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Features |  08 Mar 2014 17:23 |  By RnMTeam

Lack of women composers and lyricists in Bollywood

MUMBAI: From Naushad Ali to Vishal Shekhar, from Kavi Pradeep to Irshad Kamil, Bollywood is home to tales of triumph of all the composers and lyricists. All of them have left a mark in the industry with their melodious music and captivating writing. Amidst all the sparkle of the Bollywood music industry, one observes a paucity of women composers and lyricists. One can recollect a mere handful of names like Saraswati Devi, Usha Khanna, Sneha Khanwalkar, Kausar Munir and Shraddha Pandit who have broken away from the staple image of a singer and strived to be more. spoke to a few artistes in the attempt to find answers to the big question; why does Bollywood not have female music composers or lyricists?

Shweta Pandit: Women have always been treated as the second gender in the society and, thus, were denied right to education. For writing poetry you need to be exposed to literature and you need to experience life. Sadly, that does not happen. Educating women has become mandatory, beginning with our generation. Thus we do not have many women composers and songwriters. But now, with changing times, we see that happening very soon. Maybe a couple of years down the line, we might see many women taking up composing and lyric writing.

Shruti Pathak: I really do not know why there are so few female music composers and lyricists in Bollywood. May be women have never considered these as career options. But now we have people like Sneha Khanwalkar, who have been accepted not only by the industry but also by the audiences.

Monali Thakur: I am clueless! Our fraternity, despite being so large, does not have many female music composers or lyrics writers. Lack of education could be one of the major reasons for this. A composer needs to sit with the producers and the directors for composing music, thus it could also be that the women feel unsafe sitting with five or six men for long periods of time. Another reason could be that in our industry, it is difficult for a woman in a composer’s position to be taken seriously. But I see the concept of the female lyrics writers and composers coming to India soon.

Arko: I think, may be, the girls want to concentrate on singing and not composing and song writing. The industry is, of course, a male dominated one. At the same time, is open to the idea of women composers and lyricists or else we wouldn’t have people like Sneha Khanwalkar and Kausar Munir, who have pursued their dreams of composing and writing.

Palak Muchhal: I do agree that there are not many female composers and writers. The process of being involved with 10 to 12 men, to understand specifications for composing, could be one of the reasons for the same. But I see the trend changing very soon since the women I know have been trying their hand at composing music and thankfully, the directors trust them.

Shraddha Pandit: The industry is definitely male dominated. It is an old pattern which has been running for years now. Unlike the west, the artistes are limited only to singing, probably because they feel safe. The society does not have proper female idols, thus you do not have many composers or lyric writers. In Bollywood, one needs to have a female singer, which is why we get work, but it is not essential to have a female lyric writers. We do have success stories of icons like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosale, Sunidhi Chahuahan and Shreya Ghosal. But when it comes to composers and song writers, you have very few of names.