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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Himesh has slowed me down

Thanks to Himesh Reshammiya's decision to curtail his work, Bollywood's most prolific lyricist Sameer Anjaan who has written over 5000 songs, has reduced his work load.

"You see Himesh and I had formed a team. I did some of my finest and most popular work recently for Himesh in films from Tere Naam to Aap Ka Surroor.

But now that he has decided to compose only for his own starrers, I too have been forced to slow down. Yes I'm doing the words for Himesh's three films Karz, Kajra Re and A Love Ssssshtory."

For Karz Sameer will re-write the whole Anand Bakshi theme song Ek haseena thi. "I'll take the opening line as a starting point and then weave my own words."

Quite a tribute, coming from a self-confessed fan of Majrooh Sultanpuri and Anand Bakshi.

"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 criticized and condemned for playing to the galleries. But when today Gulzar Saab write populist numbers like Ticket to Hollywood and Beedi he's praised for moving with the times.

When I've been doing the same I was 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 globalization on cinema and our music. That's how today's youngsters speak. That's the spirit one has to capture in our film songs."

Sameer lights up like a gallery of diyas when he talks about his latest triumph in Saawariya.

"By the grace of God, the songs in Saawariya were appreciated for their poetry. When I'm pulled up for the lack of poetry in today's songs I want to know where are the creative artistes like Sanjay Leela Bhansali who demand and expect poetry in their songs?

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 film.

I know my father (Anjaan) wrote poetry like Chandan sa badan in Saraswatichandra. But that was the demand of the times and the character. Today when Sanjay Bhansali offers me a chance to write songs like Jab se tere naina and Sawar sawar gayi I do it happily."

Sameer fondly recalls that historic moment when Sanjay Bhansali called him.

"He told me there are two songs of mine that tilted the scale towards me when there were so many more distinguished poets wanting to do the lyrics of Saawariya. Those songs were Tumse milna baatein karna in Tere Naam and Mohabbatein lutaoonga for Abhijeet Sawant."

Sameer wrote the first lyric Masha Allah for Saawariya in three days. "That's how long it took me to write each of the lyrics for Saawariya. I'm a fast worker. And 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."

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