"Before I wrote Teri Galliyan, I hadn't set a benchmark for myself," says lyricist Manoj Muntashir

The writer also recalls how he bagged Baahubali, his debut film as a dialogue writer

Ayesha Tabassum Published :  26th July 2019 01:00 AM   |   Published :   |  26th July 2019 01:00 AM
Manoj Muntashir

Manoj Muntashir

Manoj Muntashir has been rising up the ranks of lyricists in Hindi cinema with hits like Teri Galliyan (Ek Villain) and Tere Sang Yara (Rustom). His latest tracks Kaise Hua (Kabir Singh) and Teri Mitti (Kesari) are examples of why he is one of the most wanted lyricists in the industry today.


A still from Kabir Singh

Word play
Manoj, who was one of the speakers at the recently concluded Bengaluru Poetry Festival, reveals that it took him over a decade to get recognition in the industry. Today, he has several awards to his name. “Before I wrote Teri Galliyan, it was easy for me to write. Nobody knew what they wanted from me. But now, when filmmakers come to me for lyrics, they say, ‘we want a song like Galliyan.’ There is a benchmark and I always have to write something better, so it’s all the more challenging,” says the lyricist who started his career writing dialogues for Amitabh Bachchan for the popular quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati.

It’s Manoj’s play on words, while keeping simplicity intact, that seems to have worked in his favour. Whether it is a romantic number, a patriotic song or a track filled with rage, he seems tohave cracked the code of what works for the audience. He says, “Simplicity of words and depth of thoughts is what works. I try to achieve both of these things in every song I write. It is difficult to achieve this balance because when we speak about something intense, we always end up choosing difficult words. But I try to use words that even a person whose vocabulary is not great, is able to understand.”

A still from Kesari

Exchanging dialogues
While he is well-known for his songs, Manoj will always be remembered for his dialogues and lyrics for the Hindi version of Baahubali. In fact, Manoj debuted as a dialogue writer in movies with this multi-crore film. Recollecting how he ended up working on this superhit film, the writer reveals, “I wasn’t even aware that Rajamouli sir (the director of Baahubali) was watching me from a corner when I was reciting a song that I had written. It was a song that MM Kreem sir (composer), Neeraj Pandey (filmmaker) and I were working on in 2015, as a gift to the Indian cricket team during the World Cup. It was apparently my lyrics, that impressed Rajamouli sir and he wanted his Baahubali to speak like that.”

The lyricist is currently working on two projects with Ajay Devgn, and on the Saina Nehwal biopic that features Parineeti Chopra. “Some of my songs from Bhuj: The Pride of India have already been shot. I feel that every time I partner with Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar, I am able to deliver hit songs. Bhuj will feature seven to eight tracks that includes a garba song, a dance track, a patriotic song and some romantic numbers. Apart from this and the Saina biopic, I am working on the dialoguesand lyrics of the Hindi remake of Vikram Vedha. I am also working on Chanakya, the two-part web series by Ajay, that will be on
Netflix,” he signs off.