Golden Era Music had competent lyricist and music directors well versed in ‘Classical Music’
During the Golden Era filmmakers used film songs as an integral part of the story to create a social awakening in society. Hence music played a key role. During pre-independence days it was the film songs like Door hatoon aye Duniya walo Hindustan Hamara hain… (Kismet – 1943) or Chal Chal re naujawan…(Bandhan -1940) that charged patriotic enthusiasm in our countrymen to fight for our freedom movement. Similarly during the horrors of partition, once again film songs like – Dekh tere Sansar ki halat…(Nastik -1954) were written to stop barbarism of killing and looting. These songs worked miracles to solace the human soul and helped in creating communal harmony. In fact, in 60’s when China attacked India, Hindi film poets and music directors wrote inspiring songs to infuse patriotism among Indians these songs were Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon…; Apni Azadi Ko Hum Hargis Mita Sakte Nahin…….; Awaaz Do Hum Ek Hain. All these songs were non-filmy but were later incorporated in films.
The songs in the past, unlike today, were not just inserted to make an earning from the audio industry or as a mean to titillate the front benchers with an eye on the box office collection. However, the songs carry forwarded the story and were a musical delight. In fact, during the ’60s and the ’70s audience thronged theatres to listen to songs and when the hit songs blazed on the big screen cine buffs went crazy and would threw chillar i.e. coins of 25 paise, 50 paise and Rs 1 at the screen. Readers who are today in their 40’s and 50’s have seen those days! Several moves like Aradhana, Kati Patang, Caravan, Bobby, Julie, Laila Majnu, Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, Amar Akbar Anthony, Dharam-Veer, etc. The list is long.
In fact, film veteran B. R. Chopra, who made hit films like Naya Daur, Waqt, Humraaz, Nikaah, Insaaf Ka Taraju and in 2000 made hit films like Baghban and Bhoothnath with Amitabh Bachchan was renowned for patronizing remarkable poetry in the songs of his films. Remember – Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalmaan Banega… (Dhool ka Phool) or Na Mooh Chupake Jiyo Aur Na Sar Jhuka Ke Jiyo… (Humraaz) or the classic heart-rending tale of a woman in his movie – Sadhana – that went – Aurat Ne Jahaan Diya Mardoon Ko….
Feeling dejected at the decline of music in Bollywood, B. R. Chopra in an interview said, “The reason for the degradation of film lyrics is that during our days we usually picked lyricist from mushaira (A gathering of literary poets). Film producers and directors would attend these mushairas and select good poets. Poets like Shakeel Badayuni, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kavi Pradeep, Sahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Azmi, Neeraj, Indeevar, Hasan Kamal, etc are all the discoveries of these Mushairas.” He added, “These poets were literary scholars and were professional in their job. But today, the scene is different. The film maker’s of today neither have interest nor have time to attend these Mushairas. Hence any ‘Mr. Nobody’ capable of rhyming words gets an easy job as a result, we have lyrics like…..Mein Bhelpuri Kha Raha Tha…(Coolie No. 1 – 1995) or Tune Maari Entry Yaar, Dil Mein Baji Ghantiyaan Re, Tang Tang Tang…(Gunday -2014).”