"बाबूमोशाय ज़िन्दगी बड़ी होनी चाहिए लम्बी नहीं," is one of the most celebrated dialogues of Bollywood, written by none other than Gulzar. He is known for his marvellous work as a poet, lyricist, author, film director and screenwriter.
"लकीरे है तो रहने दो किसी ने रूठ कर गुस्से में शायद खीच दी थी, इन्ही को अब बनाओ पाला और आओ कबड़ी खेलते है,” these lines by Gulzar are full of agony and express the suffering of people who got separated from their loved ones during India-Pakistan partition.
The life story of this legendary poet from being Sampooran Singh Kalra to becoming Gulzar was full of challenges. He was born in Dina, Jhelum district, now in Pakistan, during colonial India, which he had to leave and eventually come to Mumbai because of partition.
"मुसाफ़िर हूँ यारों ना घर है ना ठिकाना, मुझे चलते जाना है बस चलते जाना एक राह रुक गयी तो और जुड गयी मैं मुड़ा तो साथ-साथ राह मुड़ गयी हवा के परों पर मेरा आशियाना मुसाफिर हूँ यारों," these lines by Gulzar, from the movie Parichay relate to his life as he had to leave his birthplace and had to keep moving with the life.
To survive, he also had to leave his studies and started working to support his family. His journey started from being a car mechanic and a car painter who used to paint damaged cars at a garage. During this time, he read books and wrote, attended college and was with Progressive Writers Association (PWA).
His work mostly personifies the objects around us. It shows in his lines, "किताबें झाँकती हैं बंद अलमारी के शीशों से बड़ी हसरत से तकती हैं महीनों अब मुलाक़ातें नहीं होतीं जो शामें उन की सोहबत में कटा करती थीं, अब अक्सर गुज़र जाती हैं कंप्यूटर के पर्दों पर बड़ी बेचैन रहती हैं किताबें उन्हें अब नींद में चलने की आदत हो गई है.”
Gulzar as a poet is someone who knows how to touch everyone's heart from his words and whose poems are loved by people of every age group. In one of his shows, Gulzar said, “I was deeply attached to the habit of reading books and it turned into my passion.” His pen name was Gulzar Deenvi but later on changed into Gulzar only.
The work of Rabindranath Tagore impacted the innocent heart of little Gulzar. He used to read all of his creations since school time. His love for literature was always evident but his family was never in support of his decision of becoming a writer.
During his Sunday routine of visiting the writers association, he started meeting film writers from the film industry and that is where he got a chance to move ahead in his career. In 1963, Shailendra Chaudry and Bimal Roy approached him to write a song for the film Bandini. However, Gulzar initially turned down the offer as he was only passionate about poems and literature.
Later on, he agreed to it and wrote, "मोरा गोरा अंग लै ले मोहे श्याम रंग दे दे छुप जाऊँगी रात ही में मोहे पी का संग दे दे मोरा गोरा अंग लै ले मोहे श्याम रंग दे दे छुप जाऊँगी रात ही में मोहे पी का संग दे दे."
Bimal Roy made Gulzar to show his talent and helped him to know his abilities better. When they both started working together, Gulzar met Hrishikesh Mukherji, who not only gave him an opportunity to be a songwriter but also asked him to be a dialogue writer for movies like 'Namak Haram.' In 1968, he wrote dialogues and songs for the movie 'Aashirwaad'.
In this journey, he also worked with prominent music directors like Salil Chaudhary, SD Burman, RD Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelaal and many more. Gulzar worked with Salil Chaudary in the movie 'Anand' and 'Mere Apne' in 1971. He also worked with Madan Mohan in ‘Mausam’ in 1975.
Gulzar has also worked with new age artists like AR Rahman in movies like Dil Se (1998), Guru (2007), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Ravan (2010) and thus his fandom spreads across generations.
He also worked with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in movie Bunty Aur Babli (2005) and has also written several lyrics and dialogues for Doordarshan TV series like ‘Hello Zindagi’, ‘Gucche and potli baba ki’ and ‘Jungle Book’ to which he gave the evergreen intro, "जंगल जंगल बात चली है पता चला है जंगल जंगल बात चली है पता चला है अरे चड्ढी पहन के फूल खिला है फूल खिला है अरे चड्ढी पहन के फूल खिला है फूल खिला है."
Gulzar has never ceased to amaze the audience with his work and has given lyrics like, "एक सौ सोलह चाँद की रातें, एक तुम्हारे काँधे का तिल, गीली मेहंदी की खुशबू, जूठ मूठ के शिकवे कुछ जूठ मूठ के वादे भी, सब याद करा दो सब भिजवा दो, मेरा वो सामान लौटा दो," for movie 'Ijaazat' in 1987.
Some popular poems of Gulzar include ‘Raat Pashmine Ki’, ‘Pandora Paanch Pachtar’ and ‘Chaand Pukharaj Ka’. He has written and directed the movie, 'Hu Tu Tu' in which actors and actresses like Tabu, Sunil Shetty, Nana Patekar and Suhasini Mulay worked.
Amid the emergency in Delhi, Gulzar's film 'Aandhi’, which was earlier named ‘Aandhi Gandhi’, was put on ban as it was thought that the main character of the movie resembled the Prime Minister of India. But later on, after everything cooled down, the movie was released during the 1970s.
In 2013, Gulzar was appointed as the Chancellor of Assam University. He has been awarded the third-highest civilian award in India, Padma Bhushan in 2004, the Sahitya Academy Award, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, 5 National Film Awards, 22 Filmfare Awards, 1 Academy Award and 1 Grammy Award. He still continues to bless us all with his work and today, we thank him for his contributions to the world of art and wish him a very happy birthday.