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On Song Again

Making his comeback to writing by penning the lyrics for 2.0’s Hindi version, writer-filmmaker Abbas Tyrewala talks to Bhakti Mehta about the challenges he faced and what’s next for him

After a hiatus of five years, writer-filmmaker Abbas Tyrewala retruned with the lyrics for one of the biggest films of the year, 2.0. About getting back in the game, he says, “I have always been fond of lyrics. Unfortunately, it was never an area that I really pushed for. Also, nobody remembered that I like to write lyrics.”

“The producer of Shankar’s film Boys, Mr AM Rathnam, had made a blockbuster film in Hyderabad, Kushi. That movie featured a Hindi song called Ye mera jaha, which was a huge hit and is still remembered by people. So when 2.0 happened, Shankar approached me for both the dialogue and lyrics. It was more about writing the dialogue. And then, because he was familiar with my work as a lyricist, it was almost a foregone conclusion that I would be writing for the songs,” he adds.

On the process of creating Hindi lyrics for Tamil songs in the movie, Tyrewala shares, “I had to listen to the Tamil songs first. And in Shankar’s case, he is very clear about what he wants certain lines to say and you cannot take that away. You can say that I can completely reinvent the song and it will be poetically fine, but he is far more interested in the message that he wants to convey. That can be a little limiting but it is also a challenge.”

Tyrewala also sheds light on his equation with music composer A R Rahman and director Shankar, “With Rahman, my association goes back many years. We had done Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na together. We also have a spiritual association because we both go to the same dargah and have the same peer saab. He is also a lot more open to the changes I bring. But Shankar is a man who, once he has decided something, getting him to look at it differently or budge from his position is very difficult.”

Tyrewala adds, “In the song Rakshassi, he was very sure, even before he had shot it, that there would be a black skull exploding in the video. When I wrote a line for it after listening to the Tamil version, he took time to understand it but suggested something else that he felt would make more sense. He knows every shot that he is going to take even before the lyrics are written.”

Asked about what he is working on next, Tyrewala reveals, “I have written the dialogue for Tiger Shroff and Hrithik Roshan’s yet untitled YRF film. But I am a lot more excited about what is happening in the digital world right now, the kind of content that is possible there. I am directing my attention to that.”

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