Manoj Muntashir takes on the music mafia in Bollywood
For years now, lyricists of Hindi films have been a neglected lot. This wasn’t so earlier. Songs of stature in the past like Pardeep’s Ae mere watan kelogon,Sahir Ludhianvi’s Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai, Gulzar’s Tum pukar lo tumahara intezaar hai were instantaneously associated with and identified by their lyricists along with the composers and singers.
Not so any longer. For a hit song Main phir bhi tumko chahunga in the forthcoming Half Girlfriend lyricist Manoj Muntashir had to protest on a public platform for being left out of the publicity. “I don’t know why certain people can’t accept an age old fact that lyricists have an equal amount of contribution in making a song successful. Try singing only the tune of Kabhi Kabhi mere dil me khayal aatahai...How long will it sustain in your senses? Any song which is big, is a proof of the excellence which a poet has contributed to it,” Muntashir said angrily.
However he would like to give director Mohit Suri the benefit of the doubt in this case. “Many times director sends credits, but RJs on radio shows don’t thinks its important to name the lyricist.In my case also, my name is everywhere still a major newspaper writes, Phir bhi tumko chahoonga is a masterpiece by Mithoon and Arjit. Shame!16 years back when I wrote this song, I didn’t even know Mithoon or Arjit Singh or Mohit Suri.it looks like during my times, lyricists have been reduced to clerks. We are not important,” he said.
Muntashir feels poets and lyricists stay silent when sidetracked by the music industry for fear of losing out on their work. “Since most of the lyricists live in constant fear of losing out on work or being sidelined by the makers, they choose to take all the pain and not even cry. I guess, times have changed now. I am not insecure. I am here because of my work, as long as my words keep favouring me, I am not afraid of raising my voice on wrong practices,” he said.
Muntashir is not taking the slight from the “Half Girlfriend” team lying down. “I have spoken to producers Balaji and Mohit Suri . They are very much in my favour. My shout is not against any person or production house in particular.It’s against the general mindset. Newspapers conveniently choose to ignore the lyricists credit. Radio channels play the song praising the singer and composer but forget where has the song gotten its name from,” he said.
Muntashir feels it’s time lyricists stopped being ignored. “We are a country where we wake up every morning singing the hyms written by the greatest poet ever born... Tulsidas. Yet we make the legends like Nirala and Ghalib die down in poverty and anonymity.”
Then to avoid further trouble he ends. “Just for the record... Things have totally been sorted out between me, Mohit and Balaji. There is no bad vibes now. We are all working towards making Half Girlfriend a huge success. I am sure people will love it when its out in theatres.As for not being given proper credits, there are people who refuse to go to grave without making their voice being heard,” he said.