“Cinema in India is hardly 100 years old and literature stands firm from the past 5000 years” is what Gulzar saahab has been seen and heard saying on multiple forums whenever he has discussed about the importance of literature in movies. This is the kind of conviction he had in himself that kept on driving him to write his heart out for more than 55 years now.
With someone who has been making statements through his writings since 1963 and has been regarded as the best writers of all time till date, its hard to believe that he never wanted to write for films. In late 1950s when Gulzar used to work in a motor garage for a living, he used to be an active member of the PWA (Progressive Writers Association) and the IBTA back then where he met and observed legends like lyricist/writer Shailendra.
The first Break:
It was Shailendra who pushed Gulzar to meet Bimal Roy who needed a song for Bandini (1963), that was the moment when he wrote the song Mora gora rang layi le, mohe shyam rang dayi de, with a team of legends like SD Burman, Bimal Roy and Shailendra. That was the time when he started believing in writing for movies will not hamper his dreams of becoming a writer and the rest is history.
After Gulzar made his name as a lyricist in the industry he started writing and directing films. Gulzar is known for making movies on the complexities of the society and entangled human emotions in complex situations. Gulzar is known for teaming up with actors like Jitendra,Jaya Bacchan, Hema Malini, Sanjeev kumar,Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and in 1971 came up with his first movie Mere Apne based on the problems of unemployed youths picking up wrong paths in the 70s, it were songs like Haal chaal thik thak hai (A political satire), after Mere apne Gulzar came up with movies like Parichay(1972), Koshish(1972), Aandhi (1975),Kitaab (1977),Angoor (1982), Ijaazat (1987), Maachis(1996) to name a few of the most popular and acclaimed movies by Gulzar.
Above all the movies that Gulzar managed to make, he came up with a TV series based on the life of the famous poet Mirza Ghalib starring Naseeruddin Shah, Neena gupta, tanvi Azmi where the compositions and vocals were done by jagjit and Chitra Singh. Mirza Ghalib was a project that Gulzar always wanted to do, initially he wished to make a movie as his biography but teamed up with Doordarshan to make a 400 minutes TV series instead. As per Gulzar, Mirza Ghalib is one project that he takes most pride in being able to execute in his career.
Apart from this Gulzar also made a documentary in 1990 on the famous Sarod player the Padma Vibhushan Ustad Amjad Ali Khan for which he also received a Filmfare award.
Are you also wondering …. What made Gulzar quit Film Making?
Gulzar decided to quit making movies after 1999. He took this decision to achieve his personal aspirations to indulge himself in writing books and more importantly he wanted to give something back to the society, he works with several NGOs in Bhopal, M.P.
He believed today’s children don’t get enough relevant literature and poetry taught to them which he is changing by making hand picked poems and literary works reach these children which he finds relevant in today’s world, also translating and compiling R.N. Tagore’s work in more than 20 languages, to accomplish these he kept himself from movie making and limits himself to write songs till date.
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