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Swanand Kirkire: Sad that there’s inferiority complex among native Hindi-speakers

Bollywood lyricist and screenwriter Swanand Kirkire, who has written songs such as Monta Re and Tu Kisi Rail Si, talks about his love for Hindi, why it helps to have a day dedicated to the language, and the joys of multilinguality.

bollywood Updated: Mar 29, 2018 15:30 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Swanand Kirkire,Hindi,Bollywood
Swanand Kirkire is a graduate of National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi.(Satish Bate/HT)

His upbringing was in a Marathi family, but lyricist, singer, and actor Swanand Kirkire says that Hindi is the language in which he thinks.

“My first language was always Hindi. Ghar mein bhale hi Marathi boli jati ho lekin school, college, sab jagah pe mere liye Hindi thi (Though Marathi was spoken at home, but ins chool, college and everywhere else, I used to talk in Hindi). Isliye mujhe do languages automatically mil gayin – Ek Marathi, aur ek Hindi (That’s why I automatically became familiar with two languages — Marathi and Hindi). I’m a writer; if you ask me to write a song in Marathi, I will think 20 times, but when they ask me to write a song in Hindi, I don’t think twice. Hindi is my language, and has given me everything in this world. I’m one of the few people who live off a language,” says the 48-year-old, who was recently in Delhi for the Hindi Sahitya Utsav 2018.

Kirkire doesn’t feel there is a need to have a day dedicated to the celebration of a language or its body of literature, but, in hindsight, it does start a productive discussion. “Why do you want a special Hindi day? But [then] I think days are only there in order to discuss, talk and celebrate a language. I don’t know whether it’s good or bad. It’s good if we dedicate a day to Hindi, especially in this country where a majority of the population speaks Hindi, and yet there is inferiority complex among those who speak in Hindi in the Hindi-speaking belt. Ye baat mujhe takleef deti hai (This pains me),” says Kirkire, who has been a two-time recipient of the National Film Award for Best Lyrics. He has, to his credit, songs like Monta Re (from the 2013 film Lootera) and Tu Kisi Rail Si (from the 2015 film Masaan), among others.

Belonging to the advertising industry, the singer says that he feels sad that he has to communicate in English even while working for Hindi projects. “Main advertising mein Hindi ka kaam karta hoon, lekin communication angrezi mein hota hai humara (I work for Hindi projects in advertising, but my communication when at work is in English). I feel very bad ki humein ye karna padta hai…” he rues.

“Dono hi languages ke prati mujhe aadar bhav hai (I respect both languages). Main ye nahin kehta ki ye language band kar do, wo language shuru karo aur wo Tamilian zabardasti English seekhe, lekin main usse vice-versa kehna chahta hoon ki tum mujhe Tamil sikha do, aur mujhse Hindi seekh lo. Do languages mein bolenge, kitna maza aayega (I don’t want a speaker of another language to be forced to learn Hindi, but I want them to teach me their language, and I offer to teach them mine. It will be such joy to speak in both the languages).”

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First Published: Mar 29, 2018 15:30 IST