Women Of Words – Female Lyricists Of Hindi Cinema

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Generally it is said that women are more expressive in real life than men. Be it any emotion happy, sad, anger, jealousy, frustration. Though it might be not be the same case when it comes to the expression of love. A handful of women might really be vocal about expressing their love for the first time. Acknowledging love might seem rare in case of women. A woman might find it easy to express these feelings, emotions by writing. Not only about love but also the feelings she goes through overall. When it comes to expression of love and devotion, Meerabai’s name comes first to our minds. Her bhajans and poems are epitome of devotional love. A kind of love which might be experienced in the usual relationships too. The selfless love and devotion of Meerabai is extensively expressed in her literary works. Apart from Meerabai, we have several other female poets who have got name and fame in this area. Sarojini Naidu, Mahadevi Verma, Amrita Pritam, Akka Mahadevi, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Kamala Suraiyya, Shanta Shelke, Indira Sant, Kamini Roy are a few names which come up instantly in our minds when we talk about female poets. Our Hindi and English textbooks in school included works of these great poetesses extensively.
Beth Anderson began a website called Women of Words a few years back. Where she invites to promote literary works by the women writers, poets, musician, speakers, proofreaders etc. Women of Words (WOW) is a Twin Cities-based, by-invitation-only, community of women who are committed to help and support one another, personally and professionally, as writers. Today she has so many women writers reaching out to people through her website. Yet when it comes to Hindi film lyrics, we have just a handful of female lyricists. After a more than 100 years also, it remains as a male dominated field. The only name which comes to the mind as a full fledged female lyricist is Maya Govind which was several years back. There has been a sudden spurt of woman lyricists in the industry in the recent years. But the number as compared to their male counterparts still remains modest. The real reason for this is though not known, some also opine that the places and time of the sittings held for discussions do not seem very favourable for women. The contribution by women in this particular area is less and it remains an exclusive club, if we may say so.

Here’s a list of songs written by some of the female lyricists of Hindi cinema. The list includes songs where the lyricist remains a one film wonder or even one song wonder!!

1. Jaddanbai – The first female music director and mother of actress Nargis, is also credited with lyrics of one song from her own film Madam Fashion (1936). The video or recording of the song though not available, its lyrics are available. Here are the lyrics.

2. Nirupa Roy – The actress remains one song wonder too. A song from Samrat Chandragupta (1958) is credited to her, which might come as a big surprise to most of the listeners.

3. Saroj Mohini Nayyar – Wife of the legendary composer O P Nayyar. Saroj Mohini Nayyar penned the lyrics for this song which was initially rendered by C H Atma for his private album. Later it featured in the movie Mr & Mrs 55 (1955), where the version was sung by Geeta Dutt and in 1982, it was made into a parody by Gulzar for Angoor.

4. Kiran Kalyani – She is credited to one or 2 obscure songs of which Shankar Jaikishan have given the music to the most known from Shatranj (1969).

5. Maya Govind – She remains the most widely known female lyricist in the industry with some 30 odd films to her credit.

6. Shabnam Karwari – An unknown name in the field having 1 or 2 obscure movies to her credit again.

7. Padma Sachdev – This wonderful poet has a beautiful Jaidev song to her credit. Those who have heard it before know how haunting the words are.

8. Amrita Pritam – The most widely known name in the field of literature. Be it poetry or prose. Amrita Pritam has to her credit 2-3 songs, of which the song from Kadambari (1975) is th emost famous one. Kadambari is also an adaptation of her novel Dharti, Sagar aur Sipiyan.

9. Indu Jain – Having very less but extremely beautiful songs to her credit, Indu Jain suddenly disappeared from the entire movie scenario just when her songs had reached the top. With Chashme Buddoor, Sparsh and Katha her career had looked quite promising.

10. Mahadevi Verma – This particular beautiful song by Mahadevi Verma was earlier recorded in Asha Bhonsle’s voice for a non film album. Jaidev, who was also the music director for the film Trikon Ka Chautha Kon (1986), recorded the song again in Chhaya Ganguly’s voice for the film with due permission of the poetess. Unfortunately the song wasn’t picturized.

11. Rani Malik – Another known name in the industry in the 90s. Rani Malik also has a few non film songs to her credit.

12. Anvita Dutt – From dialogue writer, screenplay writer, story writer and lyricist, Anvita Dutt is an all rounder. Coming from the world of advertisement, she started as a dialogue writer for Parineeta (2005). She was awarded Screen award for best lyrics from Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008).

13. Kausar Munir – One of the best thing to happen to the music industry in present scenario – Kausar Munir. She started her career as a lyricist from the series Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi. Her first film song being Falak tak from Tashan (2008). Kausar Munir has evolved as a lyricist with films like Ek Tha Tiger, Dear Zindagi, Padman, Heropanti, Secret Superstar and Bajrangi Bhaijaan to her credit.

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan


  1. Dinesh Shah

    May 14, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Again a very intresting write up on Women of Words, where do u get the inspiration to write such intresting article with such valid information.Kudos Deepa.

    • Deepa

      May 23, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂 I keep reading a lot and get inspiration!!

  2. Chaudhary Sanjana Mordhwaj

    December 12, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I am chaudhary Sanjana mordhwaj
    I am youngest lyricist of india .
    This record is no more in favour of males.
    But when I applied to enroll this record then an organisation named “world records India” did inspection.
    Everything was upto mark but at last they asked me to deposits 25 thousand rupees.
    Being 3rd child of lower-middle class farming dependent family, I was unable to pay this amount and my record remain unenrolled.
    I am from Agra and I wrote that Punjabi song at the age of 13 but song was release by t-series on 9 sept. 2018. At that time too I was of 15 yrs.
    Please help me to enroll this record.

  3. Vijay Lokapally

    March 9, 2023 at 11:50 am

    Dear Deepa
    So rich in information as always. It is a pleasure reading your pieces.
    Keep writing..

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