Because He Is…

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Letter, Literature, Media, Music, Musings, Poetry)

Gulzaar Sahab turns 75 today…

The moment i think of Gulzar what come to my mind is the winter of 2002. My days and nights then were dedicated to writing poetry on this senior of mine whom i admierd a lot.The film Sathiya had hit the screens all over India and the songs were extremely popular. One of the line in the lines in the title song said Teri Ek Hansi Ke Badley Meri Yeh Zameen Le Le, Mera Asmaan Le Le… I was so jealous of Gulzar sahab then and i hated him so much those days because here was someone who in his old age was wirting such romantic lines which my teenage lovelines would just not match!!! My jealousy and my hatred for Gulzar those daya was an offshoot of my respect and admiration for his creative mind.

Few years later he wrote another song which again made me feel jealousy of his mind which worked in such a fine fashion. This time when he was older and he had written the line Kal Jo Miley Toh Maathey Per Mere Suraj Ugaa Dena… Ever sincei heard this line every time i saw a coloured forehead of any girl the bindi would appear like a sun to me… “What an imagination,” i would tell myself and add to it, “If i ever write one such line, i would stop writing after that.”

Somewhat during the same time Gulzar Sahab came up with yet another song which drove the entire nation crazy- Bidi Jalai Le. This song i heard first, in the form of recitation. Ravi Belagere (A popular Kannada journalist) had recited this song in the form of a poetry at Kavya habba in Bangalore. When i heard the words “Lehaaf” and “Gilaaf” i assumed that it was one more elitish poem. But the nattorious “Bidi Jalai Le Jigar Se Piyaa, Jigar Mein Badi Aag Hai,” i was thrilled because Gulzar sahab was singing to the gallery using some of the finest and sophesticated words like “Lehaaf” and “Gilaaf“

There is something extraordinary about Gulzar sahab’s poetical skills. One word or one detail would lift the entire poem to a different level. Listen to the song “Aye Zindagi Gale Lagaa Le,” from the film Sadma. The lyrics reads, “Aye zindagi gale laga le. Humne bhi tere har ek gam ko gale se lagaaya hai, hai na?” Now look at the beauty added by the concluding question “Hai na?” in the lyrics. It appears as if Gulzar sahab has made life stand before him and asking for an answer from life saying “Now the ball is in your court. Give me an answer.”

Or listen to the song from Massom- “Tujhse naraaz nahi zindagi hairaan hun main hairaan hun main. Tere masoom sawalon se pareshaan hun main pareshaan hun main.” Now imagine the song without the word Masoom. It wouldnt have been as affective as it is now, it appears to me. The underlying meaning of the song being that life is still very kind. What a fine detail it is. The film Massom was also written by Gulzar sahab. There is one particular scene which yet again reflects the sensitivity, sensibility and details to which he concentrates. Husband (Naseruddin Shah) and wife (Shabana Azmi) are going through a tough time. There is a crack in the family relationship. One day the husband enters the room while the wife is changing her saree. The moment the husband enters the room the wife rushes to the bathroom!!! Could one depict the crack between husband and wife in a better way??? Nothing is said yet so many volumes spoken in one scene!!!

Take the song ‘Mera Kuch Saamaan” from the film Ijaazat. Not a single word in the song accusing the ‘lover’ of having cheated and let down or a single refernce to the lover as ‘heartless’ or any such synonyms, yet there is so much said in the song that the ‘lover’ should feel ashamed of his act. The same film has a small piece of poetry which i keep repeating every now and then. It reads: “Chaltey Chaltey Mera Saaya Kabhi Kabhi Yun Karta Hai. Zamin Se Uthke Saamne Aakar Haath Pakad Ker Kehta Hai- Ab Ki Baar Main Aagey Aagey Chalta Hun, Tum Peecha Karke Dekh Zara Kya Hota Hai.” How can someone think in this fashion, i just dont understand! What an imagination of the shadow getting up and holding the hand!!! Running short of better words one should say brilliant.

The best of Gulzar is undoubtedly found in his poetry and not in his lyrics or his film scripts. Or it can be said that the colour seen in his lyrics and screenplays are an offshoot of his poetic skills. To me the best of Gulzar poems, of what i have read is:

Subha Subha Ek Khwaab Ke Dastak Per Darwaaza Khola, Dekha
Sarhad Ke Paar Se Kuch Mehmaan Aaye Tey.
Aankho Se Manoos Tey Saarey Chehare Saare Sune Sunaaye.
Paavn Dhoye Haath Dhulaaye, Angaan Mein Aasan Lagwaaye
Aur Tandoor Pe Makki Ke Kuch Motey Motey Rot Pakaaye.
Potli Mein Mehmaan Mere Pichle Saalon Ke Faslon Ka Gud Laaye Tey.

Aankh Khuli Toh Dekha Ghar Mein Koi Nahi Tha.
Haath Lagake Dekha Toh Tandoor Abhi Tak Bujha Nahi Tha
Aur Hoton Pe Meetey Gud Ka Zaika Ab Tak Chipak Raha Tha.

Khwaab Tha Shayad, Khwaab Hi Hoga.
Sarhad Per Kal Raat Suna Hai Chali Thi Goli,
Sarhad Per Kal Raat Suna Hai Kuch Khwaabon Ka Khun Hua Hai.

And everytime i remember this poem i recollect what an activist friend of mine once said about Gulzar. My friend said, “He acts so apolitical.” This poem which has a political touch, does not touch any politics directly and harshly. There is also a part of thw world which expected Gulzar sahab, who has witnessed partition, to speak up loudly about the politics of hatred being sown. But unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, Gulzar sahab hasnt done anything of that sort in a grand manner. But this has never stopped me from humming his songs, reciting his poems when with freinds and reciting it to myself in my loneliness.

Happy birthday Gulzaar sahab…

18 August 2009

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1 Comment

  1. Swarna said,

    Very nice write up.
    I love “Kathra kathra jeene do..”.
    Your lines in Avadhi are also wonderful.
    Keep writing.

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