Screenwriter and lyricist Prasoon Joshi feels songs in Bollywood have been reduced solely for entertainment purpose. Joshi says India has seen several poetry movements in various languages, all of which contributed a lot to the poetry culture. “We live in a country where several kinds of poetries have happened, at various level, some poetry movements have happened. I tell a lot of my song writer friends, if you talk about Bollywood today the songs have almost reduced to entertainment,” he said.
“Entertainment was definitely part of it, that is the way it was kept alive, but there was a huge purpose to it… poetry had a very different purpose. It was like a capsule where you kept a lot of wisdom alive,” he added. Joshi was speaking in a panel discussion ‘The verse case scenario- Should songwriters be considered poets?’ at the seventh edition of ‘Tata Literature Live’ festival, here.
Last month, the Swedish Academy, which awards the literature Nobel, announced that the songwriter Bob Dylan would be the 2016 laureate “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” While many fans were excited over the news, some believed that the prize should go only to people who practise literature as literature, in the form of books or poems or plays.
Joshi says many prolific poets like Sahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Azmi wrote songs in films, making the distinction between
poetry and song writing impossible. When asked, what is the difference between a poem and a song, Prasoon said, “We can’t so narrowly define that in India. Somehow it is assumed that music is a crutch in a song. It has a support system which poetry doesn’t. But if you look at Mirza Ghalib’s work, all the ghazals he wrote, he didn’t write it for any musical purpose.”
“His prolific work was read first, and enjoyed by whole generation of people as a written text. Here comes music, and people start composing that. How do you judge a piece of work like that? “If you say songs are different from poetries my you’d be doing gross injustice to these people (legendary poets). There has to be dynamism… Art is not static. It is
constantly redefining itself,” added Joshi. Along with the “Rang De Basanti” lyricist, also present in the panel were British novelist Martin Amis and English poet and playwright Simon Armitage. It was chaired by filmmaker Paromita Vohra.