Creative Nut: Vishal Agarwala
Hi! Can you tell me something about yourself?
I am Vishal Agarwala. I work as an advertising agency producer and my job is to get things done in the fastest possible manner, in the least cost possible and basically to make everyone happy with that. It requires hardly any creativity.
How did you get into writing poetry?
Writing poetry was not something that I was attracted to. Like people get attracted to things which they find glamorous or something. It is something… the closest to poetry was the hindi classroom text. But I didn’t like it as much. However I picked up the rhythm and symmetry that happens in poetry. That I picked up very well. And that was something I wasnt looking at developing later in life. However as I grew up, I started buying audio cassettes from my pocket money. While my other friends bought ice cream, I bought nothing else in life other than audio cassettes. I think the major turn over was when 1942 a Love Story was released I didn’t watch the film, I liked the songs and then I saw a man who was given an award for that, and that man was Javed Akhtar. Then I found out that the next best song in the world (according to me), “sandese aate hain”, was also written by him. Somehow I thought that there is a career that can be made out of this. Having said that, it was still a very distant think and I was still like, “don’t even think about this”, it is Bombay and these guys have struggled for so many years. So I kept that in my back pocket and continued with my life as it is. So this liking for words and rhyming and how any sound, even if it does not have a word, would create a feeling for me. That kept on developing and whenever I could get some opportunity to show my Hindi vocabulary I would do that. So that’s how I developed.
Did you ever think about pursuing it later?
Frankly speaking, I didn’t have the guidance to do that. I thought that poets kya kamayeinge. How will they earn money. They just publish their own books and no one even reads that, unless it is someone like Gulzar or Javed Akhtar’s book. Even they have respectability because they are Hindi film lyricists. If Gulzar was not a lyricist, people would not know him, he would not be a star, and he would be read very less. However I never thought of it as a career because I never thought it could be a career unless it is in Hindi films, which again I thought involves a lot of struggle. That is something that is assumed. You may or may not get work. So when I stepped into the film career, if you can call it that, I thought that let me try to pursue this as a career side by side, which I am doing even now.
So how do you go about it now?
Usually it works out that the composers call me on some weekend to write a song or someone refers me to someone. So it is an on demand job. Or if I am free some day, I wear my thinking cap and try to inspire myself and get some writing done.
Can you tell me something about your inner process of writing lyrics?
There are two parts to it. If I’m given a situation or subject to write on. For eg, a boy loves a girl and is trying to tell it to her. If he is a teenager, he would use his own vocabulary, if he is a tapori he would do it that way, if he is a poet, he would do it that way. So there are two parts to it. One is the thought, the one line that needs to be said. What is the summary of the song. Generally that is given by the director. Or, if not, it comes from the experience of life which I have had till now. I draw my inspiration from life. Or it could be some other song as well. The songs I love are as much a part of my life.
Life is the best playground to pick up these basic thoughts from. Once the thought is in place, you need to develop the whole song and that is where the vocabulary comes in.
When I have a blockage about writing and I’m not being able to decide what to write and what not to write, I usually go for a walk.
Would you like to share some piece of your work?
Here is one with the theme: “What would God tell a man ? Don’t be scared of me, rather love me.”
Aadhe ko pauna karna hai
poune ko poora karna hai
yehi ginti ginta reh jaayega
Khali ko thoda bharna hai
sab kuch haasil karna hai
sab dariya me beh jaayega
dam-b-dam mujhe japta raha tu
vaham mera hi karta raha tu
Mujhe dhundta raha, par darta bhi raha hai tu
Thoda sa ab jee le bande tu
Mere sang ishq ab kar le bande tu
mere naam ko rakh de parey
Mere jee me ab ram ja bande tu
This is a recent one, on being ready to love:
Saans aaj phir thehri ek dafaa
Dil aaj phir thama ek dafaa
Mohabbat baaki hai ab bhi mujhme
Raazi hu aaj phir is baat pe ek dafaa