IPRS-MCAI join hands for World Music Day to tell stories of songs

The World Music Day panel included Sameer Anjaan, Raju Singh, Merlin D’Souza, Anand-Milind,m Rajshekhar and Mayur Puri. Rakesh Anand Bakshi was also on the dais. Photo: Rajiv Vijayakar

On World Music Day, June 21, the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and Music Composers’ Association of India (MCAI) joined hands for a super show conceived by noted classical luminary, Pt. Somesh Mathur, ‘Story of a Song’, at the Mumbai Music Institute. Music and stories merged, creating an unforgettable experience, as the invite stated. The event can also be seen on the IPRS’ Facebook page and on YouTube.

Do we ever find ourselves humming our favorite tunes, wondering about the effort and creativity that goes into crafting these unforgettable melodies and lyrics? The heartbreaks, the challenges, the joys and tribulations of creating a song that is heard and enjoyed in a mere five minutes or less without knowing how much brainstorming, troubles and pains went into the final product were highlighted in this delightful musical and story session. The evening was anchored with just the right mix of humor and seriousness by lyricist and writer, Mayur Puri, while a small orchestra of two musicians and two singers came in to make contributions when needed.

Organized by Rumpa Banerjee of the IPRS, the show boasted of an eclectic panel that included lyricists Sameer Anjaan and Rajshekhar, composers Anand-Milind and Raju Singh, composer-music producer Merlin D’Souza and Rakesh Anand Bakshi, son of the legendary lyricist Anand Bakshi.

Surprisingly, Pt. Somesh did not include himself on this distinguished panel. Also present in the audience were composers Indrajit ‘Tubby’ Sharma, Vivek Prakash, Mame Khan, Justin-Uday, Viveick Rajagopalan, music publisher Atul Churamani and others.

The discussion covered lyrics and music in cinema, the unreasonable and reasonable pressures, the complex problems of filmmakers’ perceptions and fixed notions, the contingencies of deadlines and the importance of doing the right thing in words and tunes as per the needs of a situation in films, ads, television or even theater.

Rakesh Anand Bakshi mentioned how Mahesh Bhatt, who had a habit of talking in English, was detailing a situation in Zakham, his semi-autobiographical film, to his father, Anand Bakshi. The situation had to do with a father visiting his son, and the filmmaker told his lyricist that in real life, “My father would visit me once in a blue moon!” Immediately, Bakshi seized the phrase and wrote the song, Jaane kitne dinon ke baad / Gali mein aaj chand nikla / Tum aaye to aaya mujhe yaad / Gali mein aaj chand nikla!

Adding to this, veteran Sameer Anjaan stated that it was Bhatt who insisted that his song, Ghunghat ki adh se from Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, was approved—it proved a chartbuster. He pointed out that Mahesh’s brother, Mukesh Bhatt, and everyone else had rejected the song as they felt (30 years ago!) that the word ‘adh’ would not be “understood” by the people, and Bhatt had told Nadeem-Shravan, the composers, and Sameer that Mukesh only understood business and not the creatives!

Other incidents were also narrated by Raju Singh, a specialist at background music for movies and TV, who has also composed songs and TV serial title-tracks. He demonstrated vocally how he would create BGM for an action sequence in a famous Hollywood martial arts film (which was played silently for this purpose) and after this, made the enthralled audience listen to the actual and completely incongruous score! This spotlighted the importance of correct BGM, he stated.

Merlin spoke about work in the ad film world and music for theatre, as well as her first job as producer in films for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…, and Anand-Milind spoke about their happy and sad experiences since they turned composers in the 1980s and what has changed for the worse since their father, legendary composer Chitragupta’s, times.

Rajshekhar narrated humorous incidents in his career, including the way director Aanand L. Rai asked him to write lyrics for Tanu Weds Manu, though he was never a poet or writer and had come to Mumbai to become an assistant director!

But the most important common thread that went through all the speakers’ stories was the urge to make people aware that a song they loved had a story behind it that could involve weeks of effort. And that it was abominable that while a song was known by its actor, singer and film, the composers and writers who had created it got short shrift. Sameer reiterated his recent stand that posters and ads of movies today also never mentioned the composer and lyricist, which was criminal, he declared. Till about two decades back, pictures of composers and lyricists were a must on inlays of music albums and sometimes even on film posters.

The panel pledged to fight for their rights and implored all listeners to demand that they know the creators and to give them importance even on social media because the singers, stars and films would have nothing to sing or enact if the creators did not do their jobs!

June 21 also happened to be the 65th ‘birthday’ of the MCAI, which began life as the Cine Music Directors’ Association (CMDA) and a cake was cut especially for the occasion as the culmination to an evening of entertainment and some amazing enlightenment.



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