Born on 18th August, 1934 Sampooran Singh Kalra or Gulzar’s career spanned over six decades crafting hauntingly beautiful works of art in cinema and literature. His poetries and nazms are a manifestation of his profound work.
In the last 57 years, his contribution to Indian cinema has been exceptional. To corroborate and appreciate his work, he has been awarded Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Award along with many national awards and Filmfare awards. He won one Academy Award and one Grammy Award for 'Jai Ho' in 2008.
रहे न कुछ मलाल बड़ी शिद्दत से कीजिये, नफरत भी कीजिये ज़रा मुहब्बत से कीजिये
His career started with Bimal Roy’s movie, Bandini. When S.D. Burman and lyricist Shailendra got into a fight, Roy was in utter distress. Shailendra had known Gulzar and he pursued him to write for the movie. Gulzar wrote “Mora Gora Ang Layle” which was a commercial success. However, by then Shailendra and S.D. Burman had sorted out their differences and Gulzar couldn’t write for the movie anymore. Regardless, Bimal Roy had acknowledged Gulzar’s talent and he made sure he utilised it. At this point of time, Gulzar was working in a car garage. So, when Roy offered him a position of his assistant, he couldn’t help but cry. He then went on to work with the greatest names in Bollywood music industry such as R.D. Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan and A.R. Rahman. Gulzar’s fanbase consists of all sorts of people because his own work was abounding. From endearing love songs to heart-achingly melancholic songs, Gulzar had a rhyme to consolidate all emotional gamut. Out of these songs, “Humko Mann Ki Shakti”, written for Guddi is sung as a prayer song in many school in India.
He debuted as a screenwriter in 1968 with Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Aashirwad. One of the major reasons Gulzar’s work was acclaimed is for his way of making elements within his work more lifelike, real by giving them feelings and quirks. Ashok Kumar’s character in Aashirwad owes its extra dimension to the poetry and dialogues written by Gulzar. Another example is his work in Anand which was listed in Anupama Chopra’s book 100 films to see before you die. He also wrote the story with Mukherjee. The lead character, Anand has depth. His intentions are harmless but they are intriguing. It makes you think of subjects like life and death, things you took for granted, gratitude and that’s how the idea of Anand is larger than life.
अपने साये से चौंक जाते हैं , उम्र गुज़री है इस क़दर तन्हा
As a director, Gulzar has made movie like Parichay, Koshish and Aandhi. All of these movies were critically acclaimed, and deliberated on unconventional themes. For examples, Koshish is a story of deaf and mute couple and the struggles they faced. Aandhi is a political-drama which revolved around an estranged couple who never reunite as lovers again, defying the Bollywood notion of “love conquers all”. He said, “writers must be aware of what is happening in the world and have a strong sense of values. They do not have to be activists, or be actively involved in politics, but believing in some kind of ideology is essential.”
हम ने अक्सर तुम्हारी राहों में रुक कर अपना ही इंतिज़ार किया
In her book “Gulzar’s Ijazat” Mira Hashmi writes, “his films delved into the very fabric of human interaction and relationships, looking deeply into what made the fibres tear and what, sometimes, could stitch them back together, even momentarily. Love, his stories seemed to say, is not always the answer; rather, it is just a part of the question.”
Gulzar has been an epitome of how an artist can affect many social, cultural and political aspects just by their art that questions the norms while portraying the actual realities of huge chunk of the population. Art is supposed to move people. Gulzar has moved generations with his thought provoking and brilliant work.