World Features

From ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ to ‘Infinity’: International Songs That Gained Popularity in India in 2021 Through Instagram Reels

With the pandemic restricting their movement, people across the globe took to online consumption of media in a big way these past two years.


Following the ban of TikTok, which served as a popular medium of expression for Indians in recent times, Instagram introduced its ‘reels’ feature in July 2020. The in-app tool lets users record 15-second videos set to music and audio, and upload them to their ‘stories’, similar to TikTok.

While the current user base for reels is unknown, the figure is likely to be close to that of Instagram itself, which has over 201 million users, according to the website Statista. India provides the largest audience for Instagram. And despite recent criticisms around Instagram’s contribution to issues such as anorexia, bulimia, and suicidal tendencies among teenagers, the platform continues to grow in the country.

Music is a key component of Instagram reels, which are used for everything from makeup videos to attire and giveaway reveals, travel snaps, and several other trends. In addition to entertainment, reels are also being modified to suit the needs of content creators to monetize their products. Meta announced in July, that it will invest over $1 billion on content creators by the end of 2022, part of which will be the Reels Summer Bonus. It will enable creators to earn based on the performance of their reels.

Silverscreen India brings to you this compilation of songs from around the world that gained popularity in India, solely through Instagram reels:

Love Nwantiti by CKay

Love Nwantiti is a song by Nigerian singer and song-writer Ckay. Interestingly, the song is 26-year-old CKay’s first single. While it was released in 2019 and became a major record in 2020, the song gained recognition only in 2021 because of its use on TikTok and then, on reels. On Instagram, the song is featured in over 3.6 million reels, with most performers grooving to choreography that became popular along with the song.


Trampoline (Jauz Remix)

This song, originally sung by the indie pop trio Shaed, was released in 2018. It was used in a commercial for Apple’s MacBook Air that same year. A remix with English singer-songwriter Zayn Malik was released in 2019. While the original video has over 66 million views on YouTube, the remix has garnered more than 10 million views. Instagram has witnessed a major use of this remix, with over 1.4 million reels made so far.


Manike Mage Hithe (cover by Yohani and Satheeshan)


This Sri Lankan song was originally sung in Sinhalese by Satheeshan and Dulan ARX. A cover was later released in 2021, featuring the vocals of Satheeshan and Yohani de Silva. The song went viral across the world and is currently inching towards 200 million views on YouTube. Yohani was catapulted to overnight stardom, especially in India, where she even performed on Salman Khan‘s Bigg Boss. She will also be debuting in the Indian music industry soon.

Celebrities like Parineeti Chopra and Priyanka Chopra have used the song in their Instagram stories. Around 9 lakh reels have incorporated this track. It has also been dubbed in multiple languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, Bengali, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.


The Nights (Avicii)

This song by the late Swedish DJ was released in 2014, and a remix came out in 2015. It has been played in over 7 lakh reels on Instagram. The official video on YouTube has over 800 million views. It is directed, produced by and features Rory Kramer, a self-proclaimed “professional life liver,” who filmed an action-packed recollection of his own life on roller coasters, surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, balloon flying, etc. Interestingly, the motive of the song has been carried on to reels as well, with people using the track while recording their first experiences of events and scenarios accompanied by an adrenaline rush.


Take You Dancing (Jason Derulo)

American singer Jason Derulo released this single in July 2020 and it has over a 100 million views on YouTube. Around 6.5 lakh Instagram reels have been made with this track. Around the time the song hit the market, the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak and Derulo said, “In these times, we all need a song that’s going to uplift us.”

Derulo also featured in the remix of the song Jalebi Baby, originally sung by Indian-Canadian singer Tesher, that is featured on tons of reels on makeup and choreography.


Levitating (Dua Lipa)

This song belongs to English popstar Dua Lipa’s second studio album, Future Nostalgia, that released in 2020. It ranked #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was named the number one song of 2021. One of the remixes, featuring DaBaby, was made into a music video in partnership with TikTok. On Instagram, it has been used in over 6.3 lakh reels.


Do It To It (by Acraze featuring Cherish)

This song, originally sung by the girl band Cherish, released in 2006 as a part of their album Unappreciated. Apart from multiple remixes, DJ and producer Acraze reworked the track and released it in August 2021, which went on to be played in over 6.3 lakh Instagram reels.


Infinity (Jaymes Young)

This song first released in 2017 and has been viewed on YouTube over 57 million times. The track also garnered over 6.7  lakh Instagram reels. While the song was earlier restricted to inspirational and makeup reels, it has now generated a trend in which users create a halo-effect with the use of ring lights.


Apart from the aforementioned songs, others like Katy Perry’s Harleys in Hawaii, Drake’s In The Bible, and the Turkish track Tsunami by Escape, are also gaining traction on Instagram reels.