Right from Mora Gora Ang Lai Le (Bandini) to Darrling (7 Khoon Maaf), Gulzar has wowed fans with lyrics that range from sublime to quirky. With a recent album featuring his best hits, the lyricist gives his take on some of his works:
Down memory lane
I have a fond memory associated with the song Mera Kuch Saaman Tumhare Paas Pada Hai from the film Ijaazat. When I first took the song to RD Burman, he took a look at the lyrics and said, "What have you written? Mera Kuch Saaman...?", however when he read the entire song, he was captivated by the lines, Mera Woh Saaman Lauta Do, and started composing a tune for that sentence. He literally composed the song backwards; such was the genius of RD. According to him, it was my luggage song (laughs out loud).
The lyricist I really looked upto was Shailendra. He used to write for the common man, but his words had a lot of imagery. When he wrote 'Mera Joota Hai Japani' he took into account the ongoing political situation and dreams of the middle class. Even on a personal level, it was he who encouraged me to write poetry. If you hear Beedi from Omkara, you will notice the use of the word kacheri. Now, kacheri isn't just a police station, but a representation of the feudal system in rural India. So, you can see the influence of Shailendra on me.
Keeping with the times
I don't think poetry is good or bad. Lyrics keep on changing as per the times. For many, a song like Goli Maar Bheje Mein may not be poetic, but there is a meaning to it. However, I believe that good poetry never goes out of fashion. When I wrote Kajra Re for Bunty Aur Babli, a few people criticised me for using the word 'personal'. But then, I felt that it suited the character quite well. Nowadays, English words in Hindi songs are passe. I am open to more work. My only requisite is that the film should somewhere match with my aesthetic sensibilities.