Interview By: DRISHTI PANDEY
In conversation with Manoj Muntashir – the lyricist behind blockbuster songs, like “Teri Mitti”, “Kaise Hua” and more… it was quite interesting to talk to Manoj, who is articulate and candid in sharing his thoughts over music industry, his attempt to get poetry back in Bollywood amidst much more…
Ever since your debut in the music world from the song “Galliyan”; how evolved do you feel as a lyricist at this point in time?
It is impossible not to evolve in life, if you’re heading a certain path. When you’re aware of what’s happening in the music scenario and you try to innovate things. In my case, I came with a simple agenda – to regain poetry that is lacking in Hindi cinema. When “Galliyan” happened that was a time when poetry had gone for a toss and “Galliyan” became the flag bearer of poetic songs in the music industry. Ever since then, I’ve been consciously making effort and trying to bring poetry back to Hindi cinema. We are a great industry; we have great music, so, let’s try and achieve it. And why there is an era – which was called golden era? From 1950-1975 there must have been something about that era, the kind of films that were made and the music was so brilliant. So, in fact I have moulded my entire life on the golden era, it certainly took time but then, my songs started hitting the chartbusters and people also acknowledged. And yes, I have been learning a lot with every song, and the journey has been quite evolving and quite satisfactory.
As you mentioned you had an agenda to get back poetry in Hindi cinema, does that mean you have a particular style of writing songs?
I believe we all have our own styles. Whoever is associated with fine art or is associated with any kind of art form, they have a particular style. Sometimes it happens knowingly and sometimes subconsciously. Also, if you don’t have a style, there is no point in existing in this world. Each and every artist has its own style and I too have a style, and I approach things from a very mundane and unspoken fashion. And love is a feeling which has been spoken about over and over again. Countless songs has been written on love so when I approach it, I approach it in my style and that is what brings freshness to my songs.
Your songs have been loved by allage- groups, so does that raise the expectation higher?
One major issue that has happened of late is that everything is about youth. The music companies, producers, in the market industry, will keep telling you to make music for 13 to 33 years old. This is something I totally disagree with. Why other people do not exist? They don’t have the right to music? They don’t have the right to listen to great music and great lyrics? I myself is 43, I’m I being denied to the right to music because my kind of music will not be made anymore. I just try to stretch the umbrella little bigger and cover a wider audiences. So now-a-days if a song like “Teri Mitthi” from ‘Kesari’, which is written by me or “Tere Sang Yaara” from ‘Rustom’, “Kaun Tujhe” from ‘M.S.Dhoni’, so, these songs are exceptionally huge hit not because of the 13 to 33 age group bracket. Also, the old generation who are in their 50-60’s have liked my songs, and how my kind of lyrics have got them back to listening to Bollywood music. The most gratifying thing that happened to me is that – a guy from Kargil had called me to tell me – how much he loved “Teri Mitti” and that how much he could relate and justify his emotions through that song to and tell people what they actually feel. So, these are the compliments which drive me to write better and make me what I am today.
In that case, do your lyrics derive from your personality?
My writing will always be an extension of what I am as a person. I cannot be writing something which I don’t believe in. So, even if I write for a film called ‘Kabir Singh’, of which the music has become a huge hit. The film may be receiving good and bad reviews, but when it comes to me, because I respect women, because I am a die heart romantic. Even in a film like ‘Kabir Singh’, I could write hardcore romantic lyrics, and it somehow jelled with the overall feeling of the film. I was surprised since the fabric of the film was so hard-core, how could I get romance into it. I tried and I succeeded in it. There is a song called “Kaise Hua” which went a huge hit. So, everything I do, everything I write has to be an extension of my personality.