Amitabh Bhattacharya: Karan Johar Approved ‘Channa Mereya’ & ‘Bulleya’ The Moment He Heard The Song

As Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil enters the 100 crore club in India today, here’s what film’s lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya has to say about its music which played a crucial role in the film’s success

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Amitabh Bhattacharya: Karan Johar Approved ‘Channa Mereya’ & ‘Bulleya’ The Moment He Heard The Song

Amitabh Bhattacharya has been in the industry for about eight years. The lyricist for the first time worked with Karan Johar closely for his directorial venture  Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which has entered the 100 crore club in India today! Music has played a big role in the film’s success. So, met with the lyricist of the film-Amitabh Bhattacharya for a quick chat. Read on...

A big role in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’s success has been credited to its music and songs.  When you met Karan Johar for the first time, what brief did he give you?
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was a romantic film so obviously we were asked to make the songs keeping in mind the flavour of the film. He then narrated the script and gave us the situation of the songs and it was a standard procedure we followed.

All the songs you wrote were approved in the first go by Karan Johar?
Yes mostly. Actually when you work with Pritam Da, he likes having a few options for one situation while presenting a song to the director. So we had a couple of options for the title track and other songs, but whatever was presented to Karan for the first time, it all got approved.  ‘Channa Mereya’, ‘Bulleya’ and the title track were the first ones to get approved last year. ‘Cutiepie’ happened later.

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Image Source:Box Office India

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was one of the most anticipated project of the year, do you feel that it was a big responsibility?
It is always a big responsibility and the same is for every film. I might have not written for Karan directly but I have written a lot of songs for Dharma Production. The final music of the films under Dharma is always approved by Karan. But for me, I have always worked with this team. There was no additional pressure for this project but yes there is a responsibility because you are doing one of the most awaited films of the year, with a big star cast and various other reasons.

Your last project Dilwale didn’t do well at the BO whilst your song ‘Gerua’ went on to become an extremely famous number. How difficult is it for an artist when the song becomes a hit but the film doesn’t do well?
There are times when the film doesn’t work but our song becomes popular, then as an artiste we do feel bad. But then I also think that the people from the rest of the departments suffer much more than the music department. Whether it is the art department, dialogue writer, scriptwriter, director they bear the maximum brunt.

Your song ‘Gerua’ from Dilwale was compared to ‘Suraj Hua Madham’ from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Do you think that your song was unable to compete with the latter?
Comparisons are bound to happen and every song has its own destiny. The songs have an individual identity and are made for a script.  I can’t say that which one is better because I am no one to compare.

It is said that the songs today are meaningless unlike the ones made in yesteryears, what would you say to this?
A lot of people say this but I find a lot of meaningful lyrics around. The only thing is there is a lot of variety i.e. you might have a naughty song or a sarcastic track but I feel there are meaningful lyrics.  On the contrary, I would say the lyrics have become more real and they match the character of the film. Also a lot depends on the taste of the listeners. What if they don’t understand meaningful songs or do not wish to hear these songs. If you talk about yesteryears then we do not have composers like them, same goes for the actors and scriptwriters. With changing times human expression has branched out and has evolved. I do agree that mediocrity and shallowness has crept in but everything has pros and cons.

No of songs in a film have been reduced. Do you think that is leaving lyricists with less work?
I feel it’s the other way round as there is a lot of music being made with many new people coming in. As far as the reducing number of songs is concerned, it is happening because the scripts are becoming tighter and one cannot put in ten songs in a two hour film. The attention span has also gone down and it is difficult to grip the audiences for three hours. According to me if the song is not weaved into the story properly then the impact of the track reduces.

Who is your bouncing board before you take the lyrics to the composer or a filmmaker?
I am my own bouncing board. I haven’t gone to anyone other than my composer with the song asking him or her to give the feedback. Whatever I present to my composer or a filmmaker is always refined by me.

There are filmmakers who reject the lyrics. Do you comply with what he/she wants?
Mostly I write as per the brief of the song, so there is a slim chance of a director rejecting a song completely. We do have discussions on what is good and what is bad and take a decision unanimously, keeping the creative elements alive and at the same time doing what the song requires.  There are times that the song is not liked by a composer or a director in the first go but a couple of days later they start liking the same track.

What do you think about the concept of multi-composers?
Personally, I feel that one film needs to have only one composer and one lyricist because the person who is making or writing the track already knows the flavour of the film. However, a lot of people work with multiple composers because it works for them.

Over the span of eight years, you have not worked frequently with big filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali any particular reason for the same?
For me it is not about a big banner but about the subject that I am working on. I had written lyrics for a couple of films produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali – My Friend Pinto (2011) and Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (2012). I also did a film called Ferrari Ki Sawaari (2012) which was produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. So, it’s about how correct I am for the film.

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Image Source:Google

Your last film with Yash Raj Films was Dhoom 3, where in you wrote only one song- ‘Kamli’. Post which you haven’t worked with YRF, do you think Dhoom 3 was a lost opportunity?
Yes, I agree that I haven’t worked for Yash Raj very frequently but one of my first films with the banner was Band Baaja Baaraat which happens to be a landmark in my career. Then I did Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl (2011). I was supposed to write for Dhoom 3 as well but due to some reasons I didn’t. I am working on Vijay Krishna Acharya’s next film Thug, which is produced by Yash Raj. So I have had a gap of a couple of years or so. But was it a lost opportunity? I would say that it was not meant to happen!

Thumbnail Image Source:cloud front, Manav Maglani & verveonline

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