Born and brought up in a small town in Gujarat, Mayur Puri arrived in Mumbai in 1999 with the goal of becoming a filmmaker. He started out as an associate director on Sanjay Gadhvi’s debut film ‘Tere Liye’ (2001) and slowly, rose to become one of the most sought after writers and lyricists in the industry. The man, who taught the world “agar kisi cheez ko poori shiddat se chaaho toh poori qaayanat tumhein usse milaane mein lag jaati hai”, celebrates his birthday today and I decided to write about ten of my favourite songs penned by him.
Mera Mann Jabse Racha Hai – Tell Me O Khhuda
Ab toh nis-din raag hai naya
Har pal har chhin rag hai naya
Mann aangan mein goonjti hai sargam
Tulsi kyaare rang rang hai
Sab galiyare rang rang hai
Chowk-chaubare rangta hai mausam
Everything about this song spells sweetness. The track, which has traces of Rajasthani folk music in it, has a very strong melody by Pritam which helps you embrace this song at the very first hearing. Shweta Pandit’s mellifluous voice is exactly what this sweet-sounding song needed. The highlight of the song are the lyrics written by Mayur. The word ‘morchang’ is heard in the song a couple of times. It is a Rajasthani musical instrument which has qualities similar to that of the Jew’s harp. The song has a distinctive Indian sound to it, which was a rarity those days, as far as Pritam’s compositions were concerned. The traditional lines sung by folk artistes and that further helps in lending a folksy touch to the song. It is a tragedy that the music label has not made the song or the soundtrack available on any of the music streaming platforms.
Chicken Kuk-Doo-Ku/The Chicken Song – Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Zara tangdi, zara Tikka
Zara meetha, zara tekha
Sabhi ek plate mein adjust ho jaaye
Thodi biryani bukhari
Thodi phir nalli nihaari
Le aao aaj dharam bhrasht ho jaaye
‘Chicken Song’, perhaps, did not have the ‘hit’ quality of ‘Selfie Le Le Re’ or some of the other songs from ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. Thus, the song was not promoted extensively before the release of the film. However, it is the most relevant song in the film and when you watch it unfold on the screen while watching the film, you realise why. It makes a strong socio-political statement and emphasises on the importance of a secular society in a very subtle manner. In an interview with this writer, Mayur had stated, “According to Hinduism, guests are meant to be treated as Gods. So, even if you are a vegetarian, if your guest wants to eat chicken, it his dharma to serve chicken. There is a line in the song which goes “sabhi ek plate mein adjust ho jaayein”. That is how India should be, right?”.
Saansein Siskiyaan/Zindagi – Provoked
Saansein siskiyaan ban jaayein kyon
Aansoo aankhon pe jam jaaye kyon
Maila huaa deepak jahaan bas
Wahin ujli kiran rukti nahin
Leke chalti hai roshni
This is one of the lesser heard songs of everyone associated with it. Even the music label has not cared to release the song or the album officially on any streaming platform. And, that is a pity as it is a highly evocative number that deserves a lot more attention. I distinctly remember getting goosebumps every time this song played on TV along with a promo of the film. The film was based on a very sensitive subject and Mayur’s lyrics did a wonderful job of showcasing what Kiranjit (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) was going through in the film. Shreya Ghoshal did a splendid job behind the mic. It is one of the two songs (the other being ‘Aaj Dil Gustaakh Hai’ from ‘Blue’) that Mayur has written for A R Rahman.
Saawan Bairi – Commando
Baahon mein teri baahon mein
Kho jaaoon, chhup jaaoon
Chhoo loon jo, tujhe chhoo loon to
Khud ko hi chubh jaaoon
‘Commando’ (2013) was an out-and-out action film but Mayur Puri, along with debutante composer Mannan Shaah, found a way to incorporate four songs in the album, each of which was completely different from the other in terms of theme and genre. The best song on the album was the raaga based melody ‘Saawan Bairi’. The song was sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan with additional vocals (the “Saawan Bairi” chants) provided by the composer himself. Mayur’s lyrics, Mannan’s composition and Rahat’s rendition, all had an equal role to play in making the song a sonic delight.
