Rockstar’s soulful “Kun Faya Kun”, Tamasha’s breezy “Safarnama” or the recent smashing hit “Bekhyali”, the new lovesick youth anthem from Kabir Singh, it is poet and lyricist Irshad Kamil’s mantra of “deep thoughts and simple words” that makes his songs stick with the audience.
“Main halke mein baat karta hoon, par halki baat nahi karta hai (I speak casually but I don’t speak cheap words). My intention is always to try and write deep thoughts in simple words.
Speaking at the sidelines of the inaugural edition of Tagore International Literature and Arts festival, Vishwa Rang at Minto Hall here, Kamil said that he writes to communicate what the character feels.
“So you would notice that I have never used big words when it is not required. See, I am not writing to boast about my knowledge of the language, I am writing to communicate a point which the character feels… and making that thought reach across to my audience is my only priority,” Kamil told PTI.
While having a fan-following pan-India and pan-categories — youth or elderly, classy or massy– Kamil is clear in head that he mainly writes for youth who he said reciprocates and relates with his songs like no one else.
“You write a song and next you know there are letters and feedback by them in hundreds and thousands. Like I recently wrote ‘Bekhyali’ and found that the whole nation was singing Bekhyali only.
“I guess they feel that this is the person who talks about us and that he is giving words to what even they have been thinking in their heads for some time now,” said the lyricist, whose upcoming works include Imtiaz Ali’s “Aaj Kal” and Vidhu Vinod Chopra;s Shikara: Love Stories from Kashmir”.
Not of the opinion that any Indian language — Urdu as well as regional languages — is dying a slow death, he said literature festivals like ‘Vishwa Rang’ along with ‘Jashn-E-Rekhta’, Jashn-E-Adab’ and Lucknow Literature festival are examples that all Indian languages are here to stay.
“In more than 90 per cent of households in India, people don’t speak English but Hindi, Urdu or other regional languages. Also, a host of publishing companies who are coming from foreign countries are not coming to India to publish Indian English writers. They are coming to publish Hindi, Urdu and other Indian language writers.
“Now why would they take all this trouble if it is not minting them money, and people are not reading and liking works coming out of Indian vernacular languages,” asked Kamil, whose last book was “Kaali Aurat Ka Khawab”.
The 48-year-old poet also dismissed the argument that there is an imminent dip in the graph of lovers of poetry in India and in fact went on to blame the poets for not doing enough to reach out to their audiences.
“Mohabbat kabhi ek tarfa nahi hoti hai, dono taraf aag barabar lagi wali mohabbat ka hi mazza hai (Love is never one-sided, it has to be a mutual thing to make for a love-story). The poets who say that their work is not reaching out to their target audience, should come out and work for it to make it happen,” he said.
He had come to the festival to perform with his brain-child band, Ink Band, touted as India’s first poetry band.
He said unlike Rock and Hip-hop bands where there is a lot of “head banging and vigorous guitar strumming”, his band is one where “words and poetry” takes over the driving seat from music.
The aim of his band is to connect his “audience with themselves” rather than the outside world, and with that give them the “high”, one that stays with them for a longer period than what they get from a performance by other regular conventional bands, he added.
Featuring over 500 national and international authors and artists, the four-day festival, organized by the Tagore International Center for Arts and Culture, aims to promote literature in Hindi and other Indian languages.
The event will come to an end on Sunday.