Sri Lanka hit enthrals India, local versions resonate in states

By Priyanka Dasgupta & Ashok Pradhan

KOLKATA/BHUBANESHWAR  – On May 22 this year, a music video was uploaded on YouTube in Sri Lanka. Three months and over 70 million views later, the hit Sinhala song— ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ — has left not only India’s top actors and musicians smitten but is fast gaining popularity in far corners of India, with different versions resonating across the country — from Bengali to Garhwali and Tamil to Sambalpuri.
After Amitabh Bachchan and Parineeti Chopra, it’s musicians in Bengal who are outdoing each other in releasing Bengali covers. Some of these covers have gone viral and the artistes are now planning second editions. Actors are even making Instagram reels using 15-30 seconds of the song.
The original Sinhala song featuring Yohani de Silva and Satheeshan Rathnayaka was produced by Chamath Sangeeth in July 2020.
In Odisha, wannabe YouTube stars are trying to ride piggyback on the runaway hit. While multiple Odia and one Sambalpuri version of the number have flooded social media, many of these have earned viewership in lakhs.
Saroj Haldhar, a sound engineer from Kendrapada, who has sung his own Odia version of the popular number, said, “The moment I heard the song, I thought of having our own version of it. It clicked.” Haldhar, who also runs a music production house, has earned more than 12 lakh views and 33,000 likes for his Odia take of ‘Manika Mage Hithe.’ “This is the highest views I have received for any song in less than two weeks of uploading,” said the 30-year-old.
In Kolkata, singer Iman Chakraborty describes it as a ‘refreshing song’. “In these difficult times, people have got a hummable and happy tune they are enjoying,” she said.
Actor Chandreyee Ghosh, who posted a reel, said, “Technology hasn’t played a big role in its production. For me, this song is like a conversation with one’s own self.”
The last time Bengal witnessed such a phenomenon was a decade ago when Anirudh and Dhanush sang ‘Why this kolaveri di?’ in Tamil.
Singer Anirban Sur has done a Bangla folk mash-up, mixing the song with ‘Tomae hridmajhare rakhbo’, ‘Tomar ghore bosot kore’ and ‘Lal paharir deshe ja’ while singer Ronit Basak, better known as JJ RoNN in the Hip Hop-RnB circuit of Kolkata, has remixed it with Odisha’s popular ‘Rangabati’ song.


The original Sinhala song features Yohani de Silva and Satheeshan Rathnayaka –


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