Written By Mandvi Mishra
How is the poet Irshad Kamil different from lyricist Irshad Kamil? Your books have also been very successful.
Poetry is Irshad Kamil’s hobby while songwriting is his profession. You write a poem independently, where you express your own emotions according to your mental state. However, for a song, you don’t have the liberty and time to chose the meter and express your feelings as you write for a given situation. You try to write the lyrics in the language of the masses. So, writing a song is a more difficult process. My book, Ek Mahina Nazmon Ka, is now in its fourth edition and it is still being talked about. My fourth book, Kaali Aurat ka Khwaab, has entered its second edition in mere 10 weeks. What more can a writer ask for? It is a very joyous feeling for any author when their book is being read as well as appreciated.
You experiment a lot with your songs. You revived the folk essence in the song Patakha guddi and picked a refreshing new approach in songs like Matargashti and Heer. From Sheikh Farid’s words in Nadan parinde to using the touch of qawwali in Mein sharabi, you have constantly been innovative in your approach. How do manage to stay true to your roots?
To stay connected to the roots is the quality of a real person. I like to express complex thoughts in simple words and maybe that is the reason why I have been able to sustain an emotion like love in my compositions. Love is timeless and it continues to feel fresh. While writing a song, I keep in mind not only the context of the film but the present social context in which it has to be placed. For example, in the song Aya na tu in Bharat, I wrote Paani panch dariyaon ka hai kam ho raha/ tere aane ka yakin kyu bharam ho raha or Akhbaron me khushi ki khabar na mile/laakhon sajdon se dil ko sabar na mile. Similarly, in Kabir Singh I wrote, Ye jo log bag hai/jungle ki aag hain/kyu aag me jalu. These lines stand true beyond the movie.
You have completed your PhD in Hindi poetry. What was your thesis on and how did such a strong literary background help you?
The subject of my thesis was ‘Time and Society in Contemporary Poetry’. I studied almost all the contemporary Hindi as well other poets during that time. Being well read definitely helps you in writing well.
You write soulful lyrics and each of them feels very complete. Is it difficult to stand in the shoes of the character for whom the song is being written? Which character has been difficult for you to understand?
I live the characters of my stories and that is the reason my songs sound honest and complete. It is not easy to get yourself in that zone each time. In recent films, Kabir Singh took a lot of time as it was difficult to contain his multiple emotions in the song Bekhayali.
Do you believe that being a writer, you have a social responsibility to try to bring about changes through words. What big change does the country need?
The answer to this question is in my poems published in magazines like Pahal or in songs like Sadda haq, Chal tu apna kam kar, and Chheen ke lenge apna haq. In my limits, I try to catalyse the process of change as much as possible.
Tell us something about The Ink Band. What are you planning to create next?
The Ink Band is India’s first poetry band. It is an amalgamation of words, music and singing, where instead of running behind music, shayari is at the driving seat. Very soon, The Ink Band will be coming with season two, where the bar will be set even higher and poetry will not only be dwelling in the skies of imagination but also land on the grounds of reality.
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