Gulzar Ghazal





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Published on Oct 12, 2010

Sampooran Singh Kalra (Punjabi: ਸਮਪੂਰਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਕਾਲਰਾ, Hindi: संपूरण सिंह कालरा, Urdu: سمپورن سنگھ کالرا, born 18 August 1936), better known by his pen name Gulzar (Punjabi: ਗੁਲਜ਼ਾਰ, Hindi: गुलज़ार, Urdu: گُلزار), is an Indian poet, lyricist and director. Gulzaar saab, as he is affectionately known, primarily works in Hindi-Urdu. He also works in Punjabi, several dialects of Hindi like braj bhasha, khadi boli, Haryanvi and Marwari.

Gulzar was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2004 for his contribution to the arts, and the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2002. He has also won a number of National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards in various categories. In 2009, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Jai Ho" in the film Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

As a lyricist, Gulzar is best known for his association with the music directors Rahul Dev Burman and A. R. Rahman, and has also worked with other leading Hindi movie music directors including Sachin Dev Burman, Salil Chowdhury, and Madan Mohan.

Early life

Sampooran was born in a Sikh family, to Makhan Singh Kalra and Sujan Kaur, in Dina, Jhelum District, British India. Before becoming an established writer, Sampooran worked as a car mechanic in a garage. He took the pen name Gulzar Deenvi after becoming an author.


Gulzar is best known in India as a lyricist for songs that form an integral part of Indian cinema. He began his career under two other artists - Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. His book Ravi Paar has a narrative of Bimal Roy and the agony of creation. Gulzar started his career as a songwriter with Sachin Dev Burman for the movie "Bandini" (1963). The song was "Mora gora ang layle", picturised on Nutan. His most famous songs have been associated with Rahul Dev Burman in movies such as "Parichay" ("Musafir hoon yaron" sung by Kishore Kumar), "Aandhi" ("Tera bina zindagi se koi" sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore), "Kushboo" ("Ghar Jaayegi" sung by Asha Bhosle) and "Ijaazat" ("Mera kuch saaman" sung by Asha), "Masoom" ("Tujhse naraz nahi zindagi" sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Anoop Ghosal) to name a few. However he has had award-winning associations with Salil Chowdhury (for the movie "Anand"), Madan Mohan ("Mausam"), and more recently with Vishal Bhardwaj ("Maachis"), A. R. Rahman ("Dil Se", "Guru") and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy ("Bunty aur Babli").

Gulzar had leftist leanings (from an Indian perspective[citation needed]) in his early days that can be seen from his early movies (as director) like Mere Apne (translated as 'My dear ones'). His film Aandhi is an oblique criticism of Indian polity, and was banned for a time because it was seen as a criticism of Indira Gandhi for the imposition of the emergency. He also depicted a flair for adapting stories/concepts from literature as well as from other films. Angoor ("Grapes") is based on Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, and Mausam ("Season") is an adaptation of A. J. Cronin's The Judas Tree. Gulzar also adapted the Hollywood classic The Sound of Music into Parichay. He directed an eponymous Television serial on Mirza Ghalib starring Naseeruddin Shah shown on Indian Television Channel Doordarshan in 1988. Gulzar also worked, as a song writer or dialogue writer for several Doordarshan programs for kids such as Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Guchche and Potli Baba Ki together with Vishal Bhardwaj. He has more recently written and narrated for the children's audiobook series Karadi Tales

Gulzar is known for making brilliantly sensitive portrayal of subjects ranging from human relations, biographical profiles and often controversial social issues. For his contributions to Indian cinema, Gulzar was honored with Padma Bhushan in 2004, the third highest civilian award in India. Also, Gulzar and his movies have won numerous awards at the National level including awards for best director and best lyrics. He also won the 2002 Sahitya Akademi Award for 'Dhuan', a collection of Urdu short stories.

Gulzar has developed a new style of writing poems called Triveni which comprises stanzas comprising three lines rhyming with each other. His private album "Koi Baat Chale" with Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh has all the songs written in Triveni.


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