Musings,  People

Gulzar: A wizard with words

It is very difficult for me to describe what makes Gulzar stand out. He uses everyday words, and then weaves magic out of them. Gulzar is a writer who can make the most mundane things seem extraordinary with his ability to see music in them. I find myself running out of words when it comes to describe my favorite writer and lyricist. And so I think it is best to let Gulzar’s own words speak about his art. Not many people can play with words so well! Who else can write:

गुठली गुठली घूमता है, यूं चूसा गया है आम आदमी !

What’s better, he has a baritone which brings his words to life. Listen to him:

Few can write about relationships like he does. I can watch Ijaazat again and again and cry with Maya each time. As for the lyrics of Mera kuch samaan, they still live on, embellished by Pancham’s music and Asha Bhosle’s voice. They made an awesome trio Gulzar-Pancham-Asha, and I probably wore out the cassettes of all their albums rewinding them again and again. He brought life into film lyrics with his choice of unusual phrases. He understands the warps and wefts that underlie affection like no one does. He can write lyrics for characters from all strata of society. Remember the engine driver’s “Dhanno ke aankhon mein raat ka surma” or “Khaali rickshey sa peeche peeche chalta hai”?

But today, let’s enjoy some works of Gulzar which are not all that popular:


His words never fail to touch me. He once wrote this about his words:

कागज़ पर गिरते ही फूटे लफ़्ज़ कई
कुछ धुआँ उठा… चिंगारियां कुछ
इक नज़म में फिर से आग लगी!

जलते शहर में बैठा शायर
इससे ज़यादा करे भी क्या?
लफ़्ज़ों से आग नहीं बुझती
नज़मों से ज़ख्म नहीं भरते!

He talks about his writing. In his own words:

Writing is a shock absorber. It has the capacity to absorb all upheavals, shocks, pains, all the conditions you’re going through. It is like driving along a road which could be uneven or bumpy. Writing then becomes your vehicle — it takes you along and you go atop it, as though you were riding a tiger.”


As he would say in his style: Aap se bhi khoobsoorat aapke andaaz hain.

Happy birthday Gulzar sa’ab!

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