Kausar Munir : When I was a child and asked what did I want to be…I said “I want to be happy”.
She is clearly oblivious to the rave that her revolutionary words like “Ishqzaade…or Pareshaan” create with every other kid in the block . Perhaps it is this simplicity and a mere disregard for the other side of fame that helps Kausar Munir to keep reinventing herself through her lyrics.
Ask her what bothers her the most and it would be how her name strikes as an old gentleman’s name to most of the people. You are not about to get the usual corrupted Bollywood Saga stories! But that is Kausar Munir for you, Bollywood’s most upcoming lyricist who has changed the palette of words and chords for new romantic love songs in Bollywood!
In our tete-a-tete with Kausar, she talks to Pandolin about how her unplanned journey started and what did she really want to be when she was young!
Tell us a little about your background and how did you get your first break?
I was born and brought up in Bandra, Mumbai. I graduated in English Literature from Xavier’s College, Mumbai. I always had a passion for music and songs in general , even had a diary in which I used to write songs that I particularly liked. However, I never really planned to be a lyricist. I started working in media and started doing some research work. Eventually I landed up writing for the show Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin This is where I met Victor (Vijay Krishna Acharaya) who was directing the show then. He wanted me to write a song for his film “Tashan” and that’s when I wrote my first song “Falak tak chal saath mere” and then more work kept flowing in.
Since you never planned to become a lyricist, how did you prepare yourself to take up this new role?
There was no real preparation as such, since I have always been a writer in some capacity. But, here it was a writer not in terms of writing an episode, but lyrics, hence I switched to that mode. Of course, I really did work hard on listening. Listening particularly to the brief by the director and understanding and grasping what his requirement is from a particular song. I was new to the concept of listening to a tune and then writing words accordingly, however, I have been fortunate to always have a team and directors who believed in me and did not give up on me. Overall, I have really enjoyed the process and I think that really helps you write better.
How did you bag Ishqzaade? Did you ever think that you would term some of the most popular words this year like “Main Pareshaan” and “Ishqzaade”?
After Tashan, I wrote a song for the movie “Anjaana Anjaani” and then I got a call from Habib Faisal, who again wanted me to write a song. Here again, I was working with a director who had a clarity in his vision and was again extremely supportive. Main Pareshaan is the only song which was actually written even before the tune was composed. I always had this idea to coin with this word “Pareshaan”. “ Ishaqzaade” was again a word that struck me while I was toying with words like “nawabzaade” and “haramzaade”. Both Habib Faisal and Aditya Chopra loved the concept and this really boosted my confidence. I think that was a high in itself. Obviously it feels great to know how popular these songs are, not only for the tunes, but also for the words!
Do you think the industry is open to this new age music and films?
Yes, certainly. There is this new wave and it is really good. The audience is open to new kind of music, and “Main Pareshaan” certainly exemplifies this! It will only inspire new talent and also help writers like us to explore new avenues.
Was it detrimental in any form to not have Hindi as your first speaking language?
I graduated in English Literature and honestly most people ask me if I belonged to some particular town or village, but I am born and brought up here in the city. To top it, I never really thought I would write songs. However, I do believe that I already had this passion instilled in me for songs, which is visible from my love for writing songs in a notebook when I was young. I always have and still listen to a lot of music and most importantly appreciate the art of lyrics. Hence, there was this basic understanding of writing a song or connecting to a situation and emotion . As long as language is concerned, I think as long as your thought process is clear, language can always be mastered.
What writers or lyricists inspire you in particular?
Amitabh Bhattacharya is extremely good. He has done spectacular work lately. He has the ability to connect to both niche and mass which is pretty commendable. Irshad Kamil is again extremely talented. But obviously when it comes to inspiration, it has to be Gulzar Saab. He has this innate ability to make you feel through his words. Something as simple as listening to a song becomes feeling an emotion or situation / song with him.
What are your plans for the future? Are there any specific types of songs you wish to write?
There is no plan. Everything has happened unplanned for me so far and I think I am pretty happy with that. The plan is certainly to work hard and do justice to every song and to a director’s vision. I never really think of the bigger picture. Today also, it is about a brief from the director and working with the team. It is as simple as that. I have never really planned a strategy or thought to myself that I want to be remembered like this or for this work.
So you never planned on becoming a lyricist and now no plans or strategy for future, have you always followed this pattern?
I would not really put it that way but all I can tell you is that when I was young and people used to ask me what do I want to be? I used to say “I want to be happy”. It was all I dreamt of, I just wanted to be happy. What I mean is that I have always worked hard and believed in staying happy. This does not mean that I did not foresee this however, I never enforced it. I worked hard and I always believed that things would eventually fall in place.
Do you think Bollywood is changing and open to more ideas and a new wave of cinema?
Yes it is. And the change is pleasant and good for everybody. There is a dearth of talent which is being appreciated and acknowledged today which is great. There is space for almost every kind of cinema now.
So how would you sum up your journey? Any message for upcoming lyricists and writers?
The journey has been good. I think one thing I have always stuck to is that I write because I feel compelled to write. There is no motive to it neither financial or strategic . And I think that is what every writer or for that matter actors need to follow to bring out the best in your performance. Write because you feel compelled to write, because it connects you or makes you feel closer to yourself or draws you closer to an experience. Write because you feel like, it is an expression, a very strong expression and cannot be measured really. That does not mean you don’t have bills to pay, I have always taken general writing work to take care of that. But writing a song came very naturally to me and I think you do complete justice to work that involves your mind and soul.
As told to Anuradha Turner