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From Aandhi to Slumdog Millionaire, Gulzar has given Hindi cinema something new always

Gulzar has brought a different dimension to Indian cinema, not just through his lyrics and dialogues, but also through a range of critically acclaimed films.

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New Delhi: There are few artists who are loved and appreciated by people from all generations and poet, lyricist and filmmaker Gulzar is surely one among them.

Be it millennials or their parents, everyone has some attachment or the other with Gulzar, who celebrates his 84th birthday Saturday. Such has been the career of the artist that even those who don’t know him have grown up listening and loving his words. From ‘Jungle Jungle Baat Chali hai’ to ‘Humko Mann ki Shakti’ to classics such as ‘Tere Bina Zindagi se Shiqwa’, all of us have adored Gulzar’s works over the years.

When Sampooran Singh Kalra aka Gulzar was born in Jhelum district of Punjab in British India (now in Pakistan) 84 years ago, no one could have imagined the legend he was going to become.

He moved to India after Partition with his family. Later, he came to Bombay and worked as a garage mechanic while pursuing his love for poetry. Today, he is known as a poet, lyricist, author, screenwriter, film director and producer.

Starting out as a lyricist in the early sixties, Gulzar has brought a different dimension to Indian cinema. Not just through his lyrics and dialogues, but also through films such as Mere ApneAandhiHu Tu Tu, Gulzar gave a real sense of human relationships and social realities to the Indian audience.

Also read: R.D. Burman’s magic can make everyone from a grandma to an expat sing along

His directorial debut Mere Apne (1971) talks about the angst of the unemployed educated youth and their exploitation by politicians.

Another masterpiece by Gulzar is the Sanjeev Kumar-Suchitra Sen starrer Aandhi (1975) which shows a woman politician at the helm of things, struggling to strike a balance between her career her and her relationship with husband. The film is known for breaking the traditional outlook attached with the actresses of that time, who were generally confined to playing the sidekick of the hero in the role of his mother, sister, wife or daughter.

Gulzar is not an artist of the bygone era; he is still active, penning lyrics for award-winning films. With Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Gulzar received an Oscar and a Grammy award (shared with A.R. Rahman) for the song ‘Jai Ho’.

An inspiration to many, Gulzar has managed to bring a variety to his work. With songs like ‘Kajra Re’, ‘Beedi’, ‘Bismil’, Gulzar has refused to categorise his work under one definition.

Also read: 12 Kishore Kumar songs that are absolute gems but forgotten even by die-hard fans


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  1. Gulzar Saheb is timeless, ageless, priceless. Mora gora ang laile, which started his trek to greatness, was one of the first songs I heard as a child. Wife and I were in college when we saw films like Mausam. Aandhi’s songs, more than the film itself, make those years come alive. 2. Younger Indians may not know that Bosky, the pet name he gave to his talented daughter Meghna, was a soft fabric imported from China.

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