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Words are all I have...

However, his lyrics aren’t. Irshad Kamil, the journalist-turned-TV writer-turned-film lyricist, says he never desired fame. What he always wanted was his verses to be a success. So far, his filmography has assured him so. In a freewheeling chat with CS, the 39-year-old wordsmith spills some words on topics ranging from life to his choices in cinema:


Promotional Feature/Editor: Shubha Saha Shetty

Initial challenges 
I was working as a bureau journalist in Chandigarh and one night, I decided to switch career. Just like that. My family thought I was going crazy because they had heard horrifying stories about Mumbai. Once I was here, I realised that rumours spread far too easily in the north! My early obstacles were more to do with myself than others. I needed to be confident about my writing skills.

Unromantically romantic 
More often than not, we lyricists are unromantic beings and it’s nothing less than a miracle that we manage to spin out romantic lines for films. After reading my ghazals, people often assume that I must be romantic in real life but that’s far from the truth. And it was Kajol who, after going through some of my verses for Son of Sardaar, pointed out ‘Aap romantic ho hi nahi sakte, romantic log aisi baatein nahi likh paate’ and we both laughed because she was right.

A sense of belonging 
As a songwriter, you tend to put in words that have something to do with where you come from. It’s a natural thing - the regional connect is unmistakable. Since I come from Punjab, you’ll see some elements from my state. Interestingly, people often mistake me for someone from Allahabad or Lucknow simply because I’m proficient in Urdu.

Favourites 
I read all kinds of poetry and the original language doesn’t even matter. As long as I have good translations, I indulge in poems. I don’t like taking names because there are way too many of them and I keep exploring. You never know which poet is going to touch you with his/her verbal magic.

Papa kehte hai
My son Kamraan is seven and he’s like any other kids of his age. However, I love reading out his work to him and he just nods his head for two reasons: he doesn’t understand most of it and he simply wants to go back to his friends. But I recite my poems to him because he’s my conscience keeper. If I’m proud of what I write then I must be able to read it out to him.  

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