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Knowing music helps you act better: Swanand Kirkire

Lyricist, singer and writer Swanand Kirkire talks about how knowing music comes in handy during acting and why writing for songs is a skilled job

music Updated: Jul 14, 2018 22:05 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Swanand Kirkire,3 Idiots,Chumbak
Swanand Kirkire will be making his Marathi film debut with Chumbak

Lyricist, singer and writer Swanand Kirkire has written a number of songs in his 15-year career, including for blockbuster films such as 3 Idiots (2009), English Vinglish (2012), Vicky Donor (2012), Kai Po Che! (2013) and October. Currently, he is excited about his debut Marathi film, which will be released this month. Swanand had done a few roles in Bollywood films earlier, but Chumbak, directed by Sandeep Modi, will mark his first lead role in a film. We caught up with Swanand to talk about music, songwriting, his new role, and more. Excerpts:

How has music helped in your acting stint so far?
Music definitely helps while acting. The sense of rhythm that you get from music comes in very handy while acting. It is all about timing, be it music or acting. Rhythm instills that timing in you, which helps you get the right thing at the right time. This makes the punchlines or dialogues more effective. Music immensely helps one decide the pitch of a character, as every individual speaks on a different pitch. Now, if you are musically sound, you will know how to tune in and make the changes.

How would you describe your songwriting and film writing process?
They are both a part of the same process, However, writing for films is a bigger part and writing songs is a smaller part of it. Songs are all about helping the story move forward or to enhance a particular feeling or emotion in a story. It is a very skilled and specific job and can be done with fun. On the other hand, scriptwriting has to be done more responsibly. I don’t separate my processes, but I treat them differently.

A still from Sandeep Modi’s Marathi film Chumbak (HTPHOTO)

Your role in the film has a certain body language and characteristic. How easy or difficult was it to maintain it throughout the film?
Prasanna, my character, has a certain physicality. For example, he doesn’t use or move his hands while talking or walking. This kind of a look took a toll on me, as the posture stayed with me for some time. Also, the character has a child-like rigour, which was difficult to let go of after a certain point. He also says ‘Arrecha’ a lot, this word stuck with me even after the shoot (laughs).

You have written songs for Marathi films earlier. Didn’t you feel like composing for this film?
I wrote the lyrics of Balgandharva (2011) and Deool (2011). I just can’t write for a film, because I am starring in it. Some songs need new perspectives and vision. So, we roped in Vibhawari Deshpande to write the title track and I think she has done a wonderful job.

Why did you select this film for your acting debut in Marathi?
I did this film for my grandmother. She was never affected by my stardom or Hindi songs or, for that matter, my awards. She would always ask, ‘When will you feature in a Marathi serial or film?.’ So, Chumbak is for her.

What are your forthcoming projects?
I am working on Ajay Devgn and Kajol’s Helicopter Eela as a lyricist. Then, I am writing two films for Akshay Kumar — one is for Vipul Shah and the other for R Balki. I also have a web series in the pipeline.

First Published: Jul 14, 2018 22:04 IST