Lyricists deserve the same credit as composers, singers get: Mehboob

Lyricist Mehboob talks about the difference in how songs were made earlier. It also explains why in a time of short music life, his tracks Tu Hi Re and Chand Chupa Badal Mein continue to be loved.

He wrote songs for iconic films such as Bombay (1995), rangeela (1995) and Hum Dil From Chuke Sanam (1999), among others. Ask lyricist Mehboob which project is closest to his heart and he replies: “Since I started my career with Bombay and Rangeela, they are extremely special to me. They gave me an identity. I remember at the time of rangeelaI met AR Rahman (composer) and he offered me Bombay. It was a proud moment for me, because these projects brought me a lot of success and fame.

Although he is happy with his journey in the industry so far, he feels there is a lack of credit, which needs to be corrected. When singing Tanha Tanha Yahan Pe Jeena (Rangeela), Asha (Bhosle, singer) didi said, ‘Agar music jism hota hai to singer zubaan aur lyricist ruh hote hain. Ruh nahin toh kuch nahin.’ I think lyricists deserve the same kind of recognition and credit as composers and singers. The role of a lyricist is as important as one or the other”, explains the sexagenarian.

Most movie songs are known to have a short shelf life these days. But his figures such as Tu Hi Re, Rangeela title song, Hum Dil From Chuke Sanam title track and Chand Chupa Badal Mein, among others, have acquired cult status. So much so that they also resonate with young people today. Mehboob says, “They instantly connect with your heart and soul. At that time, we were doing a lot of romantic songs that had beautiful lyrics, amazing melody and compositions, and fabulous vocals. It made them timeless.

He says the atmosphere inside a recording studio plays a huge role in defining a song’s longevity. “The music is good even today, but the music of the 80s or 90s was full of beautiful melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Back then, musicians and songwriters would sit together for about five hours and discuss the situation and rhythm of a song. It was so much fun. I miss it,” he concludes.

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