Penning away to glory

songwriter

Penning away to glory
I think it’s important to be silly at times. Being silly is wise,” says Abhiruchi Chand, writer of the foot-tapping song ‘Buddhu Sa Mann’ that continues to be quite a chartbuster at parties. “The paagals, badtameezes and kameenas had all been taken. Thankfully, buddhu had been spared,” says Chand, who has pocketed this year’s Mirchi Music award for Upcoming Lyricist of the Year for the same song.

“When I finished writing it, I spent quite a few sleepless nights hoping that this quintessential keyword had not been used elsewhere. And it hadn’t,” smiles Chand. “I think that’s because it uses the lingo of today, so people relate to it.”

The first few lines of the song, she says, had actually been written more than a year ago. “It had even been set to music by Amaal Mallik. And when Dharma Productions was looking for a happy song for Rishi Kapoor’s 90th birthday in Kapoor & Sons, they zeroed in on this one,” she says.

Writing, says Chand, had been in her genes, courtesy her parents, both of whom were professors at college. “My mother, who is now no more, left behind a plethora of her work, including poetry and plays (that I hope to direct some day),” says the young lyricist, remembering the time her mother had even won a car in an all-India slogan-writing contest.

Despite the fact that writing for Hindi cinema had always been on her radar, Chand spent the first few years of her professional life with a mainstream paper in Delhi. “I was writing on films and kept mulling on my dream of writing for them for quite a while,” says the ex-journo.

The feeling would get reinforced when she would watch films like Jab We Met. “I’d tell myself that this kind of dialogue writing is more my cup of tea,” she says. Finally, sure that it was a ‘now or never time’, she packed her bags and moved to the city of dreams. “And no, there were no apprehensions, not just because I had no godfather in the industry but also because I had nothing to lose. I could always get back in case things didn’t work out,” she adds.

But they did. It all started with Chand getting to write a scene for a film, which unfortunately didn’t see the light of day. “But since what I had written got me a fair amount of appreciation, I took it as a learning exercise. It taught me a lot about the way film dialogue writing is done,” she explains.

With the world of showbiz slowly opening up for her, soon Chand was also trying her hand at jingles and tracks for films. And today, her six-year repertoire includes the lyrics of ‘Yeh Hai Aashiqui’ (the title song of the Bindaas TV show), the peppy ‘Choti Choti Khushiyon Pe Dil Maare Chalang’, ad jingles like the touching Samsung ad and a song for NH10.

“I often like to think that I was meant to be part of the film industry, which is why things just fell into place,” smiles Chand. And now, working with some of the contemporary ‘hotshot filmmakers’ like Karan Johar and Nikkhil Advani, she says that “the challenge ahead is to continue making the right choices. In fact, there’s so much pressure now to choose only good projects.”

Ask her about those who run down today’s lyrics citing examples of the masterpieces of yesteryear, and this admirer of stalwarts like Majrooh Sultanpuri, Anand Bakshi, Gulzar, says, “There’s no denying that the music pattern then was very melodious. Those songs mirror the attitudes and times they were created in. Today’s music is about what clicks now, it reflects the times we live in today,” she says.

And she’s glad that the current times and her chosen profession have given her not just flexible hours, but also the choice to work from home. “I don’t have to worry about getting dressed and rushing out. I can lounge around in the house in casuals and work happily at my own pace,” she laughs. And where does she get her inspiration from? Pat comes the reply, “Deadlines — probably because being an ex-journo, that’s how it works with me.”

Chand talks about how one has to always keep one’s eyes and ears open. “Sometimes, the most amazing dialogues or words for songs come to you from the most innocuous of conversations, or something you happen to overhear in passing. That’s why I always keep a notebook handy,” she signs off.

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