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Book Review: BECAUSE HE IS by Meghna Gulzar

July 9, 2012 07:07:16 PM IST
By Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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When the century of Hindi cinema is being celebrated, the contribution of a writer in the evolution of cinema also needs to be focused upon. There would be scores of writers whose names can be thought of as having played a monumental role in the evolution of Hindi cinema, but no one would dispute about the contribution of Gulzar to the world of Hindi cinema. He is one writer who was groomed under the baton of legendary Bimal Roy, and has been responsible for giving Hindi cinema one of the best lyrics ever written. He has been an institution himself who has seen cinema evolve and has worked with the best actors and actresses.

There is no better way to understand Gulzar than through the book written by his daughter Meghna Gulzar, BECAUSE HE IS.

In the present times where there is a lot of conflict in the relationship between the parents and the children, Gulzar's view as brought about by Meghna Gulzar should be imbibed by all the parents- he holds the view that a parent should not forget that he became a parent from the time their child came into the world, so there is no age difference between a child and his parent and so a parent should not try to assert his age on a child.


The evolution of Gulzar as a poet has its genesis in his keenness to play Antakshri when he had landed in then Bombay in 1960s. He was fascinated by the written word from the beginning of his career, and it is pointed out from the evidence in the book as well. Gulzar had written his name alongside Guy De Mupassant's book Miss Harriet and it forms a part of pictures in the book.

Gulzar had an interesting relationship with Sanjeev Kumar, he had seen him playing the role of an old man in the adoption of Ibsen's play, "All My Sons", and Sanjeev Kumar played the role of an old man in most of the films Gulzar made with him. The change only came when Gulzar made ANGOOR. Meghna Gulzar has pointed out in the book how passionate Sanjeev Kumar was with his films. The day shooting of the film would come to an end, he would bring a bottle of whiskey, drink it, and weep.

It is through this book that controversy associated between Meena Kumari and Gulzar also comes to rest. It was Meena Kumari who had given Gulzar her book of poetry when she was on her death bed. Both shared amazing relationship, and Gulzar used to observe Roza for Meena Kumari after she had passed away, as he had given the word to do it.

Aamir Khan indeed should have referred to KOSHISH when he had focused on an episode of differently challenged people in the episode of SATYAMEV JAYATE, as more than three decade ago Gulzar had made a sensitive film KOSHISH where he had succinctly brought out trial and tribulations of such persons.

How many of us are aware about the fact that he had acted in a film as well? Indeed, Gulzar had enacted role of Shaheed Udham Singh in the film JALIANWALA BAGH. Gulzar is important for the Hindi film industry for the sheer fact that he scripted debut films for quite a lot of people. Among those who benefitted from his gift of gab include Ramesh Sippy for whom Gulzar had written ANDAZ he had written NEW DELHI TIMES for Ramesh Sharma, GHARAUNDA for Bhimsen, HIP HIP HURRAY for Prakash Jha, EK PAL for Kalpana Lazmi and MASOOM for Shekhar Kapoor, all the films being milestones of Hindi cinema in one form or the other.

The book also brings in succinct detail the sensitive relationship that Gulzar shared with his wife, Rakhee Gulzar and continues to share to this day. As Rakhee had told him about his skill, "अगर तुम्हारे पास ये कलम नहीं होती तो तुम बड़े साधारण आदमी होते". But indeed, he has the gift and therefore Gulzar is one of the finest writers Hindi cinema has been fortunate enough to be blessed with.


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