I am a hunter, she wants to see my gun and Womaniya is what everyone seems to be singing these days. Having liked (or disliked) the notoriously popular songs of Anurag Kashyap’s latest flick, trying to find out their origin becomes essential.
As Gangs of Wasseypur releases today, Metrolife catches up with a lyricist of the film, Varun Grover.
A stand-up comedian Varun also runs an online show titled Jay Hind! and this is not his first outing with lyrics. He had also penned a song for Anurag’s previous film, That Girl in Yellow Boots and has found fame with Gangs… now. “After completing my engineering, I came to Mumbai to become a scriptwriter but couldn’t find any work.” Though he had known Anurag for a long time, it was only after working with him in That Girl… that he voiced his dreams to him, “Anurag has his next script ready even before the first one ends. So I offered to be a lyricist in his next film and he asked me to get in touch with Sneha Khanwalkar (music director).” Varun turned to be the right choice as he was familiar with Bihari culture, “A lot of my classmates were Bihari and I often heard their dialect. My wife is from Bokaro, Jharkhand, a place that I have often visited,” says Varun.
But awareness isn’t enough to beat Anurag’s unusual working style, “Anurag doesn’t give you a brief beforehand. He doesn’t even tell you where the song will be located in the movie. After Bihar ke lala was completed, Anurag thought of assigning it to Manoj Bajpai. Womaniya was composed as a wedding song but it is used by him in a romantic scene as well. The songs are completely integrated in the film and not standalone. They are all used in the background to create the mood.”
But 25 songs is a bit much to be used, even in a Hindi film, no? “Nahin, gaane toh aur zyada banaye they but 4-5 istemal nahi hue. The film lingo is maintained in the songs too. The first part has 13 songs and second part has 12. Some songs are only for 15-20 seconds and will get over even before the audiences realise.”
Varun shares that while the film was being shot in Benaras, songs were being recorded in Patna, Gaya and Muzzafarpur apart from Mumbai. “In other movies, auditions are done for cast, here they were done for singers. Humne ke chodi ke was recorded in a hotel room in Muzzafarpur where a young boy had come with his guruji with other children and we liked his bhajan and voice so much that we recorded it in a dictaphone. The song is used as it is in the film. For Bhoos, we kept searching for somebody in Patna but found the right voice in Mumbai. Gangs… has only four professional singers. Rest of the songs are sung by people who have never seen a recording studio in their life.”
The film also credits the celebrated Piyush Mishra as a lyricist, but this time it is Varun’s compositions which are making news. Womaniya, Jiya tu Bihar ke lala, Bhoos and Hindi lyrics of Hunter are climbing the charts.
Where did Hunter evolve? “Hunter was originally in English by Vedesh Sukoo who is a Carribean ‘Chutney Music’ singer but everybody thought that Hindi lyrics would make it more acceptable so I created them but had to keep up to the filminess of the English lyrics.” And how did he do that? “College me jitni Badtamezein seekhin thi vo sab daal di!”
And isn’t Womaniya a demean song? “Mera khayal me to nahin. Calling women ‘maal’ like Rowdy Rathore kind of films do is demeaning. Womaniya is a stupid and funny song of an arrogant man and should be taken in a very light way, not seriously,” he signs off.