It's our line, anyway!

Updated: 03 August, 2020 07:52 IST | Sonia Lulla | Mumbai

Men who pen entire verses for Bollywood songs ask the music industry for only one thing, their name on the credit alongside their work

Varun Grover
Varun Grover

As Varun Grover lists names of songs that have been uploaded online without crediting the lyricists, he makes certain to acknowledge the singers and composers affiliated with each one of them, whether or not those details are vital during our interaction. While the lyricist is unwilling to let that piece of information slip even during a telephonic conversation, streaming platforms and music labels, on the other hand, have been uploading his songs on their platforms without acknowledging him.

It is for himself, and the several other industry lyricists who have received the short end of the stick, that Grover is now putting up a fight. "We are making an official appeal through the Screenwriters Association, which is the body that represent lyricists as well, and have sent it to music companies. This is a problem that can immediately be attended to," says the writer, who took the issue to social media after a streaming platform recently uploaded the songs of Ankhon Dekhi (2013) without crediting him as lyricist.

A still from the video
A still from the video

He took his endeavour a step further with a recently released track that brought together 15 lyricists. The playful rendition, Humko credit de do yaar, sees the involvement of artistes like Amitabh Bhattacharya, Manoj Muntashir, Kausar Munir and Sameer Anjaan, among others. "It talks of how lyricists contribute to a song, and how, even then, we are relegated to the fringes. The issue is the manner in which the industry treats writers. During the music launch of film and TV shows, lyricists are never invited. Even at Bollywood award shows, [we are] put in a corner. If we win, our speeches are cut off. It's a culture of not respecting lyric-writers."

Swanand Kirkire draws attention towards streaming platforms' algorithms, which fail to recognise the contribution of lyricists. "Should anyone enter my name in the search toolbar, they will probably find the songs that I have sung, but not those that I have written. Popular music applications don't consider us. One can find a song's lyrics on an app like Spotify, but not the name of the person who wrote it. If you name a song [you love], remember that the name too has been lent to it by us."


Kirkire makes a case for himself when stating that the names of both, the composer and the lyricist are likely to crop up, when one searches for a track's 'songwriter'. "But the composer is not the songwriter, just like the latter is not involved in creating its score, and would never be credited in that category. In this industry lyricists have to [put up] a fight, and keep asking [for acknowledgement]."

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First Published: 03 August, 2020 04:41 IST

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