An Ode to Fathers
The debut session of Kalam Jalandhar took off on a poetic note with Manoj Muntashir talking about life and poetry. Muntashir, credited with bringing poetry back to Indian cinema, was in conversation with Inderjit Singh Paintal at the virtual session.
In Meri Fitrat Hai Mastana, Muntashir's first collection of poetry, the poet had thanked his father. Being an only child, the family had many expectations from him but it was his father's support that helped Muntashir follow his passion and become a poet.
When Muntashir confided in his father that he did not want to become a doctor because he felt that he would be a very mediocre doctor and wanted to be a writer instead, his father asked him to complete his graduation. On completing his graduation, Muntashir asked his father for money to travel to Mumbai to pursue his writing dream. His father relented and was extremely encouraging.
Muntashir's first book became No. 1 on Amazon's bestseller list in just 24 hours. Talking about his poem Babu Ji, Muntashir said that all poems are autobiographical in nature and those that are not are not poems but newsletters. He believes that an emotion or experience that has not truly been felt by a person cannot be expressed in a poem. He pointed out that in our society, while we often glorify mothers and the joys and pains of motherhood, we tend to neglect the importance of fathers. There are few poems and songs about fathers, he said, emphasising that fathers often made the biggest sacrifices for the happiness and well-being of their children, but aren't given enough credit. Regardless of how old and fragile one's father is, if he is with his child, no power in the world can affect the child.
On his journey into the world of poetry, Muntashir said he fell in love with a girl in Class XI and when she decided to part ways with him, he wrote his first poem. That was a time when most Bollywood hits had meaningless lyrics, Muntashir said, referring to the early 2000s.
Muntashir was determined to change the trend and bring poetry back to Indian cinema. When his song Galliyan from Ek Villain topped the charts in 2014, he felt a great sense of satisfaction.
Muntashir's advice for new and aspiring writers was that they should read a lot. New writers should not be scared, they should not doubt themselves, and instead do their best, he said. Mumbai always has space for new talent but nothing can be achieved without struggle and hard work.