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In Brief
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First take

Gulzar, the word, means bustling with life and Gulzar, the man, stands for a life lived like a poem...YASHWANT VYAS spent some hours with Gulzar..and this is FIRST TAKE-

"One called me Abey, another said Aye ji and someone else addressed me as Aman. But once, at the corner of a street you called me Gulzar...I understand the meaning....Gulzar-as a pearl emerges from a shell...Ah, it's a beautiful name. Call me Gulzar again and again."

As Gulzar spells his takhallus (pseudonym), he recalls a tender couplet. Gulzar, the word, means bustling with life and Gulzar, the man, stands for a life lived like a poem.


Parichay, Khusboo, Andhi, Meera, Kinara, Angoor, Libaas, Lekin, Maya Memsab, Gulzar has time and again proved that his poetry comes from his heart. Amidst a crass commercial filmy world Gulzar, has carved a niche for himself which is adorned by recognition and accolades of all kinds.

Talking about Gulzar trhe best way, would be to imagine his life as a couplet. Ula is the first line of a sher and is incomplete, whereas Sanithe second miss around off the couplet completely. What could be the Ula and Sani of Gulzar's life ?

"You have put it quite poetically", comments Gulzar on the querry. "In my life there are certain parts where Ula lingers on and remains open because there is no Siya (consequence) to complete it. The knot is not tied But in certain situations there is no difficulty as events happen suddenly on their own. The couplet of life, thus, gets complete. I can say, poetically that I have the Ula in hand but am still fumbling with Sani to tie the knot. In my life, I recall desiring to be a great writer but had no wish to join films. friends, I had plenty in the cine-world-Shailendra, Salil Saheb, Debu Sen and Krishna Chander's younger brother, but taking up a movie lyricist's profession was a different thing. Nobody does anything in life consciously or deliberately. It happened to me too. I joined films. Similarly, I wanted to read Bengali literature in original. It so transpired that my guru was a Bengali. Later, I fell in love with a Bengali girl and married her. Let us say :

"Dard ka dil se kuch kuch aisa hai ravziya jaise
sur lagaye aur thehar jaye jaise...
kahan aakar thehra, keh nahin sakte."

So life is unpredictable out there are a few things in life that can be predicted to some extent-predictions based on habits and traits. Like the character of Gulzar's poems. They reflect the convergance of Punjabi, Urdu and Bengali in his mind and personality. Does this conclusion hold any water, one might wonder ? To some extent yes, because Punjabi and Urdu were his mediums but "my published works were in Hindi."

Gulzar goes on to state a few missed out facts about poetry in the country. "The real Indian poetry can't be known or appreciated through one dialect to me. Urdu and Hindi Poems didn't seem enough. Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam or Gujarati too had to be there, I am just overwhelmed-so many languages, so much of poetry. Punjabi is mine, so are Bengali and Hindi-the whole of India is mine."

Expressions can be made in any language. What ever the language, feelings remain the same. No matter how you express the thoughts, they have to be brought out. And even if he were to write in some other language the nature of Gulzar's poetry would be the same. The night, the moon, the sun, the mist, the footfalls and the whispers-all as tender. Emotions and a soft approach have been the hallmark of his poetry. Doesn't he agree with this ? He does; but goes on to confirm, "My writing on tender things is not a cultivated habit. It comes out of my being. Night and moon are two of the repeated images in my poetry. Once Ashaji (Asha Bhonsle) complained about one of my films songs in a light mood. 'Look, the moon is here again. Can't you compose a song without the moon intruding into it ?

However, you will find that I call the moon differently in my poems-once it is a bowl and at another time it turns up as a cowry shell. A couplet of mine goes like this:

Raat ke ped par dekha the chand
bas, pak ke girne wala tha
Suraj aya tha zara uski talashi lene.

I wrote a couplet from which the title of my book has been derived.

The verse reads :
Ek sabab marne ka
Ek talab jine ke
Chand pukhraj ka
Raat pashmine ke."

Film music. Sometimes the distortions of lyrics made, seem amusing and there are times when they seem annoying. ..what does Gulzar say ?
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