Having been a student of Hindi literature and someone with a doctorate in Hindi, lyricist-poet Irshad Kamil loves the language. On Hindi Diwas today, the 54-year-old talks about the presence of Hindi in Bollywood and how it can be ameliorated.
On presence of Hindi in Bollywood music:
Today, every music creator is making music for a pan-India audience. While music has no boundaries, language does. In this scenario, there are two three languages in which you can communicate with a wider audience — Hindi, English and Punjabi. So, in today’s Hindi film music, the presence of Hindi is major, but it co-exists with English, Punjabi and Bhojpuri.
On surge of Punjabi in film music and if it has put Hindi on the backseat:
Punjabi music has been a part of Hindi film music for ages now. There are two major reasons for that. Firstly, Punjabi music is majorly beat based, and the entertainment industry needs that kind of beat and vibrancy to compel you to dance. Secondly, Punjab has given so much talent to the Hindi film industry. Music directors like Gulam Haider, Hansraj Behl, Madan Mohan, and OP Nayyar, and lyricists like Sahir Ludhianvi, Rajinder Krishan, Gulshan Bawra, Anand Bakshi, Gulzar and I belong to Punjab. When a person travels, his language travels, too.
On how the existence of Hindi in films can be improved:
I think steps have been taken to better the presence of Hindi in our film industry. Now film titles and credits are in Hindi too, which is a good move. I feel to better things further, directors can create more situations where only Hindi can be used for lyrics and dialogues. Scriptwriters can come up with more interesting stories of interior India. We can also make more original Indian music, rather than aping English beats. I wish that someday we could create music free from the burden of reels, shorts or TikTok, etc.
On whether the millennials and Gen Z stand a chance of losing touch with Hindi due to the absence of proper Hindi in film and non-film music:
These days, parents send their children to schools where speaking in English is compulsory; where students are fined if they talk in Hindi. Our children are in schools where Hindi is an optional language along with Spanish or French, and we are expecting that the Hindi film industry should teach them Hindi! Hindi films and music should be the torchbearer and take the initiative to connect them with the language. I feel Hindi film and non-film music is fairly playing this part also. There are so many youngsters who are learning new words of Hindi through film music.
As told to Soumya Vajpayee