The “Rara Avis” Gulzar- From Bandini To Haider

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Mujhko Bhi Tarkeeb Sikha Koi Yaar Julahe
Aksar Tujhko Dekha Hai Ek Tana Bunte
Jab Koi Taga Toot Gaya Ya Khatam Hua
Phir Se Baandh Ke Aur Sira Koi Jodh Ke Us Mein
Aage Bun Ne Lagte Ho
Tere Is Tane Mein Lekin
Ik Bhi Gaanth Girah Buntar Ki Dekh Nahi Sakta Hai Koi
Maine To Ek Baar Buna Tha Ek Hi Rishta
Lekin Uski Saari Girhain Saaf Nazar Aati Hain Mere Yaar Julahe
Mujhko Bhi Tarkeeb Sikha Koi Yaar Julahe……………..

Sensitivity in rare form…..a rare bird….rara avis…..Gulzar.

Gulzar is one of the most versatile and respected creative personalities of our times. From poetry to lyrics for films, from ghazals to writing for children, from writing screenplays and dialogues to directing films- he has done all and received accolades, appreciations and, of course, awards. However in the collective consciousness of the nation, Gulzar is, above all, a filmmaker and lyricist.

Gulzar is one of Hindi Cinema’s last surviving links with its golden era. What makes him truly special is that he has managed to move with the times without moving away from his poetic moorings. Despite being an integral part of Bollywood, Gulzar soars above its messy mediocrity. People love the bewitching lyricism of Gulzar’s storytelling and his completely non-judgemental approach to the making and unmaking of human relationships. Getting recognition with the movie Bandini in 1963, he penned award winning songs like ‘Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi’ from Aandhi to songs in newer films such as Dil Se, Maachis, Omkara, Kaminey and Raavan.

Born Sampooran Singh Kalra in Deena, in the Jhelum District in what is now Pakistan, he came to Delhi after the partition during independence as a poet. He joined Bimal Roy Productions in 1961. The success of ‘Bandini’ made him Bimalda’s full-time assistant and got him writing for films by acclaimed directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Asit Kumar Sen. Some of the films he has written include Anand (1971), Guddi (1971), Bawarchi (1972), and Namak Haraam (1973) for Mukherjee; and Do Dooni Char (1968), Khamoshi (1970), and Safar (1970). Gulzar directed the television serial Mirza Ghalib aired on Doordarshan in 1988. He has written dialogues for several kids’ programmes such as Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Guchche and Potli Baba Ki with Vishal Bharadwaj.

Gulzar is also a recognised poet. His poetic works that are published are ‘Chand Pukhraj Ka’, ‘Raat Pashminey Ki’, ‘Pandrah Paanch Pachattar’. ‘Dhuan’ and ‘Ravi Paar’ are his works that comprise of short stories. Besides writing lyrics, Gulzar is also a very keen tennis player and wakes up daily at 4.30 am for a two hour game.

Gulzar learnt Bangla because having read the translations, he wanted to read Rabindranath Tagore’s writings in their original form. After working in the industry primarily as lyricist for some years, he made his directorial debut with Mere Apne (1971). A winner of 20 Filmfare Awards, eleven of which he won as Best Lyricist. Winner of five National Film Awards. Has been awarded both the Dabasaheb Phalke Award and the Sahitya Akademi, the highest honours in filming and literature in India. Appointed chancellor of the Assam University in 2013.
Gulzar has, however,never failed to play the role of an effective creative mentor to first-time filmmakers, having written screenplays for nearly a score of remarkable debut efforts. Among the filmmakers whose first films Gulzar wrote are the likes of Ramesh Sippy ,Shekhar Kapur and Prakash Jha.He will always be counted among the most loved writer-directors the Mumbai film industry has produced. He carries within his artistic persona the seeds that were sown by mentor Bimal Roy.

Gulzar is a poet above all things. His style marks a sensitivity that is best reflected through his writings & treatment of films. He is one of those whose works has been laced with the lyrical but psychologically adept examination of human sensibilities.

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

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