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- Published 5.12.10
I’d been living several lives for a pretty long time. Even when I was working as a journalist I was writing books and also lyrics for Hindi movies. In January this year, I started my band, Band Called Nine, almost on a whim. But the concept of a band that combines storytelling and songs really caught on. It’s then that I realised that to succeed I had to put in more time.
Our first performance was at Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda Festival in February — one of the biggest turning points in my life. I was always an outsider to the film industry, by choice. I worked from Delhi mostly via the phone or Internet (my friends call me the ‘Blackberry shayar [poet]’!). And like most regular people, I found myself attached to the security of a fixed salary. But I figured that I had to take that leap of faith. So, I quit my job and moved to Mumbai. No regrets, because now I’m swamped with work, new ideas, new opportunities, and no missed EMIs.
Writing’s been a passion ever since college. My first book, 173 Hours in Captivity: The Hijacking of IC-814 was published in 2000. That was also when I first met Mahesh Bhatt in Mumbai. This again was an important phase of my life. My first film was Jism (2002) written by Bhatt, where I wrote the songs Jadoo hai nasha hai and Chalo tumko lekar chalein. Every song is special to me — be it Maine dil se kaha from Rog or Kya mujhe pyaar hain from Woh Lamhe or my most recent work, the title song of Anjaana Anjaani. The same goes for my books including my latest one The Absent State, co-written with Rahul Pandita.
I am now writing two yet untitled films for Yash Raj productions, one of which I’m co-writing with director Kabir Khan.
(As told to Angona Paul)