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The New Age Lyricists…

Gulzar Saab Rocks!! I had to, of course, start this post by stating the obvious.

Anyone who can move from “Mora Gora Ang Leyee Le” to “Woh Shaam Kucch Ajeeb Thi”, from “Naam Gum Jaayega” to “Dhanno Ki Aankhon Mein” and from “Chhod Aaye Hum Woh Galiyaan” to “Kajra Re” this effortlessly is no ordinary writer. And the way he continues to move even today, remains unsurpassable.

A mention is also necessary for his colleagues, from the likes of Raja Mehndi Ali Khan, Sahir Ludhianvi, Shahryar and Anand Bakshi, who mesmerized us for decades with their wonderfully penned songs…from “Lag Jaa Gale” and “Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shaayar Hoon” to “Seene Mein Jalan” and “Mere Dil Mein Aaj Kya Hai“.

However, it is now also time to acknowledge the new generation of lyricists who are writing Bollywood songs that we play and listen to every day either in our cars, during our mehfils…or simply on Saavn. The jury may still be sharply divided, as I’m sure that avid listeners do not consider anyone who writes Sheila, Munni and Anarkali songs to be even worthy of a mention. But we need to look a bit more closely at the body of work that these new age lyricists have amassed over the past years before passing the verdict on them.

While one single post cannot do justice to what the current lyricists are capable of, I strongly feel that lyricists of today have a lot of potential and if given the credit and love from their listeners, they can ably lead bollywood music into its next era of meaningful melodies.

The first modern day lyricist that comes to mind is Dr. Irshad Kamil. Anyone who listens to bollywood music has heard the terrific numbers penned by Dr.Kamil for Ranbir Kapoor’s “Rockstar“. It was Dr.Kamil strong lyrics that gave a much deeper meaning to Jordan’s songs – the character portrayed by Kapoor. From “Phir Se Udh Chala” to “Tum Ho” to “Nadaan Parindey” to the anthemic “Sadda Haq“…every single track of the film was worth listening to, not just for AR Rahman’s music but for Dr.Kamil’s powerful lyrics. However, one cannot overlook his other recent works which have been equally noteworthy, including
Ishq Risk/Madhubala – “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
Yaariyaan/Tumhi Ho Bandhu – “Cocktail
Rabba Main To Mar Gaya/Sajh Dhaj Ke – “Mausam
Tera Hone Laga Hoon/Prem Ki Naiyya – “Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani
Chor Bazaari/Twist – “Love Aaj Kal” and
Bhaage Re Mann/Sajnaa Ve Sajnaa – “Chameli

Note how I have listed two very different tracks from the same movie in the list…to show the extent of Dr.Kamil’s versatility and his ability to win the hearts of both the classes and the masses.

Coming very close to Dr.Kamil is my personal favorite, Amitabh Bhattacharya. Bhattacharya leapt to fame writing some strongly worded songs for musician-partner-in-crime, Amit Trivedi, for off-beat gems like “Aamir” and “DevD“. But it was only a matter of time before he made it into the big league with a awesome variety of songs that have never since ceased to amaze me. Bhattacharya’s talent and his ability to play with words is wonderous, and makes you think how a single person can switch modes and write songs that are so damn diverse in nature. Here are a few examples to support my claim:
Raabta / Pungi – “Agent Vinod
Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin / Gun Guna Re / Chikni Chameli – “Agneepath
Tonight / The Mutton Song – “”Luv Ka The End
Bhaag DK Bose – “Delhi Belly
Aitbaar / Dilli – “No One Killed Jessica
Azaadiyan / Udaan – “Udaan

Amitabh Bhattacharya has proven with every film that he has the ability to outdo himself with the next outing. And I, for once, look forward to deciphering the meaning of every song he writes.

Which brings me to two other lyricists who don’t write often but are equally noteworthy. Swanand Kirkire is a master of words and has penned memorable songs for films like “3 Idiots“, “Yeh Saali Zindagi“, “Paa“, “Lafangey Parindey“, “Parineeta“, “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi” and “Lage Raho Munnabhai“. Who can forget songs like All Izz Well, Kaise Kahein Alvida, Mudi Mudi, Man Lafanga Badaa, Kaisi Paheli Zindagi and Baavra Mann. They all move you and stir emotions that few other songs are able to. The impact is similar to the works of Prasoon Joshi, the mind behind absolute gems from films like “Ghajini” (Kaise Mujhe Tum Mile Gayee), “Fanaa” (Dekho Na), “Teri Meri Kahaani” (Mukhtsar), “Delhi-6” (Arziyaan…and everything else!!), “London Dreams” (Mann Ko Ati Bhaave), “Taare Zameen Par” (Maa) and above all “Rang De Basanti“. Enough said!!

Lyricists have always been shoved into the background when it comes to the final credits for any Bollywood film. The audience remembers the stars of a film, the director, the musicians…even the locations where the filming took place. But hardly anyone asks for the name of the writer whose songs they have been humming even since they were released. Its time we started giving credit to where its actually due and recognized the lyricists who give that much needed color to any situation, through their words…sometimes spoken and at times unspoken.

So while we all ponder over these thoughts and begin to appreciate our new-age lyricists, I need to go back and listen to my favorite song of 2012 so far…”Tore Bin” from “Kahaani”…written by Anvita Dutt. Or dim the lights and float with Amitabh Bhattacharya’s magical words from Raabta

Phailee Thi Siyaah Raatein…Aaya Tu Subah Leke
Bewajaa Si Zindagi Mein…Jeene Ki Wajaah Leke
Khoya Sa Samundaron Mein…Tanha Safina Mera
Saahilon Pe Laaya Hai Tu…Jaane Kis Tarah Leke

Categories: Bollywood
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