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Lyricists on Gulzar being honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke award

As Gulzar gets the Dadasaheb Phalke award, the younger lot of lyricists pick their best from the genius’ work exclusively for us and tell us what sets this legend apart from the rest

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced that Gulzar was chosen for 2013's Dadasaheb Phalke Award. This begs the question: is it possible to praise — let alone quantify — the works of someone whose deftness with words is legendary?

Gulzar
79-year-old Sampooran Singh Kalra aka Gulzar is the worthy recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2013. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Since it is a tricky task, hitlist asked several lyricists — young and old — to reveal their thoughts on their favourite song written by Gulzar. Although it’s criminal to confine his enormous contribution to cinema to just beautiful lyrics — he’s an accomplished filmmaker as well as dialogue-writer — there’s no denying that his poetry is a joy to behold.

Irshad Kamil
Irshad Kamil

Favourite Gulzar song: Mera kuch samaan from Ijaazat (1987)
Why: “This is my favourite song because it says so much about the change in relationship without taking sides. Though the title sounds materialistic, it’s not about things but the emotions attached to them.”
The Gulzar effect: “I can’t recall any other songwriter who can provide characterisation to a song the way Gulzarsaab does. He adds elements which we might miss but he points them out to us in his own inimitable fashion.”
A few lines from the song: Ek akeli chhatri mein jab aadhe aadhe bheeg rahe the, aadhe sukhe aadhe gile, sukha to mai le aayi thi, gilaa mann shayad bistar ke paas padaa ho woh bhijwa do...

Prasoon Joshi
Prasoon Joshi

Favourite Gulzar song: Mora gora ang laile from Bandini (1963)
Why: “This is the kind of song that you attentively listen to and it then makes you want to try your hand at poetry. At least that’s what it did to me.

The song, Mora gora ang lai le from 'Bandini', marked Gulzar's debut  as a film songwriter
The song, Mora gora ang lai le from 'Bandini', marked Gulzar's debut  as a film songwriter

I’ve not seen that kind of balance between thought and craft in Hindi film lyrics.”
The Gulzar effect: “To me, Gulzarsaab is mukhtalif (different). He doesn’t deviate from his vision thanks to his consistent style. What I admire the most about him is that he never tries to write everything for everyone.”
A few lines from the song: Kuch kho diya hain payake, kuch paa liya gawayake/Kaha le chala hain manwa, mohe bawari banayake..

Rajat Arora
Rajat Arora

Favourite Gulzar song: Tere bina jiya from Ghar (1978)
Why: “There are so many songs about the relationship between a man and a woman but this
song touches upon bereavement. And it does so without sounding morose. There’s optimism in each word.”
The Gulzar effect: “He’s the youngest writer around. I say that because he redefines the word ‘youth’ for me. His style of thinking is ageless and relevant even today because he can convert complicated emotions into simple thoughts.”
A few lines from the song: Jab bhi khayalon mein tu aaye, mere badan se khushbu aaye/ Maheke badan mein raha naa jaye, raha jaye nai

Kausar Munir
Favourite Gulzar song: Mora gora ang laile from Bandini (1963)
Why: “I remember listening to it on radio and I was enamoured by ‘Chhup jaoongi raat hi mein, mohe pi ka sang dai de’ and I wondered, ‘Koi raat mein kaise chhup sakta hai?’ (‘How can anyone hide within the night’s fold?’). His words personified the night.”
The Gulzar effect: “I admire Gulzarsaab for his absolutely original imagery. The emotional landscape that he creates with his words is unparalleled. It’s superlative talent, skilled artistry and truly something special.”
A few lines from the song: Ek laj roke paiyya, ek moh khinche baiyya/Jaau kidhar naa janu, humka koyi batayide

Swanand Kirkire
Swanand Kirkire

Favourite Gulzar song: Zindagi mere ghar aana from Dooriyan (1979)
Why: “What can be more beautiful than a song that invites a life inside your home? My favourite lines from it are ‘Na dastak zaruri / na awaaz dena / mere ghar ka darvaaza koi nahin hai’.
The Gulzar effect: “Finding poetry in day-to-day things and weaving them into a song is what sets Gulzarsaab apart. He’s different and if you pay attention to the romance in his words, his ideas never fail to amaze you.”
A few lines from the song: Main saanson ki raftaar se jaan loongi havaaon ki khushboo se pehchaan loongi, tera phool hoon dost, teri bhool hoon dost, tere haathon mein chehra chhupa ke jeena hai jeena

Varun Grover
Varun Grover

Favourite Gulzar song: Lakdi ki kathi from Masoom (1983)
Why: “This song used to be my lullaby! I grew up listening to it. Not many songs are being written nowadays for children and when I go back to this song, I realise how well-nuanced this song is.”
The Gulzar effect: “Connecting two words which have nothing to do with each other and making them sound like they were made for each other — that’s what I find incredibly marvelous about Gulzarsaab.”
A few lines from the song: Ghoda tha ghamandi pahuncha sabji mandi/Sabji mandi baraf padi thi baraf mein lag gai thandi

Amitabh Bhattacharya
Amitabh Bhattacharya

The Gulzar effect: I have no one favourite Gulzar song. He did much more than just write wonderful songs. He went ahead and opened this huge window of thoughts and allowed in an unconventional form of writing. He effortlessly inspired — and continues to do so — many young songwriters with his vast body of work. I’m glad they chose to give him this award.”

Going by the poetry in the song, it's difficult to label Kajra Re as an item number
Going by the poetry in the song, it's difficult to label Kajra Re as an item number

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