Darbadar – I Me Aur Main
Toote jo tinka
Toh hawaaon ka aasra
Toh duaaon ka aasra
Dil toot jaayein
Toh woh jaayein kahan
Mayur Puri has worked quite a lot with composer duo Sachin – Jigar and ‘Darbadar’ from the John Abraham starrer ‘I Me Aur Main’ was the first song he wrote for them. In terms of release, though, it arrived after a few of the other songs he had recorded with the duo came out. One could, perhaps, describe Darbadar as a contemporary qawalli. Sung wonderfully by Monali Thakur, it boasts of some good arrangements, a lilting melody and very good lyrics by Mayur Puri that stay with you long after you have finished listening to it.
Jaane Kya Chaahe Mann Baawra – Pyaar Ke Side Effects
Saghan aachala sara hore hove
Sajan assuvan me kya jor hove
Kya jor hove apne jiya pe
Mann toh mera yeh manchala
‘Pyaar Ke Side Effects’ was Mayur Puri’s first film as a solo lyricist. The best track on the album was ‘Jaane Kya Chaahe Mann Baawra’. It had a very different sound and feel from the other peppy numbers in the album. The melancholy in the song was brought to the fore effectively by Pritam’s sober tune, Mayur’s effective poetry and Zubin Garg’s heartfelt rendition. Mayur used several words that find a place in Braj bhasha and displayed his hold over the language. The contemporary arrangements provided a nice contrast to this raaga based melody.
Jaaneman Aah – Dishoom
Kaho ke chuttiyan har saal milengi
Gift har haal mein kamaal milengi
Jo rulaya to jali daal milegi
Kaho manzoor ye bhi kiya kiya kiya
One of the things that make ‘Jaaneman Aah’ a supremely fun song is the wordplay Mayur Puri has done here. There should be a method to madness and Mayur proves that with his lyrics here. In this song, he used several English words to put together sentences that reflected the way two young lovers would speak to each other when they indulge in playful banter. The phrase ‘Jaaneman Aah’ had a lot of punch in itself and the fantastic wordplay Mayur did throughout the song gave it a good shape. Pritam’s tune was very catchy and the singers sung it very well. There were two versions of the song and personally, I prefer the one which had Aman Trikha as the male vocalist.
Bheegi Bheegi – Gangster
Aadhi aadhi jaagi
Aadhi aadhi soyi
Aankhen yeh teri
Toh lagta hai royi
Lekar ke naam hamara
Pritam got three different lyricists to write the five original tracks on the ‘Gangster’ soundtrack. ‘Bheegi Bheegi’, Mayur Puri’s sole contribution to the album was one of the most popular songs from the album. The song was steeped in melancholy and pain and Mayur brought the emotions to the fore wonderfully with his dexterous writing. The song marked the debut of Bangladeshi singer James who poured his heart into this track. Though this intense romantic number is called ‘Bheegi Bheegi’, it might as well have been called ‘Hamaari Adhuri Kahani’ as the phrase has been used repeatedly throughout the song. That, incidentally, is the title of a film which released nine years later and was produced by the same production house.
Teri Ore – Singh Is Kinng
Khulti fizaein, khulti ghatayein
Sar pe naya hai aasmaan
Chaaro dishayein hans ke bulayein
Yu sab huye hain meharbaan
Mayur Puri wrote all the songs for the Akshay Kumar – Katrina Kaif starrer ‘Singh Is Kinng’. Though the film primarily had groovy dance numbers, there was a scope for a romantic number. ‘Teri Ore’ became a part of this madcap action comedy and added a lot of value to the album. The one thing about the song that, perhaps, appealed the most to the listeners is its simplicity. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal complemented each other’s voices very well and the song was shot very well too.
Halka Halka – Chocolate
Kyon bhala sapno key pichhe
Dil meraa apno key pichhe khota hai
Khwahishe aawara banke
Toot jaayein tara banke hota hai
There is a certain free-flowing vibe surrounding ‘Halka Halka’ that helps one endear oneself to it almost immediately. The carefree energy is prevalent in Pritam’s composition, Mayur’s verses and the way Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan have sung it. This was the first ever full-fledged song credited to Mayur and in a way, marked his debut as a lyricist in the Hindi film industry. Pritam called Mayur to his studio at a short notice and he wrote the song in a very short span of time.