Happy Birthday Gulzaar Saab


August 17, 2014 by Baawraman

Gulzar sahab turns a year older today. When they say, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’, Gulzaar Saab is a living proof. Sampoorn Singh Kalra, better known by his pen name Gulzaar, is one of the finest story tellers of all times. A Padma Bhushan, Dada Saheb Falke and Sahitya Academy Award recipient with number of National & International awards, Gulzaar Saab’s greatest contribution to cinema is his films and lyrics. That being said, his contribution to the small screen has also been exemplary, he wrote lyrics for serials like Hello Zindagi, Potli Baba ki and Jungle Book. If you are a late 80′ or 90’s kid, you probably remember these TV serials. He is a sensitive filmmaker and songwriter. One can sense the melancholy in his work, be it lyrics, poems, short stories or films, his films reflect his personality. There is a strong autobiographical element in his works. He was subjected to some of the worst agonies of life, right from his birth. His mother died soon after giving birth to him and he spent his childhood with his step-brothers and sisters from his father’s other two wives. Apart from this, Gulzaar and his family were among the many victims of 1947 Partition. In his poem entitled “Lakeeren“, you can see him being sanguine about the partition with following verses:

लकीरें हैं तो रहने दो, किसिने रूठकर गुस्से में शायद खींच दी थीं, इनहि को अब बनाओ पाला और आओ कबड्डी खेलते हैं, लकीरें हैं तो रहने दो..

Another poem entitled “Agar Aisa Bhi Ho Sakta” talks about his childhood days in Deena( Pakistan), the closing verses of the poem beautifully outline the tension between India-Pak:

मग़र ये सिर्फ़ ख्वाबों ही में मुमकिन है वहाँ जाने में अब दुश्वारियां हैं कुछ सियासत की वतन अब भी वही है,पर नहीं है मुल्क अब मेरा वहाँ जाना हो अब तो दो-दो सरकारों के दसियों दफ्तरों से शक्ल पर लगवा के मोहरें ख़्वाब साबित करने पड़ते है.

Most of Gulzaar Saab’s films speak about human relationships and have common themes. Films like Aandhi, Ijazat, Mausam portray the subtleties of men women relationships. Aandhi and Ijazat to some extent have the shades of his broken married life. Kitaab, has some of Gulzaar Saab’s childhood memories in it. Gulzaar Saab is an auteur due to his individual style of film-making and identifiable themes of his films. He reflects his philosophy of relationships, family, love, death, humanity etc. in his films. Gulzaar Saab’s stories deal with loss – loss of land, loss of trust, loss of values, and lost individuals. The short stories represent many stages in a person’s life and many incidents that we can identify with so as to reflect a complete circle of situations men can experience in life.  Through his stories, the readers can catch glimpses of the wider canvas of life and its implications. His films are one of the most excellent and philosophical chapters of Indian Cinema. From Mere Apne to Hu Tu Tu, it is a well-traveled journey. Each film is a signpost. Each film is like a pearl in the necklace. Like most of the writers, Gulzaar Saab craves for solitude too, women in Gulzaar Saab’s life complained of his being aloof and seeking solitude. One of the most beautiful women of the time, ravishing Meena Kumari fell for him. Meena Kumari was an ardent admirer of Gulzaar Saab and she herself was very good Urdu poetess.

I was introduced to Gulzaar Saab in my childhood days with the title song of Mogli, I felt an instant connect with the lyrics of the song, but I was not sure what “Chaddi Pehen Ke Phool Khila Hai” literary mean. While searching the answer to this, I came to know about Gulzaar Saab and I started reading about him. With every movie, song and poem, my madness about Gulzaar Saab grew exponentially. He has been associated with some of the legends of Indian Cinema and Literature, right from Mirza Ghalib, for whom Gulzaar Saab directed a television series and later published a book entitled “Mirza Ghalib- A Biographical Scenario“. His association with legendary music director Pancham Da, produced some of the gems and evergreen musical melodies. Mera Kuch Saaman(Ijazat), Khali Hath Sham Aai Hai(Ijazat), Musafir Hoon Yaro (Parichay), Ek Hi Khwab Kai Baar Dekha (Kinara) and Is Mod Se Jate Hain (Aandhi) are some of the classics.

Gulzaar Saab’s tribute to Pancham Da “Yaad Hai Pancham”

He worked with all music directors of all the times, right from Sachin Dev Burman to Vishal Bharadwaj and A.R Rehmaan. For Vishal Bharadwaj, Gulzaar Saab is more like a father figure, this is the reason why Gulzaar Saab wrote lyrics of every Vishal Bharadwaj movie after Machis.

Gulzar’s poetry touches you in a way that lingers on to your senses, such beautiful is his craftsmanship and such strong is the imagery composed. As Pavan K. Varma once said, “What distinguishes Gulzar’s poetry from others is his effortless treatment of the subject and that too when it is not even rhymed poetry”.

Gulzaar Saab’s poems in his own voice. 

I wish you a very Happy Birthday Gulzaar saab, you cast your spell on me, if I can be 1/234234234234324234234th part of what you are, I can die peacefully. I know I’m not qualified enough to write anything for you, still:

जो हुआ था कभी मिर्ज़ा नौशां,
और मीर के ज़माने में,
कुछ वैसा ही सदियों बाद,
इस बार हुआ है,
दीने की बग़िया का वो फ़ूल सम्पूर्ण,
देखो कैसे गुलज़ार हुआ है… 
With Love,
Salik Khan

One thought on “Happy Birthday Gulzaar Saab

  1. anupamamaity says:

    Beautifully written

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