Here are some of my most favorite lyrics penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya, one of Hindi cinema’s most sought after songwriters today.
1. Bulleya (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)
It is impossible to come up with a more apt description for Bulle Shah than Ranjhan de yaar (friend of lovers). Ayan’s restlessness and yearning for contentment form the basis of this song. Amitabh tackles the complex feeling of being lost from two sides here. One is the jilted lover Ayan, another is a woman who has excoriated love from her life. The words convey a beautiful contradiction: Ayan implores to explore life with his murshid (teacher) Saba while the murshid herself is surrendering to love once again.
Ve main taan hoon pagdandi Labhdi ae jo raah jannat di
Tu mude jahan main saath mud jaaun
2. Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin (Agneepath)
Words couldn’t have better captured the anxiety one feels when something good happens. The anxiety of losing it all the next moment. The words give you the feeling of holding a newly born in your arms. You feel happy and content but the fear of it all ending the next second gnaws at your mind. Amitabh evokes both wonder and nervousness of finding something beautiful and feeling responsibility towards it, through this gem of a song.
Kuch aise hi ab mehsoos dil ko ho raha hai,
Barso ke purane zakhm pe marham laga sa hai
3. Kabira (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani)
Amitabh gives an entirely new perspective as we feel the emotions of the family accusing saint Kabir (famous poet and philosopher) who gave up regular life to find the higher truth. The lyrics fit perfectly in the situation of the film as everyone tries to cajole Kabir to be unselfish for once. Amitabh questions if finding enlightenment in return for giving so much pain and suffering to loved ones is worth it. Your home needs you more than anything in this world.
Mast Maula mast kalandar,
Tu hawa ka ek bawandar,
Bujh ke yun andar hi andar, kyun rahega
4. Channa Mereya (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)
Didn’t Karan Johar pull out the best from Arijit in his latest Ae Dil Hai Mushkil? The heart-wrenching sadness of letting go of your lover is as much a consequence of the lyrics as it is of Arijit’s voice. Notice how it is Channa Mereya i.e. my moon which is to say that Alizeh will always remain Ayan’s love even though he is giving her away to someone else. The lyrics make you relive all the beautiful moments you’ve spent with someone you had to bid goodbye to.
Mehfil mein teri hum na rahe to, gam to nahi hai, gam to nahi hai
Kisse hamari nazdeekiyon ke kam to nahi hai, kam to nahi hai
5. Zinda (Lootera)
A defeated person’s yearning to be left alone is perfectly captured in Zinda. This song can fit in virtually any scenario in your life – breakup, failing an exam, getting fired or even death of a loved one. Sometimes we feel like it should be enough for the world if we’re just alive. The burden of expectations weighing us down can be disconcerting but the lyrics revive our spirits with the hope of life saluting us on our deathbed. Amitabh conveys the gratitude towards life for everything it has given us.
Kabr par mere, sar uthake khadi ho zindagi, aise marna hai mujhe
6. Bangur (I Am)
One of the most underrated songs of all time is from a lesser-known film called I Am. The words slither around your neck as you empathize with the woman, trapped in a bangur (bird cage), who is contemplating breaking the shackles of society. It is as much a plea for escape as a remembrance of times when the world wasn’t so suffocating. Amitabh succeeds in making you lose all hope yet leaves a dim positive light as you navigate through the complex song.
Neendon ke sandukon mein, kabhi son eke sapne the
Aaj petal ke tukdo ko mohtaj rehti hai
Amitabh provided the ultimate gym song with Dangal. Just put your headphones on and listen to this song while you are working out. You won’t believe the kind of confidence you get as Daler Mehndi says Aankh se uski aankh milake bhid jaane ka naam hai pyare dangal dangal. It’s become an anthem of sorts as the words give you the strength to say bring it on to the biggest calamities. Failure and success is irrelevant here. It’s the willingness to fight which is evoked through Amitabh’s genius lyrics. It’s your story and nobody else should tell you how to write it.
Bheed ki hahakar ke badle, sher ki ek dahad hai pyare, dangal dangal.
By Shridhar Kulkarni