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Javed Akhtar: 'Fast-paced music, isolation of song from story leave no space for memorable lyrics'

The 78-year-old poet-lyricist has written some immortal lyrics for songs such as Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum for Silsila (1981)

PTI New Delhi Published 28.09.23, 11:59 AM
Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar Instagram

Poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar says lyrics today don't work the way they did earlier because they are not rooted in a film's story and its emotions.

The 78-year-old has written some immortal lyrics for songs such as "Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum" for “Silsila” (1981), “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha” for “1942: A Love Story” (1994), and “Jashn-e-Bahara” for “Jodhaa Akbar” (2008) to name a few.


"It is not that writers can’t write good songs, it’s that they are not getting an opportunity to write good songs. There are a number of reasons why songs have become forgettable. One, the tempo and beat has become very high. Two, most songs are in the background today, there is no lip-sync anymore,” Akhtar told PTI.

Akhtar said that since the songs are no longer a part of the story, they lack personal feelings of sadness, happiness, and heartbreak.

“Songs today are played in a generic situation, it’s playing in the background. Earlier, songs used to capture a particular human emotion and would be part of the story. The character would lip-sync so it used to become a part of the drama. A song was like a scene,” he said.

According to the lyricist, most of the songs are set to high tempo music where the human mind gets only a fraction of seconds to register the word.

“The tempo of songs has become high and frantic that the voice loses its value. Words only go deep into your psyche or your hearing when there is some space for the words. When you have a fraction of seconds to register the word, if the tune is so fast, the words become irrelevant,” Akhtar noted.

He was recently in the city to attend a session and book signing event organised by real estate developer The Anant Raj Corporation (TARC). He talked about his conversational biography “Talking Life”, written by Nasreen Munni Kabir.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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