In Bollywood films the job of writing falls on many hands.
There is a storywriter, who is very often the producer or
director of the movie. The storywriter is responsible for
the film's plot, themes and character outlines. Apart from
the story is the dialogue, and in most Bollywood films a specialized
person or persons write the dialogue. Sometimes a famous poet
or novelist will be asked to write a single line of dialogue
for a film's key dramatic moment. Another important wordsmith
of a Bollywood film is the lyric writer, who puts the poetry
to the music. In Bollywood the lyric writer holds a special
position, quite often as important as the films stars. They
are Bollywood stars in their own right. The name, "Sameer",
or "Gulzar" attached as lyricist to a film absolutely increases
expectations and prestige to the proceedings. The Bollywood
film lyricist is the popular poet of the people in India.
Their words are sung on street corners and blare from tape
players. Every man and woman on the streets knows the words
to many Bollywood film songs. Bollywood song lyrics are used
to reflect life and especially succinct lyrics become part
of the popular vernacular.
One of the great film song lyricists of Bollywood was
Anand Bakshi who passed away in 2002. He had a career that
spanned over 40 years and some 4000 songs. He worked with
many composers on 100s of films. In the late 60s and into
the 70s Bakshi formed an incredible collaboration with the
composer R.D. Burman where they created some of the all time
greatest songs of Indian popular music. Some of the films
they wrote music and lyrics for were, Kati Patang (1970),
Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), "Amar Prem" (1971), "Bobby"(1973),
and "Amar Akbar Anthony"(1977).
In the film "Amar Prem" (1971) Anand Bakshi shared more
than a musical collaboration with composer R.D. Burman. The
singers Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar gave voice to his
words with the songs picturized over the actors Rajesh Khanna
and Sharmila Tagore. This successful team of song writers,
singers, and actors created film magic during the early 1970s
in a string of popular hits, and also produced some of the
most arresting film song picturizations of cinema history.
One of the great film moments to come out of this union
of music, lyrics, singers, and actors is the song "Chingari
Koi Bhadke To Saawan" from "Amar Prem".
In the film which is a quiet romantic drama reminiscent
of 'woman's weepy' movies that came out of Hollywood in the
1950s. The main protagonist, a woman (Sharmila Tagore) who
has been duped into prostitution forms a romantic partnership
with an alcoholic un-happily married man (Rajesh Khanna).
One evening the man takes the woman on a boat ride in the
city's bay, where as the row-man slowly paddles across the
water, he sings her this song.
The song was one of Bakshi's favorites from this period
and is remembered to this day as a classic. The lyrics are
incredibly fatalistic on first glance. But they fit the mood
and tempo of the film perfectly with the lovers who are reconciled
and resigned to the reality of their impossible relationship.
It sings of situations out of one's control, where destiny
and fate truly hold rule over any power of human will to change.
They also resonate with acceptance and cynical romantic wisdom.
The whims of fate cannot be altered but the moment can be
enjoyed and felt and lived to the fullest. The future is out
of one's hands, but the present moment, that is all that really
matters, that is all one really has, because... "Saawan jo
agan lagaaye, use kaun bujhaaye?"(But if the rains light a
fire, who will put it out?)"
( Even into the late 90s Anand Bakshi wrote lyrics for
some of the biggest films and most memorable soundtracks such
as "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam", "Taal", "Mohabbatein", and "Nayak".)
2: Looking at the song "Chingari Koi Bhadke".