Fast Forward to Folksy Music

Fast Forward to Folksy Music

Bollywood’s latest foot-tapping numbers bring back the appeal of shaayari,qawwali and folk songs.

When Sneha Khanvalkar was asked to compose the music for Gangs of Wasseypur,she set off to the interiors of Bihar. Understanding and experiencing the sound and music of the state dominated her travel plan. After spending considerable time there,Khanvalkar’s brief to lyricist Varun Grover was to “make use of the Bhojpuri dialect in the songs while keeping the lyrics simple for rest of the country to understand”. In the album,one can hear Khanvalkar experiment with folk singers,croon to a reggae-style number,and use folk lyrics in a techno-heavy track. “It is rooted and quirky,” says Grover.

As the action in films moves to the interiors of India,music too is adapting traditional,folksy and,at times,classical forms. Teri Meri

Kahaani banks on shaayari and qawwali while Ishaqzaade’s lyrics are peppered with muhavras. This apart,Rowdy Rathore,Gangs of Wasseypur and Shanghai bring out an earthy flavour with folksy tunes and lines. Interestingly,this is happening after the industry has experimented with western-influenced music for more than a decade now.

“After a point,we all need a change,” says lyricist Irshad Kamil,whose work in Rockstar was highly appreciated. “We have sung in many different languages,infused English terms in Hindi lyrics. However,in the end it is our culture that remains important to us,” he adds.


Prasoon Joshi has often tried to retain the flavour of Urdu and the touch of shaayari in his writings with Fanaa and Delhi-6. He has attempted that once again with Teri Meri Kahaani. “This movie lends itself to lyrics like these. It is divided into three different periods. Hence,it gave me the chance to revisit shaayari and qawwali,which the youngsters of today may not even be aware of,” he says. But the songs have caught on. A case in point is Mukhtasar mulaqat hai. “The song is for today’s youth. They like to hang out,drink and make merry,” he adds.

Writer-director Habib Faisal attributes the current trend in lyrics to the changes that Indian cinema is witnessing. “When you have a film based in a remote area in India,you want the sounds and lyrics to resonate the voice of that India,” says he. For instance,Hua chokra jawaan re is a typical rustic number. Kamil feels the focus is also more on rustic characters today. “Jordan in Rockstar is from Pitampura. So whatever he sings,has to be in tune with his character,” says Kamil.

Joshi stresses on the tunes connecting with the youth of today,who form the major market. “When I write,I know I couldn’t use words which wouldn’t connect with the youngsters today. In Teri Meri Kahaani’s Jab se mere dil ko uff,I focus on ‘uff’ which was typical of Shammi Kapoor in the ’70s. But it is also something the youth use even today,” says he. Like him,Kamil too wants to strike a chord with youngsters. “My song from Cocktail,Tum hi ho bandhu features three friends based in the UK. But it has words like sakha and bandhu,which Indian youngsters can relate to,” says he.