Excerpts from an interview with CS:
Dreams and default
I came to Mumbai 14 years ago to pursue my dream of becoming a singer. At that time, I did not know that I could write lyricsas well. I always believed in destiny but my belief has becomestronger after my success. Some people know what they want to do in life and their life follows a certain path. In my case, I stumbled upon what I was destined to do in an unexpected manner.
Not so disappointing
For a couple of years, I did feel disappointed about not being able to realise my actual dream — that of becoming a singer. I would wonder whether I have done the right thing by becoming a full time lyricist. Slowly, I decided I would go with the flow and explore my avenues for singing along the way. It's not like I don't get to sing at all. Recently, I had a nice time working with Vishal Shekhar on Chennai Express. I have realised that my work as a lyricist now allows me more opportunities to realise my singing ambitions. Looking back, I feel that if I was stuck on being a singer only, I probably would not get the kind of chances I am getting now in my life.
When Amit (composer Amit Trivedi) and I started out, there was no understanding between us that we would only work together. Both of us got opportunities to work with other people right after our first film together and moved on. Over the years, I have seen Amit mature as a composer and person. Earlier, he was like this overgrown kid who was always high on excitement and jumping around (laughs). Nowadays, I see him looking stressed, which wasn't the case earlier.
Writing lyrics is a cathartic experience for me. It releases my emotions that I wanted to express through my singing. Hindi, the way it’s spoken all over India by the layman is what holds my interest. In Ainvayi Ainvayi, there's a line Chai mein dooba biscuit ho gaya, a lot of people asked me why chai mein dooba biscuit. Well, it’s something that all of India can relate to as all of us dip our biscuits in tea. Likewise in Pungi Baja Ke, you hear the term, band bajana everywhere; pungi was the slight deviation. Modern Hindi spoken across India is my biggest catalogue for words.
My mother adores me blindly. She used to gush over me even when I won a school competition. My dad has started taking a critical interest in my work. He did crack a few jokes when he heard Dreamum Wakeupum. It’s all in good fun though (smiles).