Songs of Bollywood


Poetry turns words into art. It can hurt and it can heal. It can express emotions even in the most intensely joyous or grievous times. When we mention poetry, who could forget everlasting melancholy words of poets like William Shakespeare, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Percy Shelley, John Keats, Lord Byron, Rabindranath Tagore, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allen Poe, and Emily Dickinson? Urdu poets like Ghalib, Zauk, Meer have a great impact on thoughtful poetic brains.

But when we talk about poetry in general, majority of Indians will pick some famous Bollywood songs. So, in my opinion the greatest poets of modern times are lyricists who have given words to most of our feelings and emotions. So, here we bring views of three best lyricists of Indian cinema – Gulzar, Javed Akhtar and Irshad Kamil on poets and poetry.

Gulzar’s copyright on moon!

If anyone hasn’t heard about Gulzar or his works, he’s surely an alien to literature. Although the word ‘Gulzar’ literally means a blossoming garden, yet it is not enough to describe a literal legend like Gulzar. His recognition as a lyricist was through the song “Mora Gora Aang” from the movie Bandini, which gave him instant fame and the much-awaited appreciation for his writing talent. Having a career spanning over five decades in Hindi cinema, he still feels that he is the ‘Man of Literature’. “I like writing…it helped me in expressing myself. Literature has been my background…from literature I went to movies and again came back to literature. I have been writing mainly in Urdu…it’s my medium of writing. But now my works have been translated to several other languages,” says Gulzar.

On asking what he likes most about his writing, he gave a confident reply… “Poetry.” He added, “I have written fiction, plays, poetry, screenplays, stories etc.…but poetry remains my lifeline…it’s my bloodline. I am always a poet by heart. I have volumes published in Urdu and Devnagri.” Gulzar’s poetry soothes the soul. He has the great ability to express intricate human emotions with simplicity. Through his poetry, he not only conveys love and emotions but also addresses serious issues and subjects.

Javed’s sweet bitterness and bitter sweetness

As per Javed Akhtar, “Words mean fragrance of honesty and sincerity. And it has to come from heart to make its impact.” A collection of poems in a form of book which he complied over the years has been great success. As per Javed, “These poems are the one enjoyed the best…because I don’t have to write as per the demand. It’s my personal thought…wrapped in a poetic way.” While expressing his general views on poetry in today’s world, he was bit disillusioned and added, “The generation has changed a lot; poetry has lost its value. But there are many people who are still interested in it. As far as the younger generation is concerned, they have forgotten it because it was never a part of an education system and their environment. The understanding of the craft is a bit limited.”

On sharing his journey as a poet he added, “Somehow I didn’t write poetry for long. Firstly I wanted to be a film director and always wanted to join films. Moreover, there were so many poets around that being a poet was not an accomplishment for me. But when I started poetry, it was a welcome change for me. I actually started writing poetry perhaps at the age where people stop writing poetry…it was in late thirties and within a few years I found a great amount of appreciation and recognition. It was really kind of others.”

His first collection of old Urdu poetry Tarkash was released in 1997 and today is in 11th edition, “If you read Tarkash and Lava you will find poetry of different genre. I write what I feel. No one can fake poetry. My poetry is strong it’s about sweet bitterness and bitter sweetness of life and society it’s not about soft romance,” he added.

Jab We Met…Irshad Kamil a Rockstar!

At a tender age of five, he started appreciating words and even created a poem. Well, these were the unnoticed spurts of the birth of the poet: Irshad Kamil. “One has to be in love, feel love and celebrate love within him first then only he can write words that will touch every heart and I have my stories too. It’s a gradual process and result of years of personal, emotional and inspiration journey that leads us to a point where we are now,” he says.

Irshad’s songs are his imaginative revelations, yet to be decoded by all. But movie Rockstar is the closest to the reflection of this Lyricist. Writing for Rockstar, Irshad effortlessly unleashed the real rebellion that he is… Rockstar was a catharsis…an experience of returning to oneself…reclaiming oneself.

Having a successful and satisfying career in Bollywood, writing a book was neither an impulsive nor an easy thing for him. It was a long yearning within him to write a book. As he shared, “Poetry is a free process; it is like flying in the sky. Writing songs too is similar to flying in the sky but within limits, as there are a number of factors to be taken into account. But there is more freedom when you are writing for yourself, than when you are working for someone else. For films, you have to keep the story and characters in mind, whereas while writing poetry, our emotions and thoughts flow without any constraints. I have been writing poetry since a long time. My first book, Ek Mahina Nazmon Ka, has been written in a particular nazm meant for my young followers and fans and has the tagline Love’s Long Biography. As the title suggests, it is a book on love with a very contemporary feel to it.”

–Smita Dwivedi

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