Interview Hindi

Lyricist Sameer on 25 years of Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke: There will be a time when the melody will return


On the film’s 25th anniversary, the veteran lyricist spoke to us about the film’s music, writing his award-winning song ‘Ghoonghat Ki Aad Se Dilbar Ka’ and the need to understand the film’s story and situation.

Sonal Pandya

The feel-good family film of 1993 was Mahesh Bhatt's Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke. Produced by Tahir Husain, the film was an unofficial remake of the 1958 Hollywood film Houseboat starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren where a single father with three children ends up hiring a runaway daughter of an Italian orchestra conductor.

The Hindi remake starred Husain's son Aamir Khan (who also co-wrote the script) and Juhi Chawla. Khan was a young man, Rahul, suddenly saddled with the responsibility of three children after the death of his sister and her husband, while Chawla was the runaway daughter of rich south India businessman, escaping an arranged marriage. When they all ended up under the same roof, sparks flew.

Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke ended up winning best film at the Filmfare awards beating out Aankhen, Baazigar, Damini, and Khalnayak. Besides the top award, Chawla and lyricist Sameer Anjaan also won honours for their work. At the National Awards, director Bhatt was awarded the special jury honour and Alka Yagnik received the award for best female playback singer for the song ‘Ghoonghat Ki Aad Se Dilbar Ka’.

We spoke to lyricist Sameer Anjaan on the film’s 25th anniversary about those days of creating hit music for the film and the challenges he faced while writing the songs. The award-winning and prolific lyricist had extremely fond memories of working with the crew, especially director Mahesh Bhatt.

“We had our whole team, [music composers] Nadeem-Shravan, me and Mahesh Bhatt, [his brother] Mukesh Bhatt. We have worked together a lot. When we heard the story of the film, we thought it was very different. It was a different kind of love story. Challenge tha ek toh alag kaam karne ka [We had a challenge of doing something different]. Maheshji is very fond of music. Gaane bante rahe saari cheezen hoti rahi [The songs were done like that only]. All the songs were done, but we faced difficulties in two songs,” Sameer said.

The first song ‘Bambai Se Gayi Poona’ created a challenge because they had to add the film’s title to the song.

“We thought and thought [about what to do] and it came to us, how will the journey of [these characters] be? From where to where will it be, and we brought that to the song. That’s why we used the names of the cities, no other reason,” he said.

The other song was the famous romantic number ‘Ghoonghat Ki Aad Se Dilbar Ka’. Surprisingly, the song would have sounded different had one word been changed.

“The use of the word ‘aad’ brought up many arguments. Bhai, yeh musical labhz nahin hai [this is not a musical word], we shouldn’t use it. Mukeshji didn’t like the song because of the word, finally Mahesh Bhatt came and said this is a new word, we have to go with this. Phir yeh gaana hua aur [then the song was done] nobody was expecting that this song would receive the Filmfare and there would be so much hungama [uproar] over it. That is the memory which I remember.”

But Sameer’s personal favourite from the film is the romantic number ‘Woh Meri Neend Mera Chain Mujhe’. He reasons that the song was completely different and appropriate for the situation. He recalled, “[Juhi Chawla’s] character had a certain innocence. Uski shikayat ka tareeka achcha laga [I liked her way of scolding her love]."

The project was the third time Sameer worked with Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt. He praised the filmmaker brothers for creating a beautiful atmosphere and that Mahesh especially knew how to make his technicians work by inspiring them.

He joined the project on Mahesh’s insistence who asked the lyricist to come on board. Both he and Mukesh took care of the sittings where musical decisions were made. Producer Husain handled the finances and the other departments of the film. The lyricist also remembered the days when they had to attend the recordings of the soundtrack.

“Before, it was necessary that when the singer is singing, [the lyricist] should be present. Generally, Maheshji was also present. When the music track is being recorded, it’s not that necessary, but definitely when the voices are being recorded, say Kumar Sanu or Udit Narayan. Sometimes, suddenly on set only we have to change a line, it may not be fitting well in a song or something else is happening.”

In those days, it was easier to write lyrics on an album when they knew the film’s story. “Nowadays, there is no story or situation told to us. To write a song like that, becomes very difficult. When you know your work, it becomes easy and you are able to get a direction,” the veteran lyricist lamented.

Even now, fans reach out to him on WhatsApp and Facebook and tell him, ‘Kuch aisa music ek baar lana zaroori hain [We need to bring back this kind of music], we are missing it!’ “How do we make them understand, woh toh waqt ka takaza hai [that it is the demand of the times] that things keep changing and we have to face it. Maybe once again that there will be a time when the melody will return,” he rued.

Sameer also spoke out against the rampant use of song remakes in today’s film albums. “We are going to take action because it’s about modern rights. They are ruining songs and there is so much confusion about them that the next generation doesn’t know which is the new song and which is the old. That has to be stopped,” he asserted.

Thinking back about the soundtrack and its long-lasting power, he attributed it to three things which had power — good composition, good writing and singing.

“When all these things get together, then only will a song be long-lasting. Iss gaane mein woh saari cheezen thi jiski wajhe se long-lasting hua hain [The song had it all that made it long-lasting]. Jo cheez achchi hain, woh hamesha log usse pasand karenge [People will always like what is good]. Whether it’s 25 years or 50,” he said.

He wished that the music composers had been honoured in 1993 for their compositions. “There was only one bad luck in all of this. Everyone got an award for the music except Nadeem-Shravan, when they were really deserving of the award, but that time Anu Malik got it for Baazigar (1993). They were 100% deserving of it.”