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Posted at: Oct 11, 2015, 12:41 AM; last updated: Oct 10, 2015, 9:25 PM (IST)

Words are all he has…

Shellee, who has written the lyrics for films like Dev D, Shahid and Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, is now ready with his next project, Udta Punjab

Voice of dissent

  • While commenting on the recent strikes of Film and TV writers over the issue of royalty, Shellee says, “I feel that the protests are valid. Writers have been given an unfair treatment since the last so many years and they have been exploited. The writer is only paid once the episode is telecast. A certain percentage should be given to us before we start.” While talking about Bollywood singers, who also raided their voice against the royalty issue, Shellee says, “Well, at least the singers can earn through live shows and gigs, how else would a writer sustain?” he questions.
Words are all he has…
Shellee

Amarjot Kaur

It’s only words that determine the worth of emotions and articulate the trail of thought. Thus, the merit of a writer lies not only in their ability to convey a message, but to put its understanding across just as they want it to be understood.

Now, if that does not spell the essence of communication for you, an introduction to Shellee, lyricist, may prompt you to imagine the creative calibre of a writer as he employs his understanding to fabricate not just the language, but its aesthetics too.

Having penned the lyrics for several Bollywood films, including Dev D, Shahid, Phas Gaye Re Obama and Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, Shellee, who hails from Chandigarh, is all set to talk about Udta Punjab, an upcoming Bollywood movie on the issue of drug terrorism in Punjab, the lyrics of which he penned. However, before he begins, Shellee talks about his first rub with the industry in the mid 90s, when he moved to Mumbai after completing his majors in theatre from Panjab University.

“I was a young boy, who was inspired by his father’s writings. My father was a well known writer and critic and most of my influences come from the gatherings of my father’s friends and comrades at home,” begins Shellee. While his statement offers a passive explanation for his choice of films and subjects he chooses to write, Shellee shares that when he first met Gulzar, he asked him to act. “I wanted to assist him (Gulzar), but he asked me if I would rather act, since I came from a theatre background. However, I told him that I was not a very good actor and that I would assist him instead. That got me rolling,” he says.

Confessing his love for filmmaking, Shellee shares that he struggled first with writing and worked as a ghost writer, translator and did whatever he could get his hands on. Having been a panel member of Censor Board for as many as four years, Shellee shares, “The first few films that I wrote for, got canned and I started writing songs and kalams for bands just as I started writing lyrics for films.”

Shellee has penned songs for independent bands like Agnee, Floating Boots, Tera Rossa, and Ananthaal. “These bands are now translating my poems and kalams into songs,” he expresses. Also, Shellee has penned songs for MTV Unplugged and Coke Studio. Shellee currently has four films lined up, one of which he has also written the dialogues for.

amarjot@tribunemail.com

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