When Yash Chopra decided to return to direction with his new offering starring Shahrukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif he chose Gulzar to pen the lyrics, after all Yash Chopra is returning to direction after a long time, and to make the impact there is nobody else but Gulzar in present times who can make the audience swoon to the songs. For a man who turned 76 recently, it indeed is a monumental moment as he has continued to enthrall the audience from the time when he picked up his pen to compose the songs.
The magic of Gulzar lies in the fact that he has continued to evolve himself with the changing times and the lyrics that he continues to pen have an element of contemporaneous to it, and this is one of the reasons how he was conferred the Oscars award as well for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Gulzar through his lyrics contributes to the success of film in a big way and it was made possible as he never wrote lyrics in abstract, but he penned them after reading the story of the film.
The element of difference that characterized him was evident from his first film BANDINI, ‘mora gora rang layeele’, where the line, ‘ek laaj roke paiyaa, ek moh kheenche baiyya‘, is a modern echo of what Ghalib had written- ima mujhe roke hai jo kheenche hai mujhe kufr, kaaba mere peeche hai kaleesa mere aage‘. This has been the hallmark of the lyrics of Gulzar.
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The element of contemporaneous that is his style became manifest when he directed his first film MERE APNE, and the terse comment on the existentialist dilemma of a youth through the lyrics, ‘Haal Chaal THeek Thak hai’.
May be the niche that he could carve for himself was owing primarily to the fact that he is a voracious reader of literature of all kinds, especially Punjabi literature, and the warmth in his lyrics is perhaps a by-product of the essence of literature that he could bring in the distilled format in his poetic expressions.
He is one of the few writers who still nurses the pains of partition in his heart and he has used the metaphor of separation that was created through partition throughout his works to convey the pain and pathos that he has experienced. Any lyrics that he has written, it is the element of loss arising out of partition in one form or the other, the element of despondency and a hope of meeting what is aspired for has been the primary reason how his fan following has continued to increase across generations. May he live to complete a century and enrich the lives of his fans with his magical words.