Congress Party politician and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal has a penchant for poetry when not attending to pressing national issues. His Twitter profile alternates between his poetic ambitions and his critique of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.
Sibal has published two volumes of his poetry, I Witness and My World Within, and fortified by the response, the lawyer and politician is attempting to conquer the next bastion – film lyrics.
For Shorgul, an upcoming inter-faith romance set in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Sibal has written two songs. Sibal had previously written “Tu Jaldi Bata De” (You tell me quickly) for Bandook (2013), which explores gun culture in Uttar Pradesh. In a 2012 interview, Sibal said “I had two ministries [Telecom and Human Resources Development) then,” recalling the juggling of national duties with his poetic goals.
Sibal has penned an item number for Shorgul, directed by Pranav Kumar Singh and Jitendra Tiwari and starring Jimmy Shergill and Ashutosh Rana. The lyrics of “Mast Hawa” proved to be a challenge for music director Lalit Pandit. He confessed, “Composing music on Kapil Sibal's words was a bit difficult.” But Pandit cracked it with a simple trick: “By playing the words in a tune.”
Pratibha Singh Baghel has sung the track, which has a hip-hop base. The introductory music has a rhythm quite similar to “Dance Pe Chance” (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, 2008). The lyrics begin with the hook words “Mast Hawa” sung repeatedly over ten times, followed by “Halke se gaal ko chooke tab pucche, tarsa ke chaen tu kaahe ko loote (Lightly you touch me cheek and ask, you rob me of my peace of mind) after which the singer returns to the hook words repeated another ten times. The song is arranged on the standardised hook, rhythm and pattern format that is the norm for item numbers. The lyrics are as easy to remember as a nursery rhyme set to funky music in a dance bar.
Sibal admits that poetry usually comes to him during his flights, when he is travelling through the skies and tapping away on his iPad. “Mast Hawa” appears to have been conjured out of that very impenetrable thin air.
The self-confessed fan of SMS poetry has also worked with music maestro AR Rahman. In 2014, Sibal and Rahman collaborated on a music album of his poems called Raunaq. Sibal announced the launch of the album on his website, writing, “People only see one side of the political class: the somewhat unseemly side shown on TV, within or outside Parliament. But there are shades of a politician’s personality that is never made public, because that is not ‘news’.”
The album comprises seven songs, including “Laadli”, which has been sung by Lata Mangeshkar. “Mr Sibal and I met a couple of times before the final recording. Some lyrics needed a few alterations,” Rahman said about his experience working with the politician. It wasn’t the first time someone has had trouble making music out of Sibal’s words.