Neeraj Pandey is navigating the tough Bollywood landscape with heartwarming lyrics


“Hardik told me that he was planning to approach Varun Grover for the lyrics, but if he was busy, he’d consider me,” says Pandey. A trip to Bihar and Pandey came across his diaries with poems in them. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App. © IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd He was also published in an anthology which featured poets from Bengaluru. So, Pandey moved to Patna to prepare for the competitive exams and join the Air Force. Pandey was born in a village called Naya Bhojpur in Buxor, Bihar, and grew up in Bhabua where his father, a civil servant, was posted. In fact, I preferred to write the poetry first, but in the industry, the tunes are created first. He then wrote the dialogues for Prashant Nair’s Tryst with Destiny, which won the award for ‘Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film’ at Tribeca Film Festival 2020. Yesteryear actor Sudhir, remembered most for Satte pe Satta (1982), had inspired Sudheer for Mehta and the tribute needed to be sensitive yet fun. It will allow people to fit their own reality into it,” says Pandey. The reason was that Pandey was finding his metaphors from life but without using the cliched words. Grover could not come on board. It’s easy to hear the sadness in the poetry that’s composed by Rachita Arora. Sadiyon se chalte kahaani ke qisse hai, hum har qisse ke hisse hain… writes Pandey. Sometimes we may sing the wrong lyrics, but we generally do not sing the wrong tune,” he says. I didn’t want to be an engineer because there were many in the family as well as society. He landed his first project within a month — an opportunity to write the screenplay and dialogue for a small film called Sameer. (Photo by Ravi Ranjan)
In actor Seema Pahwa’s upcoming directorial debut, Ramprasad ki Tehrvi, a soft piano riff leads one into a tender and reflective melody – Arre re, aaj ye bulaava aaya re… Arre re, tann se hai chhoota saaya re, Kahan ye dagar chali hai koi jaane na/ Raahi ab ye raah pakad chala hi chale. In all this while, I have realised that the latter does work better. Pandey was working with Culture Machine, a Mumbai based digital media company, in 2017, when he was called in by Manish Mundhra’s Drishyam Productions for a project. 📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. To me, it’s always been the same. For the next year, there was nothing and Pandey was broke. But he didn’t have enough money to pay the fee. So I decided to do fashion design,” says Pandey. He also wrote Ummeedon ke paon bhari hain and Sikandar. It’s gentle, haunting and goes with the ruminative lyrics that just hang in the air, as if constructing a web of calm melancholy. “If it’s a piece about love, I am not going to write words like ishq, mohabbat, pyaar. Ramprasad ki Tehrvi —starring Naseeruddin Shah, Konkana Sen Sharma, Vinay Pathak and Supriya Pathak, among others — was screened at MAMI (Mumbai International Film Festival) last year, and is likely to see a digital release soon. Mehta told him that his upcoming film was Kamyaab, being produced by Drishyam. It was widely shared and Pandey got some attention. Writing began from there,” says Pandey, who went back to Bengaluru and participated in a slew of open mics through which he came across people from the industry. More recently, Pandey’s work in filmmaker Hardik Mehta’s Kamyaab, the Sanjay Mishra-starrer that was a tribute to the abandoned memory of character artistes of Hindi cinema, drew attention. That hooks you in. “I wondered that I missed this guy. As of now, he is writing the script for a relationship drama. Yet there is a sense of pragmatism to the whole piece. The latter has been sung by veteran singer Hariharan with lyrics such as Zindagi ki gaddari se, kai sikandar haare hain. “I was always artistically inclined. Three other songs, very different from this and each other, are also deliberations on the subject of life and death. I’ll try to find other ways around it and I believe that’s the beauty of it. He started writing young. “I borrowed money from friends and survived,” says Pandey. His brief was clear yet abstract – the writing was to be succinct, experimental and a tribute to character artistes, the forgotten fragments of Hindi cinema. Penned by 32-year-old Neeraj Pandey, the composition by Sagar Desai is dedicated to someone catching the last train to the coast. Which is why the songs in Kamyaab are very poetry inclined. “The film for which I had gone to Drishyam didn’t work out, but this did, and it left me strangely thrilled and nervous,” says Pandey. Written by Suanshu Khurana
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Published: July 15, 2020 10:48:21 pm

Neeraj Pandey is currently writing the script for a relationship drama. In 2016, one of his poems, Dear Bhavana, which was “written in frustration because of the socio-political environment in the nation”, was recited by Swanand Kirkire online. Also, Pandey’s mother wanted him to join the Air Force as she came from the same background. Pandey bagged the project. Growing up in the one-of-a-kind socio-political systems of Bihar, he wrote a poem called Rajneeti when he was 13. The result of 20 days of hard work was Tim tim tim sung by Bappi Lahiri – a defining piece shedding light on the career graph of a character artiste who wants to work in his final film (his 500th) to find the elusive feeling of success. “When I came to Bombay, I didn’t even know the difference between poetry and a song. He also co-wrote the recent Vir Das starrer dark comedy Hasmukh, which is currently streaming on Netflix. But he joined IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association) instead. Then come the lyrics. In 2014, Pandey moved to Mumbai after Varun Grover told him that it will work in his favour. I would do art and craft, mimicry, acting and write poems. A song is music first. On a visit to their office, he bumped into Mehta, whom he had met once at the screening of the former’s National Award-winning film, Ahmedabad Ma Famous. He then decided to have a career in gaming and animation and spent seven years in Delhi and Bengaluru creating art for Playstation and XBox games. A bout of jaundice brought him back to Bhabua.