During his theatre days, when National Award-winning lyricist Swanand Kirkire was singing Bawra mann dekhne chala ek sapna at a friend’s party, little did he know that it would inspire others across the nation. An alumnus of the National School of Drama with a specialisation in design and drama, Kirkire always dreamt of becoming a filmmaker. But soon after director Sudhir Mishra heard the song and decided to use it in his film Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003), life took a new turn. “Life is a great example of how much you underestimate. Bawra mann… opened a window for me into lyrics, where I was recognised as a lyricist, and kick-started my decade long career in films,” he says. Kirkire, 44, who never thought of becoming an actor, keeps surprising himself, as he portrays the lead character in Crazy Cukkad Family by director Ritesh Menon.
This is not the first time that the lyricist-turned-actor, who won two National Awards for Best Lyrics for Bande mein tha dum (Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 2006) and Behti hawa sa tha woh in (3 Idiots, 2009), is testing waters in acting through the central character. His earlier trysts include Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Chameli, Eklavya: The Royal Guard and Sonali Cable. His latest, Crazy Cukkad Family, is a humorous roller coaster ride that begins when the head of the Beri family slips into his third coma and four of his estranged children rush home, motivated by greed, to be there while their father “hopefully” breathes his last, leaving behind his huge estate in the mountains. Kirkire plays the role of Pawan Beri, the eldest of the four, whose motto in life is to earn quick money. Kirkire says, “I play a failed businessman, who is loud mouthed, uncultured, and thinks he is a super hero but deep within he knows he is empty. It is completely opposite to what I am in real life.”
For Kirkire, acting is just another avenue for his story telling abilities. “I have many ways of expression and want to explore everything. Think of me as multi-purpose, use me anywhere, but don’t throw me out of the story. Acting in the whole storytelling process is the most interesting path. You are the face of it, where you get the popularity and hatred directly.”
Acting in the film was not without its share of bruises. He recalls one such incident, “The most difficult experience in the film was hanging from a cliff, on a harness. I have a fear of heights and ended up getting bruised. As a musician, you write about the stars and the moon but here, it is about being right there,” he says.