Popularly known as Kumaar in the Bollywood music space, it has been almost 20 years for lyricist Rakesh Kumaar. Did you know that his first hit track was Ishq Tera Tadpave (2000) from an album of Sukhbir? The Kar Gayi Chull, Baby Doll, Sooraj Dooba Hai, Tujhe Bhula Diya hitmaker who was born and brought up in Punjab, has a flare of the Punjabi language inherently. Most of his words have a strong influence of the vividness of the lingo. We caught up with the man of verse Kumaar who was humming the song Jo Bheji Thi Dua in between our conversation.
To the known and unknown, while a lyricist pens the lyrics of a song, the method varies for different individuals. Also, it depends on the producer/s, director of the film before they rope in the lyricist. Talking about it Kumaar said, “I am mostly called for penning down words for party numbers and people say hit gaana likhna. Most of the times the melodies are ready. In rare situations I get to know the state of affairs. To be honest, I do not like scripted songs.”
“Being a Punjabi I have a knack for the language as you would expect, but my Hindi is not as good as my mother tongue. And, there have been instances where I had to let go of a few films because I was not that smooth-spoken in Hindi,” added one of the well-known writers of commercial Hindi cinema melodies.
Let me break the order as Kumaar said, the first thing is the piece of music. Most of the times the tune is ready, and then they create the lyrics around it. “It is easier if I catch the hook line of the song as that is the only way to connect to the audience. Pehele poochte the mukhra kya hai, ab poochte hai hook line kya hai. The whole industry is working like that,” he stated with a smirk.
While talking about his best works, how he puts down those beautiful words, Kumaar told us whenever he is writing a song, he makes sure that it should connect to the audience. After working with renowned composers like Gourov-Roshin, Vishal Dadlani, Pritam, Amaal Mallik, Rochak Kohli among others, Kumaar still believes that his best work is yet to happen. “Aaj tak jitney bhi kaam maine kiya hai, woh zarurat pe kiya hai, meri khwaish ka dhun abhi bhi baki hai” said he. The utter desire of doing something for his own was visible in his eyes.
Giving me an example of his previous work Baby Doll that he wrote for Ragini MMS 2, he said he knew that Sunny Leone will be featuring in lead role and it was effortless for him. Baby Doll was an urban Sufi Punjabi dance number and he wrote that song in just ten minutes while seating with the composers Meet Bros, Anjjan. “Mujhe nahi pata hai kya likh raha hoon, baithe baithe gana banaya. But, behind those ten minutes there was a practise of quite a few years, moreover it was not only me, as there were others involved too. I have been running away from books, towards the dream. At times I feel there is someone who is making me do it. I don’t have khazana and I don’t like using heavy words in writing, chhotey chhotey shabdo mein I try to put my heart and soul in my verses.
Talking about one of his favourite tracks for all time Jo Bheji Thi Dua and Sooraj Dooba, Kumaar said that he is a ‘Composer’s Lyricist’. However, he has an ear for songs which are about friendship, time, life, and not only just peppy love and romantic songs. Such ironies!
Here is what he penned down for us
To finish Kumaar said that everyone is talented, but observation is the inspiration of a talent. “I have been lucky that my mother tongue has given me so much. I feel worthy whenever I get the gratitude for my songs. We all will analyse the songs after 40 years, as it takes time to strike your heart. It is a process.” He signs off.