In the age of modern love and online hook ups Irshad Kamil believes in the importance of slowing things down. In a short span, Kamil has built his cred as a successful and versatile songwriter in Bollywood. His songs are a beautiful blend of romance and spirituality. Be it the helplessness of the heart in the song Aaj dil shayrana (Holiday), with Bigda hua dil sambhalna jaane na; or the spirituality of being in love with Jis ko dhoondhe baahar …Woh baithaa hai bheetar chhup ke in the song Tohe piya milenge (Raanjhanaa); or the hopelessness of being in love with Tum se hi din hota hai…surmayi shaam aati hai (Jab We Met), Kamil draws a distinction between love on cinema and in the real world.
The poet-lyricist recently released his first anthology of romantic poetry titled Ek Maheena Nazmon Ka, one for each day of the month. “My book is about today’s romance and not about the glossy romance seen on the screen. Sometimes the lover does not have six packs or the girl is not beautiful. In love, there are lot of difficulties and adjustments and I have encompassed all those elements,” says Kamil, who launched the book with director and close friend Imtiaz Ali and actor Ranbir Kapoor at The Leela Ambience Gurgaon hotel and Residences last week.
Kamil and Ali’s association is almost a decade old, when the former wrote the lyrics for Ali’s directorial debut Socha Na Tha. Though the film was not a commercial success, it served as the beginning of a personal and professional association between the filmmaker and the lyricist.
“I consider Imtiaz more of a friend rather than another person from the industry because our wavelengths match. Unlike other directors who insist on using certain lyrics in compositions, Imtiaz respects and understands my style and allows me the freedom to do my thing,” says Kamil, who has worked on all of Ali’s projects — Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, Rockstar, and Highway.
It was in 2005 when Kamil had just moved from Malerkotla in Punjab to Chandigarh and was looking for a big break in Bollywood. After being introduced to Ali by music composer Sandesh Shandilya, a common friend, Kamil was able to impress Ali with his poetry and verses.
“I was looking for a poet with my first film Socha Na Tha. He came in with a black notebook and started reading his poems out to me. By the end, I understood how he thinks and how he can express things. It was a great opportunity for me because I could reduce the dialogues and allow a lot of things to be said more economically by him,” says Ali, who currently is busy with the shooting of his next project, Tamasha, a romantic-drama starring Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor. Kamil is writing lyrics for this movie too, which will make it their sixth project together. “In films, dialogues have a limitation which do not convey certain emotions or are unable to say. But his (Kamil’s) poetry fills that void. It gives a certain layer to my movies,” says Ali.
Creative differences and disagreements aside, of which there are many, Kamil vouches for Ali’s truth and conviction. “These are two things that are very nice about him,” he says, breaking out into smatterings of Urdu and Hindi from time to time. “I like the fact that when he works on a project it comes from the heart,” he says. But if there is one thing Kamil dislikes about Ali, it is his demanding nature. “He really tests my patience. I have to prove myself each time,” he says, with a smile. So far, he has proved himself well.
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