Annu Rizvi is a lyricist and a writer who has worked in several big projects including ‘Transparency: Pardarshita‘, ‘Meri Saheli’ and many others. He worked in television industry for 25 years and currently resides in Sonipat. Annu Rizvi continues to follow his passion for writing and is an inspiration for many others. Muskan Bhatnagar got an opportunity to chat with him and get to know him better. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Muskan: How did you get interested in writing and music?
Annu Rizvi: Actually, my maternal uncle and other elders in my family were into Shayari and hence a similar atmosphere was there in the family from childhood. I was interested in writing and hence I started writing songs at an early age. But I loved writing as my hobby, I never thought of it as a career. After that, I came to Delhi from my village and joined the Navbharat Times. After that, I started writing for other newspapers and magazines. In the process, I kept writing poetry as a hobby. Then, later on, I wrote the title track of a show named ‘Meri Saheli’ which used to air on Star TV and was based on women and their lives. I also wrote the title song of a 26-episode long sports show with Kapil Dev called ‘Different Strokes’. The song was sung by Suresh Wadkar and the music was given by Vishal Bharadwaj. So, I have done many similar projects, but I never did them for money because I had already switched over to the television industry from Navbharat Times. In 2015, I went to Mumbai to write lyrics in films and it was a great journey, I met many new people who loved my work but I couldn’t continue further because my wife was unwell. She got diagnosed with blood cancer. So I had to return. Sadly, we lost her in September last year. So yeah, that’s what my journey looks like, however, I still do get calls from Mumbai. I recently wrote a song for News24 on coronavirus and after listening to that song, I also received a call from the Prime Minister’s Office asking for a song. So I wrote another one. Pravesh Mallick was my music director in both the songs.
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Muskan: So sir, for how long have you been writing?
Annu Rizvi: Ummm…I’ve been writing since the 80s. Maybe 1984 or 1985.
Muskan: Sir, according to you, which has been the most challenging project of yours?
Annu Rizvi: Muskan, every project is challenging. Sometimes you are able to complete it with excellence and sometimes you’re not. But each project is a challenge. Secondly, for instance, you’ve written a song beautifully but the producer or music director doesn’t like it. Then? Even though it’s amazing, what if the other person doesn’t like it? Then you have to write another one. So all of it is a challenge.
For example, I wrote the song ‘Bol Re Dilli Bol’ or the other one ‘Kitna Chanda Jeb Mein Aaya’, so Mr. Munish didn’t like it at first. Things like these usually happen.
Listen to the Song Bol Re Dilli Bol here-
Muskan: Where do you find the inspiration from when you’re writing songs?
Annu Rizvi: When I was writing the song ‘Bol Re Dilli Bol’, I got the inspiration from Delhi. There’s nothing in the lyrics of the song which I have made on my own. Everything was inspired by Delhi. Similarly, for the song ‘Kitna Chanda Jeb Mein Aaya’- I got inspiration from the feedback I was getting. I believe that a person gets inspired from others only. So, that inspiration either comes from within, or you tend to adopt it or you simply get it from others. Or maybe sometimes through reading.
Muskan: So what was your inspiration when you were writing the song ‘Kitna Chanda Jeb Mein Aaya’?
Annu Rizvi: Mainly, it came from the people related to ‘Chandas’ and the fact that there was no transparency in the process. So when you go deep down, you realize such things.
Listen to the Song Kitna Chanda Jeb Mein Aaya here-
Muskan: You have written two beautiful songs for the documentary series ‘Transparency: Pardarshita’, so how was your experience working on those two songs?
Annu Rizvi: It was very nice! Pravesh created an amazing tune for the songs, and I loved it. It is very close to my heart.
Muskan: What according to you is the most challenging part about being a lyricist or a writer?
Annu Rizvi: It isn’t a big challenge for me as I was born with this skill. I don’t have to think much. If you brief me right now and give me a topic, I could write a song in the next 5 minutes. But then, the challenging part is whether you’ll like it or not. After all, I am not writing it for myself, I am writing it for you. So that’s the challenging part. Even though I’ve written more than 100 songs for myself and I keep humming them, but that’s for me. Writing for someone else is a responsibility.
Muskan: So when the other person doesn’t like it, then what do you do? Like what comes in your mind and how do you start working on it all over again?
Annu Rizvi: In the beginning, I feel a bit nervous. And then I feel encouraged to write something different and better. Then I take inspiration from the other person’s views.
So, when writing songs from different genres, we have to get into the topic or the emotion to be able to do justice to it.
Muskan: Sir, you have been a great part of transparency, so how was your overall experience working with Dr. Munish Raizada and Mr. Pravesh Mallick?
Annu Rizvi: Working with Mr. Munish was one of the best working experiences of mine. And the documentary he made is itself amazing. I watched all of it. It was really great. I remember, Mr. Munish used to send me each episode after it’s editing from Mumbai, and I just loved it. I have worked in the television industry for 20-25 years, and I must tell you that making a documentary is the toughest job. You have to bring justice to a real life story, and Mr. Munish very well did that. This documentary was so hard to make, and I’ve told him like 10 times that you have made an amazing documentary.
You have to hold the viewer’s attention and give them a reason to watch, something has to interest them in whatever they’re watching. Mr. Munish created that for the viewers. My son watched it with me and he loved it too.
Talking about Pravesh, he is an old friend of mine. We met in Mumbai. And I suggested his name to Mr. Munish for ‘Transparency’ as he’s nice and really creative.
Mr. Munish has really done wonders by making this documentary as it is the toughest task. And I must say that working with him on this project has connected us both for life. He’s an amazing guy and an amazing friend.
We are thankful to Mr. Annu Rizvi for taking out his precious time and speaking to us. We look forward to knowing him more and present his achievements and thoughts to the viewers.