“Performing artistes will always steal the show,” says lyricist Kausar Munir | music | Hindustan Times
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“Performing artistes will always steal the show,” says lyricist Kausar Munir

Says Kausar Munir about lyricists and writers not getting enough recognition; adds that lyrics today are much better than those of the ’80s and ’90s.

music Updated: Jul 22, 2017 19:48 IST
Nikita Deb
Kausar Munir started her writing career with the TV show Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin.
Kausar Munir started her writing career with the TV show Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin.(HT Photo)

She started her writing career with the television show, Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin. Soon after, she widened her horizons by penning screenplays and lyrics. Kausar Munir, who is credited with the lyrics of songs such as ‘Maana ke hum yaar nahin’ (Meri Pyaari Bindu), ‘Tu jo mila’ (Bajrangi Bhaijaan; 2016) and ‘Falak tak’ (Tashan; 2008), considers herself “the jack of all trades” because she gets “bored easily”. “I dabble in all the different aspects of writing and I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that I get bored and restless easily, if I do one thing for a long time. It may all be called writing but it is very different,” says Kausar, who is currently writing the screenplay for the Hindi adaptation of the Bengali movie Posto.

What is the process that you follow before writing lyrics to songs?

I work well with a good brief, with direction. I like to bring in the composer. If there is somebody who knows what they want, it makes my job easier. I admire some writers and colleagues, who are able to work better with a freehand. But for me, especially for films, I prefer being well-versed with the script and well-aware of what is expected of me. Sometimes, I am told that my approach may not be the best but it is what it is. I generally write for the person who’s making the film because they have the entire vision of the film. It’s not a music album or it’s not personal poetry. You are writing for a script, for a character. So if the director, writer is happy, then that gives me satisfaction.

How did the transition from writing a TV script to writing lyrics happen?

I had written a few songs earlier out of hobby and I was fond of poetry. While I was working on Jassi..., the head writer on that show at that time was Vijay Krishna Acharya and he was aware of my hobby. Vijay is a good friend. So, when he was making his first film, Tashan (2008), he asked me to write a song. That’s how ‘Falak tak’ happened. Later, one thing led to another. I generally liked writing and after writing lyrics, I made a natural progression to writing dialogues because people said to me, ‘you should try your hand at dialogues’. So, I have never had any goal or dream or a fixed path. I think I am a rolling stone.

Watch the full video of ‘Maana ke hum yaar nahin’ here:

Would you say it was easy to make a mark in the industry?

I have been oblivious to it. I always say har sangharsh roti ka nahi hota (every struggle is not to earn bread). If you are born into this world, you will struggle. So my struggle may have been of a different kind, and since it was not one of my life dreams, I appreciated it when it happened. Having said that it’s not like when I am doing a job, I don’t do it with dedication. So in that sense, my difficulty and ease is more to do with my life process, rather than just work because I always say, ‘Work is a part of your life, not your life’.

Do you agree that lyricists don’t get enough recognition?

Absolutely. See the words are the foundation — whether it is lyrics to a song, the script of a film or a television show. Even if you have a mind-blowing, path-breaking melody, programmed and orchestrated brilliantly, you need words to remember it or take it seriously. I agree and I rue the fact that writers and lyricists are not given that much importance. Once your draft is okayed, you are no more relevant. It becomes about the composer, the singer and more than that, about the person who has not even been a part of that journey — the actor. But that’s also a discussion on the importance of performing arts. Performing artistes will always steal the show. That is the nature of the entertainment business. Gone are the days when you had poetry readings or radio plays because it’s now a visual medium. It is sad, but it’s true.

Kausar Munir has written lyrics for ‘Maana ke hum yaar nahin’, from Meri Pyaari Bindu. (HT Photo)

Do you agree when yesteryear musicians say that songs today don’t have the same charm as olden days?

No, that’s rubbish. It’s nonsense. They are talking out of their heads. You can compete with reality and with real poets, but you cannot compete with memory and nostalgia. It is a very long sociological discussion, which people need to be educated about. In an era when only one film released at a time and ran for up to 25 weeks, the melody would stay with you for longer. Now, the attention span of a teenager is supposed to be eight seconds. In the clutter of so many radio channels and so much Internet content, I feel it is a much better phase than the ’80s or ’90s. That was a very bad time for lyrics. All the lyricists today such as Amitabh Bhattacharya, Irshad Kamil, Anvita Dutt, etc., are intelligent well-read, well studied, intellectual well-spoken people.

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