A song’s melody might be captivating, but sometimes it is its lyrics that makes it memorable. Swanand Kirkire is one of the many songwriters in Bollywood who work their magic behind the scenes. From ‘Piyu bole’ (Parineeta; 2005) to ‘Behti hawa sa tha woh’ (3 Idiots; 2009), Kirkire’s lyrics have been a topic of discussion on many occasions, and the lyricist will soon be attending the Jaipur Literature Festival for the first time.
Excerpts from an interview:
You’re one of the popular lyricists besides Amitabh Bhattacharya, Irshad Kamil and others. Is there a sense of competition?
It’s interesting that there are only about eight or nine really popular lyricists in the industry. But while there is a lot of competition in other areas in the music industry, that’s not the case amongst lyricists. I have a lot of respect for Prasoon Joshi, Javed [Akhtar] saab and Gulzar saab. I am also close to Amitabh Bhattacharya. We all have our individual voices, and I am a great admirer of everyone’s work.
Watch: Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh from 3 Idiots
How do you feel about (pop legend) Bob Dylan being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature recently?
I am glad that happened. It was high time that a person who is prominent in popular culture and literature was given this prize. It’s a welcome change. Artistes such as Bob Dylan or John Lennon (former member of The Beatles) are people’s poets. They wrote the kind of poetry that people understood, and they wrote for the people. They were loved by them in return.
Do lyricists have to work harder for recognition, as they are not seen much on-screen?
Yes. It’s also because there are not many people who pay attention to a song’s lyrics. The key is to work hard and be at the right place at the right time.
Watch: Bande Mein Tha Dum from Lage Raho Munnabhai
You have worked with Rajkumar Hirani on many of his films. What’s your equation with him?
We trust each other more now and have started understating one another better. Every film is a new challenge for him and for me as well. It’s not like if I have written a great song for his last film, I don’t have to do the same in his next one.