Lyricist, humorist and script writer Varun Grover best known for penning lyrics for 'Gangs of Wasseypur' talks about his journey so far, the skill of writing, his desires and more...
I did my engineering at Banaras Hindu University. I worked in Pune as a software engineer even though I always wanted to be a writer. Soon I was bored of working and moved to Mumbai to pursue my dreams. I wanted to take up a course in journalism.
Thanks to some contacts, I got the job of a copywriter at an agency in Mumbai but the agency shut down in a month and I was then on my own. But I didn’t have to go through the ‘filmy struggle’ because I got a big break in my first year in the city. I was one of the writers for the Great Indian Comedy Show in 2005. I started writing for stand-up comedy shows, television and the internet. After sometime, I started doing stand-up comedy myself and now I juggle between my stand-up comedy and writing lyrics and screenplays.
The most underrated skill in this profession is observation. Observation gives you much more knowledge than a book. You have a sense of clarity when you observe and write. A love for reading is also very important and you won’t know what is possible in writing without doing some reading. Finally, writing a lot is necessary; you have to be obsessed about writing.
I feel that writing cannot be taught and if anyone wants to write for Bollywood, the best training you can get is from the people on the ground. But of course, there is a one-year writing course in FTII and if someone has zero contacts in Mumbai, doing that course can help you get a reference in the city. It’s easy to get work here. People think that writers have to struggle in Mumbai, but I have realised that people are constantly looking out for great writers.
The difficult part comes after that. This is when you are stuck with an image and make no more progress. You end up doing the same thing again and again. You are not growing as a writer if you do the same shows every year. I think it’s important to chuck one’s love for money and take a leap of faith. Reinvention is very important in this field. Also, the kind of censorship we have in India is a big challenge. There are certain things that you cannot say on television or in public. At times, I write it down and at times, I just push the envelope and take people head on.
I would like to work with AR Rahman and Amit Trivedi; I think Amitabh Bhattacharya and Irshad Kamil are great lyricists. I also want to write scripts for Vishal Bharadwaj and Dibakar Banerji. Anurag Kashyap is an amazing writer too.
Varun Grover is a lyricist, humorist and a script writer. He’s best known for penning lyrics for the film, Gangs of Wasseypur.