Poet, short story writer, scenarist and filmmaker, Gulzar wrote his first film lyric in the early '60s. In the decades since, he has penned a string of timeless songs. From Mora gora ang lai le, mohe shyam rang dei de to Kajra re, Gulzar's has been a journey that mirrors the ebb and flow of Hindi film music. Who else but him then to talk about the abiding themes of our film songs? Why do we always sing of love, longing and pain? Why not anger, cynicism, disillusionment or idealism? How has the expression of love itself changed over the years? One of Bollywood's last active links with its golden era, the veteran lyricist shares his unique musical insight and sense of history in a freewheeling conversation with Saibal Chatterjee.
It was India's very first sound film, Alam Ara, that established the song-n-dance convention in our cinema. Seventy-five years on, how would you assess the state of film lyrics?
It would be unfair to judge film songs in
isolation. Lyrics can be only as good as the film, the script...