, best known for incorporating western, folk, Hindustani, and Sufi influences into their music, together with the Canadian trio Culture Shock put a bhangra twist to Britney Spears' latest single, Till the World Ends.

Spears tweeted about the remix: "Check out this incredible Desihits remix of TILL WORLD ENDS. I LOVE it!!!"

The video for her previous single, Hold it Against Me, featured outfits created by the Mumbai-based designers Falguni and Shane Peacock, while in 2003 her collaboration with Madonna, Me Against the Music, included two bhangra-style remixes.

Nelly Furtado

In 2006, Nelly Furtado's strong fan following in India shot higher after her hits Powerless and Promiscuous were infused with a bhangra flavour, supported by Canada-based Punjabi band Josh. Grammy-winner Furtado, who performed in India, then said: "India holds a special place in my heart and I'm fascinated by the country's diversity and heritage."

A.R. Rahman

A.R. Rahman, the Indian music mogul known for merging world music and electronic genres in his compositions, teamed up with Dido for If I Rise in Danny Boyle's Oscar-nominated film 127 Hours. The song is a beautiful representation of Rahman's prior achievements; an ethereal, cultural experience that uses an array of worldly instruments (harps, djembes) with hints of subtle electronica, that gradually builds throughout. Rahman is the leader in expanding Indian music on a global scale. And what better way to prove that — Rahman joined Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger's new band, Super Heavy, along with singers Dave Stewart, Damian Marley and Joss Stone.


Rihanna's upbeat and much hyped Rude Boy, from her album Rated R, seems to be the ultimate fan favourite. Looking oh-so-fashion-forward in animal prints and bodycon outfits, she unveiled her aggressive persona post-Grammygate when she released a bhangra remix, featuring Lomaticc and Sunny Brown.

It's instantly catchy, a dancehall-inflected delight that hits you from the moment you press play.

Alesha Dixon

Alesha Dixon, the English singer-songwriter, introduced an Indian vibe to her hit single Drummer Boy. The single was released last summer and reached number 15 in the UK's singles chart. The remixed version of the track was released in January. The Strictly Come Dancing judge's album, The Entertainer, has a distinct Asian flavour.

The singer's new single, Every Little Part of Me, features top R&B talent Jay Sean and has been well received by fans. Recently, she revealed her love for all things Indian, adding that she's currently learning Hindi and bhangra-influenced songs and dance moves which she hopes to incorporate into her live performances.

We wonder: does she plan to try her luck in Bollywood?

Jay Sean

Jay Sean, the voice behind tracks such as Eyes On You, Stolen and One Night, may be miles away from India, but he's the main man when it comes to impeccably fusing bhangra music with a flavour of contemporary R&B and hip-hop styles — Turn Me On, Me Against Myself and My Own Way are some examples.

Sean made a guest appearance in the Bollywood movie Kya Kool Hai Hum, providing the song Dil Mera (My Heart) to the soundtrack based on One Night from his own debut album.