Heeramandi lyricist AM Turaz on Azadi: 'Women's contribution in Indian freedom movement has never been...' | Exclusive

Lyricist AM Turaz opens up on his relationship with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and working on the Netflix series Heeramandi.

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Heeramandi lyricist AM Turaz on Azadi: 'Women's contribution in Indian freedom movement has never been...' | Exclusive
AM Turaz has written six songs for Heeramandi


Famous poet and lyricist AM Turaz has been associated with Sanjay Leela Bhansali since Guzaarish in 2010. Their 14-year-long collaboration has continued with Heeramandi, Bhansali's streaming debut consisting of a melodious soundtrack. In an exclusive conversation with DNA, AM Turaz opened up about writing lyrics for Heeramandi and also shed light on the much-loved track Azadi from the series.

Sharing how his experience of working on Heeramandi was different from Bhansali's other films, the lyricist said, "Heeramandi has more songs and its duration is around seven and a half hours spread across eight episodes. It had its own situations and own aura, different from that of films. I really enjoyed working on it." Talking about his relationship with the filmmaker, Turaz added, "Since my first song in Guzaarish Tera Zikr Hai, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has always respected poetry and he understands it well too. I am also a poet first, and then a lyricist. When we both respect each other work, audience also gives that respect."

AM Turaz has written six songs for Heeramandi - Azadi, Tilasmi Bahein, Chaudhavi Shab, Masoom Dil Hai Mera, Ek Baar Dekh Lijiye, and Saiyaan Hatto Jaao. Out of these, the one that has resonated the most with the audiences is Azadi, which appears in the series' climax. We asked AM Turaz to share his thoughts and process behind the track.

"Azadi is the rooh (soul) of Heeramandi. Till date, there have been so many songs and poems written about Indian freedom. If we talk about Indian freedom movement, half of the population at that time was that of women, and women's contribution in Indian freedom movement has never been talked about in any song, I feel. Through this song, I got an opportunity to portray the same. In Azadi, I wanted to talk about how an individual fought for India's independence at that point, irrespective of their gender or profession. Also, I wanted to express the pain and sufferings that a mother, a sister, and a wife faced when their son, brother or husband got martyred for freedom. Thus, I feel this song holds its own value and the audiences should feel that too, because it talks about how women fought for the nation, the aspect which has been ignored since years in Bollywood songs", AM Turaz said.

AM Turaz with Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Featuring Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharmin Segal, Sanjeeda Shaikh, and Richa Chadha in the leading roles, Heeramandi is a fictional tale based around the lives of tawaifs in the red-light area of Heera Mandi in the Lahore of the 1920s to 1940s. The show is streaming now on Netflix.

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