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“Sonu Nigam’s rendition made Rona Aaya all the more special” – Mehboob

As a lyricist, Mehboob has written some of the most iconic songs to have come out of the Hindi film industry in the last three decades. Some of the most popular songs written by the wordsmith include ‘Tu Hi Re’ (‘Bombay’), ‘Rangeela Re’ (‘Rangeela’), ‘Tadap Tadap Ke’ (‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’), ‘Tujhe Meri Kasam’ (‘Tujhe Meri Kasam’), ‘Kabhi Neem Neem’ (‘Yuva’) and ‘Kaveri Se Milne’ (‘PS1’). After writing for songs for films like ‘Heropanti 2’ and ‘PS 1’ in the recent past, Mehboob has now wielded the pen for producer Sandeep Singh’s debut directorial feature ‘Safed’. For the social drama, which features Meera Chopra and Abhay Verma in principal roles, Mehboob has written the ghazal ‘Rona Aaya’, sung by Sonu Nigam and set to tune by Shashi Suman.

De diya dil toh ab iss jaan ki baari aayi, mere aaghaaz ko anjaam pe rona aaya, aaj humko dil-e-naakaam pe rona aaya” – You have written some beautiful lines for ‘Rona Aaya’. Was the ghazal written first or composed before you wrote it?

I wrote the song first. Then, Shashi (Suman) composed the song. The song comes at a very important juncture in the film. When Sandeep told me about the story of the film and the situation in which the song would be used, I was highly inspired. Sandeep (Singh) wanted the song to be written first as he wanted the emotions to take centre stage.

This has been your first collaboration with composer Shashi Suman.

Yes, this is the first time I worked with him. Sandeep introduced me to him. He is a very talented composer and I hope to work with him again soon.

Ghazal used to be a very popular genre till the mid-2000s. We had many ghazal superstars like Jagjit Singh and ghazals were heard in films quite frequently as well. With time, music companies stopped releasing ghazal albums. One barely gets to hear ghazals in films. What are your thoughts on this?

I want this genre to revive. There are so many beautiful elements in ghazal. In ‘Rona Aaya’, too, you get to see a glimpse of those elements. There is qaafiyabandi in the song. Phonetically, most ghazals sound beautiful. I hope ghazals are heard more often in films. Filmmakers should find situations to use them in films. The audience still craves for ghazals. It’s just that we don’t offer them enough.

In the past, you have collaborated with Sonu Nigam on several songs including ‘Khamoshiyan Gungunane Lagi’ (‘One 2 Ka 4’), ‘Mohabbat Ka Yahi Haasil’ (‘Mere Do Anmol Ratan’), ‘Tum Pe’ (‘Uuf Kya Jaadoo Mohabbat Hai’) and ‘Yakeen’ (‘31st October’). How was the experience of working with him after a while?

It was wonderful! Our association dates back to the early ‘90s when all of us were just starting out. Around that time, Ismail (Darbar) and I had done a private album for Zee. Sonu had sung one of the songs for it. When Sandeep told me Sonu will be singing ‘Rona Aaya’, I was extremely happy. His rendition made ‘Rona Aaya’ all the more special. Now, technology has changed the entire process of recording songs. Sonu recorded the song from his studio and sent it. However, before the song was recorded, we discussed it extensively on video call. Even though we did not meet this time, I had a great experience collaborating with him on this song.

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