In the mille of controversy that revolved around AAJA NACH LE, one important thing that has emerged from the movie is that now we have got a writer in the form of Jaideep Sahni who can write lyrics for Hindi films in English. The opening song of the film is all English and it has happened probably only for the second time that a whole song in English has been picturised in a Hindi film, the first instance being ‘My heart is beating’ from JULIE whose song was written by Harindra Nath Chattopdhyaya, one of the patriarchs of Indian cinema and brother of Sarojini Naidu.
Lyrics off late have been an admixture of English and Hindi, or Hinglish so to say, and this has been the off-shoot of the paradigm shift that has occurred in the people are conversing amongst themselves. It is majorly in Hinglish and as a result Hinglish is slowly replacing the Urdu that was the characteristic of Hindi film music. Is it an indication of the fact that good quality lyrics writers are not present or that appreciation about the good lyrics is not of the same quality as there is an appreciation for the Hinglish style? Were one to glance through the newspapers and magazines it is considered innovative to have a slug or the punch line in a different language than the language in which the content of the magazine or the newspapers is present, to appear different from the crowd.
The generational shift that has occurred in the lyric writing is also an indication about the emergence of a country that is becoming international in its approach and therefore it desires that its quotient of entertainment should be laced with sporadic doses of the language that this generation speaks, aka Hinglish. As per the latest reports of AAJA NACH LE, it has generated more revenue overseas than it has done in India and could the lyrics of the film, have a contributory role to play.
Kishore Kumar was the first man in the Hindi film industry who sang a song ‘Mad and Cat’, which could also be considered as the first rap as the lyrics resonated to the beat of rap. Then after a long hiatus cam AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY and its song ‘My name is Anthony Gonsalves’, which became a raging hit. It was followed by the title song of SHAAN, which had Usha Uthup crooning in the background in English, and in fact among the female singers Usha Uthup can be credited to have given voice to quite a lot of songs, which were Hinglish in composition. Amitabh Bachchan rapped to one of the songs in SHARAABI, ‘10 ‘O’ clock in my house’, in English and Dev Anand came out with his own version of English song in SWAMI DADA. The trickle slowly became a deluge and now one film or the other has a song, which has few English words. The acme of the same can be said to have achieved in LAGAAN, where a European lady was singing a song in English, and the same happened in KISNA as well.
Lyrics have indeed come a long way and may be the time is not too far-off in the near future where we may have a film with all its songs in English and that would indeed be a day when the Hindi film could claim the mantle of becoming truly international. The new generation of directors, take notice.