Sampooran Singh Kalra (Punjabi: ਸਮਪੂਰਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਕਾਲਰਾ, Hindi: संपूरण सिंह कालरा, Urdu: سمپورن سنگھ کالرا) (born 18 August 1936), known popularly by his pen name Gulzar (Punjabi: ਗੁਲਜ਼ਾਰ, Hindi: गुलज़ार, Urdu: گُلزار ), is an Indian poet, lyricist and director.
He primarily writes in Hindi-Urdu and has also written in Punjabi and several dialects of Hindi such as Braj Bhasha, Khariboli, Haryanvi and Marwari.
Gulzar was born in a Kalra Arora Sikh family, to Makhan Singh Kalra and Sujan Kaur, in Dina, Jhelum District, British India, in what is now Pakistan. Before becoming an established writer, Sampooran worked in Delhi as a car mechanic in a garage.He took the pen name Gulzar Deenvi after becoming an author.
Gulzar began his film career as an assistant to Bimal Roy. He also worked with Hrishikesh Mukherjee in the beginning of his career. He started writing songs for films with Bimal da’s Bandini. ‘Mora Gora Ang Layee Le’ is supposed to be his first song. Although his first film to be released was Kabuli Wala, which also had some all time greats like Ganga aaye kahan se. Bandini and Kabuliwala were followed by Sannata, Biwi aur Makan, Do Dooni Chaar and most notable of all Khamoshi and various others during 60’s.
After getting recognition as a sensitive lyricist, he started writing scripts and stories for films. Then with Mere Apne in 1971, He turned Director. Since then he has given us lots of beautiful, serious and funny moments through his movies. He has written stories for around 60 films and directed 17 movies, each one a masterpiece.
Gulzar gives credit for his love for Urdu and poetry to his Urdu teacher in Delhi’s United Christian School where Urdu was the medium of instruction till Independence. Much of his poetry is a nostalgic trip to his childhood. He wanted to take up literature but was not allowed to. His eldest brother asked him to do C.A. He also worked in a motor servicing garage in Mumbai. He met a lot of poet friends in films through Progressive Writers’ Association by becoming a member because his thirst for poetry survived even in the dust and the grime of the garage. It was triggered by the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and friendships with Basu Bhattacharya, Salil Choudhury, Debu Sen, Shailendra and Sukhbir, a prominent Punjabi-Hindi poet.”
During 1987-1996 he went away from the seen as he did only 7 films as lyricist and 2 as director in the span of 10 years. During this period he did one of the most outstanding jobs for the small screen, the serial called Mirza Ghalib, a tribute to the legendary poet. Mirza Ghalib will remain one of the most memorable TV productions for its music, direction, dialouges and portrayel of Mirza Ghalib by Naseeruddin Shah. 1996 saw Gulzar back in action, behind the camera for the making of Maachis, a candor document on terrorism in Punjab. The success of Maachis, got Gulzar back to the film industry. After Maachis, he teamed up with new breed of music directors like AR Rahman, Anu Malik, Jatin Lalit, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The magic of Dil Se’s music won him yet another Filmfare award. His recent venture HU TU TU received critical acclaim. Gulzar is back with his pen, in 2006 he received best lyricist award at almost every major award function. He has recently did a tele serial on Munshi Premchand’s works titled Tehrir Munshi Premchand ki, which was on air recently.
Gulzar is married to actress Raakhee. Both separated (but never divorced) when Meghna was one year old. They have a daughter, Meghna. Gulzar has given her nickname ‘Boski’, which is also an eponym for their home, ‘Boskiana’.
Tagore became a favourite with Gulzar, ever since he read Gardener, translation of a short story by Tagore. “One single-minded aim was to read Tagore in the original,” Gulzar elaborates, having learnt to read and write Bengali. “My love for everything Bengali cuts across my life. I married Raakhee, a Bengali, perhaps in the hope of picking up the subtle nuances of the spoken language. I named my daughter Meghna, after a river in Bengal, now in Bangladesh. I have read my favourite Bengali writers and poets in the original.”
Meghna has turned film director and made a sensitive film on surrogate motherhood, Filhaal. Her next movie has a lighthearted take on the marriage institution and is called Just Married. It was released in Feb 2007. An insight into the life of Gulzar can be taken through a book called ‘Because he is…’, a biography written by his daughter Meghna Gulzar.
Although films gave him a mass recognition, Poetry always remained his first love. His first poetry collection Ek Boond Chaand was published in 1962. Roopa – Harper Collins has recently published his new poetry book Triveni. A collection of Gulzar poems titled “Raat, Chaand aur Mein” was also released recently, covering poems related to only Raat and Chaand. Another peotry collection Raat Pashmine ki has recently been published in Pakistan. The Indian version of Raat Pashmine Ki is released later on Roopa-Harper. Mera Kuchh Samaan and Chhaiyya Chhaiyya are the two song collections of gulzar.
Government of India has conferred Gulzar saab with the National Honour of PADMABHUSHAN.
Gulzar won the Oscar for Best Song with Music Director AR Rahman for the song Jai Ho! (Slumdog Millionaire)…. Jai Ho!
After Oscars Gulzar saab has now won the Grammy award with AR Rahman for Jai Ho (Best Song Written for a film). Jai Ho!
Among his favourite poets, he names Tagore, Subhash Mukhopadhyay, Jibananda Das, Romanian poet Marin Sorescu, Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ahmed Nadim Qasmi. The filmmakers he respects are Satyajit Ray and Aparna Sen. He dedicated his book of short stories, entitled Michelangelo and Other Stories (2002) to Raakhee, who he calls “the longest short story of my life.”
About the social role of cinema, Gulzar says, “Every film is a medium of expression for its maker. In fact, any form of art has the responsibility of promoting aesthetics and social values and to keep a critical eye on society. To study and improve social relationships is the role of any creative artiste through any medium – nationally and internationally. Cinema is no exception. Filmmaking is not just one art of expression. It is an assembly of arts. It is this complex form that makes it more fascinating than other forms of expression and perhaps, that is good enough reason for me to make films,” he sums up.
At 75, the lines on his handsome face are a bit pronounced. His famous one-day stubble is generously sprinkled with his favourite colour, white. When asked how he manages to keep his kurta-pyjama so spotlessly white, he smiles and says everything is possible if you have the will.
Gulzar holds the record of winning most number of Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist (10 in total) as well as Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue (4 in total).
Gulzar continuous to write, today he is undoubtedly one of the best poets of this age and the finest lyricist in India. His service to Urdu and Poetry will live forever.
For more pictures/photos of Gulzar you can visit : “Taswir-e-Gulzar”- Photographs of Gulzar
NOTE : The above is not my original work, the information and facts have been taken from various sources, wikipedia, the tribute, gulzaronline, other gulzar websites and many online sources. I would like to thank them for their efforts. I have collected and arranged the info, facts and pics, which required lots of effort and time, some editing has been done where required.
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