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Kin of Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri, Rajendra Krishan, Majrooh Sultanpuri also demand credit on YouTube

After Rakesh Anand Bakshi, son of the late lyricist Anand Bakshi, raised the issue, the kin of other lyricists have come out in support.

Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra, Rajendra Krishan and Hasrat Jaipuri

Keyur Seta

Earlier this week, Rakesh Anand Bakshi, son of the late lyricist Anand Bakshi, urged music companies to credit lyricists and composers for their songs uploaded on YouTube. Bakshi, an author and occasional contributor to Cinestaan.com, pointed out that a large majority of songs don't contain the names of the lyricists while many don't even credit the composer(s).

Now, the kin of a few other lyricists have come forward to express the same concern. Kishwer Hasrat Jaipuri, daughter of the late poet and lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri, said, “I endorse what Rakesh Anand Bakshiji said. Generally, whenever a song becomes a hit, the credit goes to the singer and then to the music composers. The poor lyricist doesn’t get a mention. I once heard Asha Bhosleji say that the biggest credit should go to the lyricist. If he or she won’t write those beautiful words, how will we sing it?” Kishwer Hasrat Jaipuri is based in Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Priyanka Shailendra, granddaughter of Shailendra and daughter of Shaily Shailendra, expressed similar sentiments. “When I was about 20, I realized people knew old songs but they didn’t know who wrote them or who the singers are,” she said. “This is because these songs are on YouTube and they are not crediting the talents behind the track. I had to literally tell everyone that this song was written by my Dada or my Papa.”

She said merely crediting the singers is not enough. “You should credit the whole team that put in so much energy and talent. If you ask people whether they have heard the songs ‘Awara Hoon’ or ‘Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua,’ they will say yes, but they won’t know who has written them. Music companies as it is don’t pay royalty, so at least they should give due respect.”

Rajesh Duggal, son of the late Rajendra Krishan, said it is possible that lyricists are not credited to avoid making mistakes. “It becomes difficult to know sometimes who has written a particular song," Duggal said. "This happens in films where there is more than one lyricist. So maybe to avoid writing the wrong info and then getting pilloried for it, they avoid writing the name of the lyricist altogether.”

Duggal also highlighted that there is no comprehensive database of old films in India. He suggested that the book Geet Kosh by Har Mandir Singh aka Hamraaz is one book that music companies and anyone else can refer to.

But Andalib Sultanpuri, son of the lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, said fear of having to pay royalty might also be a reason for avoiding names. “At least give them some respect if you can’t give anything else," he said. "I feel this is done on purpose. Perhaps they feel that if they mention the name of the lyricist, they might have to pay royalty as well."

Andalib Sultanpuri also brought up the issue of remixes of old songs and said it was wrong to credit a new lyricist, who may have added a few words here and other or a few lines, above the original lyricist. “The essence of a song is in its first few lines," he said. "Who is going to remember the new verse? For example, in the title song of Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), there is some rap and music at the start, but who remembers it? People only remember ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno'.”