Lyricist Mehboob: the line between film music and independent music has blurred lately


The line between film music and independent music has blurred lately, says lyricist Mehboob, who has more than 25 years of experience in the film industry. Asked if the lack of good lyrics may be a reason why film music has less of an impact on people these days, Mehboob told IANS: “Yes absolutely! In the 90s, the songs attracted people. Mainly, I think it was because of the good melody, good lyrics, good thoughts and poetry put into a song. I think today, in these fast times, the lines between film music and independent music have blurred.

“It can be a single chosen by a producer or a retro, the lyricist and the musical director must provide keeping in mind the situation told by the director. So here, the producer blames the audience because that’s what he wants and in turn, the audience blames the producer and the director because that’s what they were served. Basically, it’s a chicken and egg situation where no one can be blamed,” Mehboob explained.

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The 59-year-old lyricist wrote lyrics for some of the best film music albums of the 1990s and early 2000s, including ‘Bombay’, ‘Rangeela’ and ‘Yuva’. “My Bollywood journey was a typical film journey, full of ups and downs and spinning in circles. It was 12 years of struggle before I became big. Then there was a phase where there was a big drop due to my health and now I’m here,” he said.

A lot of changes have taken place in the industry in the 25 years since he started working — socializing has diminished and the concept of musical grounding has disappeared, notes Mehboob. He said: “Yes, the industry has changed a lot. Previously, we had a lot of music sessions and then we would come to the final version of the song. Now, with digital media, everything is online. Tunes and lyrics are exchanged online and even singers receive freebies online.

Lyricists Mehboob. IANS

So effectively the concept of seated music is gone. There are pros and cons to everything if you see. It’s a lot more time saving but a lot less socializing. Work-wise, Mehboob is once again collaborating with music composer AR Rahman for the upcoming film “Heropanti 2”.

Confirming the same and growing nostalgic about his past association with the Oscar-winning music composer, Mehboob said, “Yes, we are collaborating again for Heropanti 2 but we have already worked together on many movies. We started with Bombay, Rangeela, then we went to Daud, Thakshak, Doli Saja Ke Rakhna, Yuva and I think one of our biggest hits was Maa Tujhe Salaam: Vande Mataram.

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“As for working with him, he’s really fun, he always works night shifts which also gives us a chance to chat, talk a lot about various issues and then get back to work. I’m having a lot of fun and we’re like family now, we’ve moved into the composer and lyricist equation phase. Twenty-five years is a long time to get to that point in our relationship,” he added.

Asked if he’d like to share any advice for budding writers and lyricists, he smiled. “This year I’ve completed 25 years in the industry, so I think as a senior lyricist I’m qualified enough to give them some advice. First, educate yourself and make your vocabulary your greatest strength. Second, becoming a director’s writer. Both of those things have worked for me and I’m sure it will work for budding lyricists too! (IANS/SP)


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