By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: The veteran lyricist Sameer Anjaan, who has been penning successful lyrics for 30 years, is in the eye of a litigation storm.
The Madariya Sufi community has sent a legal notice to actors Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif, producers Yashraj Films and lyricist Sameer Anjan for the song Malang in Dhoom 3. The community has apparently accused the song of hurting its religious sentiments.
But Sameer, who has in the past written lucid songs like Nazar ke saamne (Aashiqui), Tum paas aaye (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) and Kabhi khushi kabhie gham, says he is proud of the Malang song.
“These sort of litigation and legal troubles just before the release of a film have become a way of troubling filmmakers unnecessarily. Just see what the people behind Ram Leela had to go through. Even I was pulled up unnecessarily for an earlier song Anarkali disco chali in Housefull 2. There was legal action against that song with people arguing that Anarkali was a historical figure.”
Malang, says Sameer, is a sublime song. “It cannot hurt anyone. It’s a beautiful and pure Sufi love song. But the matter has gone legal for no reason.So many crores from minority communities exist without any objection to what is being created. It’s only one person who gets up and decides to become the self-appointed spokesperson of the community.”
The prolific lyricist recalls an earlier song-trouble. “I had written a song called Kahan raja bhoj kahaan gangu teli in the Govinda-Raveena starrer Dulhe Raja. The teli community from Lucknow got up to make a claim of defamation over the lyrics. That phrase Kahan raja bhoj….has existed as an adage for generations. No one raised an eyebrow against it until my song became a hit.”
Sameer calls for stringent rules against nuisance litigation. “This sort of arm-twisting when a film is on the verge of release is extremely stressful.It must be stopped. Otherwise it would become impossible for the entertainment industry. Filmmakers,technicians, story writer and song writers are unnecessarily hassled. The entire artistic community is stifled by this atmosphere of intolerance.I’ve to think a dozen times over every word I use ensuring that nothing hurts any community. How can we function in this vitiated atmosphere?’
Getting back to the Malang song Sameer protests against the last-minute protests. “There is nothing even remotely offensive or derogatory in the song. It’s not as if the word Malang has been used in an offensive or chalu manner. And do you think an artiste like Aamir Khan would participate in a song that hurts any religion or community?”
About his longevity as a lyricist, Sameer says, “It isn’t easy at all. The whole atmosphere has changed in the entertainment industry. I’ve to be very careful with my branding. As it is I am being considered too old to write young songs. The best thing is to fight such prejudice with your work. I wrote Chaar baj gaye party abhi baqi hai in FALTU. People were shocked.”
Defending the music composers with whom he collaborated so successfully in the past Sameer says, “If you don’t give Nadeem-Shravan, Anand-Milind or Anu Malik work how would you know what kind of work they can do?”
Sameer’s two daughters are not interested in song-writing. Hopefully, Sameer’s son would grow up to take over the mantel of of his grandfather Anjaan and father Sameer Anjaan.
Warns Sameer, “My son, if one day he decides to become a lyricist, would have to face immense scepticism. When I started out everyone said my father wrote all my lines.”
Sameer is doing the songs for the Himesh Reshammiya’s Exposed. He has also written a song for Salman Khan in Jai Ho. “It’s a beautiful love song Tere naina bade qatil maar hi dalenge.I hope no one objects to that saying it encourages murderous thoughts.”