Published On: Thu, Aug 18th, 2016

Birthday Greetings to Gulzar sahab, who turned 82 today.


Birthday Greetings to Gulzar sahab, who turned 82 today.

Gulzar – poet, lyricist, dialogue-writer and director has written stories for more than fifty films and songs for many more. His directorial roster has films on the pathos of living and on the triumph of the human spirit such as Mere Apne, Achanak, Aandhi, Koshish, Khushboo, Kinara, Meeraa, Parichay, Angoor, Kitaab, Mausam, Namkeen, Lekin, Libaas and Maachis.

Born Sampooran Singh Kalra to a Sikh family in Dina (now in Pakistan) in 1934, he changed his name to Gulzar somewhere along the way. Gulzar’s cinematic career is traced back to Bimal Roy’s Bandini, where he was called to write the lyrics of a Vaishnava composition because Shailendra, the film’s original lyricist, had had a tiff with music director S.D. Burman. Burman-da had reservations about taking on the Urdu-educated young man to infuse the vaishnava spirit into the song. Gulzar rose to the challenge and a beautiful song was born – “mora gora anga lai le, mohe shaam anga dai de”, lip-synced by Nutan in an award-winning performance.

His first directorial film was Mere Apne, the Hindi remake of Tapan Sinha’s Apon Jon. The film established Gulzar as a director of merit. Gulzar’s journey through cinema has been fruitful in ways more enriching than the link with the box office coffers. They brought him excellent reviews and prestigious awards. They also created a new genre in Indian cinema – the genre of lyrical romance where love is underplayed, understated, expressed through a lot of poetry and lyrical music, and therefore, intense.

He has worked with leading music directors like Sachin Dev Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Shankar Jaikishan, Hemant Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, Rajesh Roshan, Ilayaraja, Anu Malik, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. He also developed outstanding creative partnerships with Rahul Dev Burman, AR Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj. Along with lyrics, he has also contributed to several films as script, story and dialogue writer. His work for Doordarshan comprise of milestones like Mirza Ghalib and Tahreer Munshi Premchand Ki, besides composing the lyrics for DD serials like Hello Zindagi, Potli Baba Ki and Jungle Book.

Apart from several National Awards, he was bestowed the Sahitya Academy Award in 2002, the Padma Bhushan in 2004, the Academy Award for the best original song for Jai Ho (shared with A.R. Rahman) for Slumdog Millionnaire in 2009, the Grammy Award for the same song in the same film in 2010, the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to cinema by the 11th Osians-Cinemaya Film Festival in 2009 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2014. The awards he has picked up like pebbles on a beach do not make much difference to his modest lifestyle. Nor is any sense of disappointment evident when many of his directorial ventures like Meera and Namkeen are commercial flops.

He stopped directing films with Hu Tu Tu (1999), but continued to create tunes that are in sync with the current generation.

Courtesy: Shoma A Chatterji

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology