Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It’s Breaking News: The First Song

When Vishal first narrated the script of It's Breaking News, I was as excited as he was. When he offered me the music of the film, I was more than just excited. I was charged! This was something that I always wanted to do - compose music for a Hindi film. He told me that he required a title song for the film and I too thought that it was a good idea to have one. The primary requirement was to get the song written. A typical Hindi film lyric writer with a vocabulary starting with anatomy (dil, jigar, etc.) and ending on metaphysics (Jaaneman, Jaanam, etc.) just wouldn't do! The songs would require a mature sensibility and would have to be an integral part of the story. I was also insistent on the songs having a literary value.

With the kind of budgets that we were working on, somebody like Gulzar or Javed Akhtar was simply out of the question. The only name that struck me was Swanand Kirkire whose lyrics in Hazaaron Khwaahishein Aisi and Parineeta were soul stirring and displayed a kind of wit that I identify with. I managed to get in touch with Swanand Kirkire. He showed keen interest in what I had to say about the film but politely declined saying that he would have liked to write the lyrics but he was at that moment extremely busy with the script and lyrics of Eklavya and Lage Raho Munnabhai, two blockbuster films. There was another thing about Swanand Kirkire that made me feel like working with him. He was not just a lyricist. He is a trained theatre professional. He understands film and drama as a discipline. Much like Javed Akhtar & Gulzar; this sets them apart. Moral of the story was that I was back to square one.

There was a lot of discussion between me and Vishal as to what would be the content of the title song. By definition, Vishal insisted, that the word BREAKING NEWS should be part of the song. Now there was a big problem. I screened a lot of lyricists but none would satisfy me.

It is really strange how ideas come to you…. That is the funny part… It's always ideas coming to you…. You don't go to them! And they come to you simply from anywhere. It was a chance remark by a journalist friend who was goading me into telling him something.

'There are no secrets from friends.' – He remarked.

'… Or from TV journalists!' I quipped. And suddenly the coin dropped. The hidden camera… it does not believe in secrets… I thought to myself. There are enough anti-system songs or even new order songs. To give an example – Woh Subah Kabhi To Aayegi, or Yeh Mahlon, Yeh Takhton, Ye Taajon Ki Duniya(Pyaasa)… or Ushakkal Hota Hota (Marathi). But what would happen if the system had to sing the song of its own power. And the first line came to me. The point of view of the all powerful system.

Raaz ki ik baat kahoon?

Ab koi raaz bacha nahin

Koi Aisa lafz nahin

Jo deewaron ne suna nahin…

Then on the words came like a waterfall.

राज़ की इक बात कहूँ?
अब कोई राज़ बचा नहीं
कोई ऐसा लफ़्ज़ नहीं
जो दीवारों ने सुना नहीं
शीशे के घरों में रहनेवाले
होते नहीं महफ़ूज़…
Breaking News!

हर पल इक पहरा है तेरी तनहाई पे
ऐतबार न करना अपनी परछाई पे

तनहाई हमें मंज़ूर नहीं

रुसवाई तेरी अब दूर नहीं

नज़रें है हमारी चारों तरफ़
और नज़र में तू महबूस…
Breaking News!

चलती हैं गोलियाँ - चलने दो!
जलती हैं बस्तियाँ - जलने दो
शहरों में जुर्म को - पलने दो!
गाँवों से चैन को - ढलने दो!
तोड़ के साहिल सागर को धरती - निगलने दो!
आँखें सब देखती हैं लेकिन

दिल कुछ न करे महसूस…

Breaking News!

The song has two perspectives in it. The first is that the media does not believe in your privacy. And you don't even have to be a celebrity to be a prisoner in the eye of the media. The hidden camera can be trained on every one. Be it a Member of Parliament or a film actor or even a teacher in a school. Technology can be used for fabrication of stories and the reputation you have spent years in building can be razed to the ground in a matter of seconds. The second perspective was that news is making us more and more insensitive. That's the thought in the second verse. And here is the dangerous element of news turning into entertainment. The Times of India carried a picture of an abandoned foetus in a trash can on its first page…. in full colour. It was disgusting. Then a TV channel caught a man burning down in flames as he touched a overhead wire of a railway track. And all this in the guise of a Good Samaritan. That's where the line came from –

Aankhen sab dekhati hain lekin

Dil kuchch na kare mehsoos!

The tune came along with the words. And the song was ready. I got Sameer Mhatre to programme the music for the song, and the next question was the singers. Here, too, my decision was made in a matter of seconds. For the two faces of the system, I needed two voices, a male & a female voice. I also needed a chorus to represent masses among the system. The system is not different from us. We are a part of this system. Hamsika Iyer (she has sung Chanda Re from Eklavya) was a singer that I had worked with extensively and I knew that her voice had a personality. I finalised Bhushan Marathe, a rock singer from Pune to sing the male part of the song. Through my friend Hrishikesh Kamerkar, I got Clinton Cerejo to do the backing vocal arrangements. I present you the result of this endeavour.