Have you also felt that in the last decade or so there has been a sharp decline in the lyricism of Bollywood Film music?
There have been many hit Bollywood songs and each new era brings forth a new musician or lyricist into the forefront but somewhere we have lost out on beautifully worded music.
Earlier, lyrics were provided by stalwarts such as Sahir Ludhianvi and Shailendra and Shakeel Badayuni. Not only were they lyricists for Hindi films but they were also poets of great renown. The words had a lilt to them, there was meaning and ethos in them and they lingered in your mind for a long time.
Lyricists such as Kaifi Azmi, Hasrat Jaipuri, Anand Baxi were poets first and lyricists afterwards. They put into words and music the emotions of the characters and often they added a greater dimension to the film. It is a well-known fact that Raj Kapoor was so fond of good music and lyrics that he made sure that his lyricists were given ample time to find the words to match his stars and scenes. This kind of approach towards the music of his films was one of the main reasons why his songs are still popular.
Songs such as “Jaane woh kaise log the” from Pyaasa, written by Sahir Ludhianvi, “Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam ” from Kaagaz Ke Phool, written by Kaifi Azmi, “Mera Joota hai japani” from Shree 420, lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri, – all of them were released many decades ago, but are remembered even today. So many memories are associated with these songs and their words.
However, today we can see and hear a visible decline in the role of a lyricist. The rhythms and beats have taken over and have become of greater importance. Apart from one or two lyricists such as Gulzar and Javed Akhtar, there are very few who can be named by the general public as being the person behind the words of the song.
Reasons Behind the Absence of Good Lyrics in Hindi music
We really cannot pinpoint any one reason for this. There are many factors which have contributed to this state of affairs. Singer Shaan has said in an interview that “youngsters do not understand the value of lyrics”. There are others who feel that lyricists do not get enough recognition for the good work which they do.
There is also a general feeling that the beat and the tempo are what make a song popular. Being able to dance to the music – now that is what more important rather than being able to recite the words.
There has also been a general lowering of standards in the level of the words which are written. This may be the result of the decline in a lyricist’s role, or it may also be the reason behind the decline. A chicken and an egg situation here!
Commercialism has creeped into art and few people make write songs because they genuinely like doing so. Most are in it for the money, which is slowly becoming true of all other professions.
There are a few who go against this trend – Javed Akhtar, Prasoon Joshi and Sameer, but we need to highlight them and give the others a chance to shine and above all give them the recognition they deserve. Let us bring back the days when the words were as important as the tune and when songs were written to match the emotion and the sentiments of a scene and to enhance the visuals.