Mumbai, Jan 13 (IANS) Bollywood blockbuster 'Saawariya' may have turned around lyricist Sameer's fortunes but he laments that despite being poetic and trendy in his lyrics, people have accused him of compromising on quality.
'By the grace of god, the songs in 'Saawariya' were appreciated for their poetry. When I'm pulled up for lack of poetry in today's songs, I want to know where are the creative artistes like filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who demand and expect poetry in their songs,' Sameer told IANS.
Talking about how he was inspired by Majrooh Sultanpuri and Anand Bakshi, Sameer said: 'Look at their body of work. How prolific they were! They were poetic and yet so accessible to the common man. That's what I've been aiming to do all along, although I've been criticised and condemned for playing to the galleries.'
While Anand Bakshi is credited with the lyrics for chart-busters like Rahul Dev Burman's 'Dum Maro Dum' from the movie 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna', Majrooh Sultanpuri is remembered for the songs in 'Teesri Manzil' and 'Yaadon Ki Barat'.
'When lyricist Gulzar writes populist numbers like 'Ticket to Hollywood' and 'Beedi', he is praised for moving along with time. When I do the same, I am accused of making compromises. But it's very important to keep up with the times.
'For a recent film, 'Phir Hera Pheri' I wrote 'All day, all night' which was in four languages - Rajasthani, English, Hindi and Punjabi - that's the effect of globalisation on our cinema and music. That is how today's youngsters speak. That's the spirit one has to capture in our film songs,' he added.
Sameer, who has written over 5,000 songs, has reduced his workload thanks to composer Himesh Reshammiya's decision to curtail his work.
'You see Himesh and I had formed a team. I did some of my finest and the most popular work recently for Himesh in films from 'Tere Naam' to 'Aap Kaa Surroor'. But now that he has decided to compose only for his own movies, I have been forced to slow down. Yes, I'm writing the lyrics for three of Himesh's films - 'Karzzzz', 'Kajra Re' and 'A Love Ssssshtory.'
'I'll take the opening line as a starting point and then weave my own words.
'When I was writing poetry for films like 'Aashiqui' and 'Saajan' in the 1990s, I also wrote 'Main to bhelpuri kha raha tha' in 'Coolie No 1' because that was a song for a street-smart guy. One has to write according to the demand of the character and the film.
'I know my father (Anjaan">Anjaan) wrote poetry like 'Chandan sa badan' in 'Saraswatichandra'. But that was the demand of the times and character. Today, when Bhansali offers me a chance to write songs like 'Jab se tere naina' and 'Sawar sawar gayi', I do it happily.'
Sameer fondly recalls the historic moment when Bhansali called him.
'He told me that two songs of mine had tilted the scale in my favour when there were so many more distinguished poets who wanted to do the lyrics of 'Saawariya'. Those songs were 'Tumse milna baatein karna' in 'Tere Naam' and 'Mohabbatein lutaoonga' for Abhijeet Sawant (Indian Idol winner).'
Sameer wrote the first lyric 'Masha Allah' for 'Saawariya' in three days.
'That's how long it took me to write the lyrics for 'Saawariya'. I'm a fast worker. I've survived so long because I know the art of writing lyrics. It's not enough to be a poet. You've to know how to connect your words with the common man.'