INTERVIEW| Raju Hirani respects lyrics, keeps their torn papers too: Swanand Kirkire

Kirkire discussed Hirani’s remarkable ability to organise and retain the various papers and notes that lyricists write during the creation of different versions of a song.

| Updated: 15 January, 2024 3:18 pm IST
In an exclusive interview with The New Indian, Swanand Kirkire talks about Rajkumar hiranio

NEW DELHI: During an exclusive interview with The New Indian’s Executive Editor Rohan Dua, iconic lyricist Swanand Kirkire revealed his working dynamic with legendary director Raj Kumar Hirani. Kirkire discussed Hirani’s remarkable ability to organise and retain the various papers and notes that lyricists write during the creation of different versions of a song.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Rohan: You also worked with his friend Raj Kumar Hirani recently?

Swanand: “We all work together. Through Vidhu only, I got Lage Raho Munnabhai.”

Rohan: So, what’s the importance of ‘Dunki’, since especially you co-wrote ‘Lut Put Gaya’ with IP Singh and the song has become quite a trend right now?

Swanand: “Yes, I know. Actually, the truth is that when I started working on ‘Dunki’, I was going for ‘Three of Us’ shoot. So this time I had to apologise to Raju. I said that I won’t be able to write a lot of songs. But then it was his journey too. He was working for so many years. So one day he called me and said, at least we should do this song. Then I started working. I wrote a few lines for the song ‘Lut Put Gaya’. The Punjabi lines were written by IP Singh. I couldn’t come back to complete the songs.”‘


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Rohan: But you got full credit for it.

Swanand: “I was telling Raju to not give it. I had written lines like ‘How do you do?’ but the whole song is written by IP Singh. It is his song so I told him not to give it. So I refused it but he said you have also written it and it’s already been done.”

Rohan: If I recall your previous songs from Raj Kumar Hirani’s film, ‘3 Idiots’ definitely comes to mind. Your song ‘Behti Hawa Sa Tha Vo’ is beautiful as everyone of us could relate to us. That song was sung by Shaan and in one of my interviews with him, he mentioned about you. There is always that person that leaves a mark on your mind. So, I want to know from you what is the secret of the song?

Swanand: “So, the main purpose of the song was that we had to introduce Amir’s character Rancho. The idea was that before we see him we must know him. The brief to Shantanu Moitra for the song was also very unusual. It was a mixture of S D Burman and Simon and Garfunkel. So we were working on it.

“I told Raju an idea since it is a collaborative work. You have to go back and forth with the director. You know, Raju maintains a stack of all the versions of songs. In fact, his assistant has standing instructions to keep all the papers that I throw and maintain a file for it because no one knows what can come out of it.  So I said till we say what we are, the audience won’t understand what he is. That’s why we wrote such lines. It’s an ode to all such people in my life who lived life their own way.”

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Rohan: There is another song in the movie ‘Zoobi Doobi’ which has a lot of spunk, and funk and it really touches the heart. How did that come?

Swanand: “The first time I wrote this song it was called ‘Love in Delhi’. It was the same tune, same melody, just the lyrics were different. It had lyrics like ‘dekho kaka ga raha hai, kake di hatti ga rahi’. I am saying this for the first time. Our idea was to shoot it in the streets of Delhi but Raju said that it won’t be possible to do that considering that it would be difficult to manage crowds in Delhi after seeing Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor.

“So, we changed the entire lyrics. So then we got the idea that we will do it like a filmy song after a lot of brainstorming. And everyone said we should definitely have a love song in the movie if Amir and Kareena are coming together for the first time.”

Rohan: In fact, you gave a sad song in the movie ‘Jane nai dege tujhe’ when Aamir’s friend meets with an accident. How did that song happen?

Swanand: “In Raju’s movie, songs are situational. So, when the accident happens we didn’t want to write a song that completely submerges in that situation. We wanted to bring out positivity. So as he goes to the hospital, that music starts which is of friends telling him we won’t let you go. There is this line ‘Ma ne khat me kya likha tha, jeeyo jug jug ye likha tha. Char pal bhi jee na paya tu’ which is one of my favourite lines in my life. Then there is also comedy in those scenes by Madhavan’s character Raju.”

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