Whether it is illustrative thoughts on the moon or the allegory of the window in a concrete jungle, celebrated wordsmith Gulzar brings them up in all his poetry. He says the mind of a poet should be well-versed with reality to give creative thoughts a voice in poetry.
Born in Jhelum, now in Pakistan, Gulzar’s introduction to what is now the concrete jungle of Mumbai happened after the partition of 1947.
As he penned his feelings of city life for the song “Do deewane shahar mein” from the 1977 film “Gharonda”, he conveyed: “In bhoolbhulaiya galiyon mein/Apna bhi koi ghar hoga/Ambar pe khulegi khidki ya/Khidki pe khula ambar hoga.”
“Such imageries still hold a strong relevance in today’s time, in Mumbai city, isn’t it’ Actually, you don’t have to go out of your way somewhere to find out an imagery to write poetry… Imageries are floating around us, take a glance,” Gulzar told IANS in a tete-a-tete here.
While dunking a biscuit in a tea cup, the 83-year-old industry veteran added: “For instance, the moon. It’s a subject that we all are fascinated with. Even as a poet, I wrote quite a lot on that, right’ But an imagery of ‘Toota hua chand (broken moon)’ has come from my little daughter.”
“Rakhee (his estranged wife) used to sing lullabies to Boski (daughter Meghna Gulzar) on a full moon night and one day when Boski saw a half moon, she came to us saying, ‘Dekho, dekho, chand kaise toot gaya!’
“Now, for a regular person, a half moon is not broken, but for a little one, it is. Therefore, I believe all we express in words comes from the observation of reality. Our poetry is the reflection of how we pursue them,” Gulzar explained.
As for his latest work, Gulzar has penned lyrics of a set of eight songs for the album “Dil Peer Hai” composed by iconic singer-composer Bhupinder Singh. According to him, his long association with Singh has culminated in a good collaboration.
The combination has delivered popular songs like “Do deewane shahar mein”, “Ek akela is shahar mein”, “Beeti na beetai raina” and “Huzoor is kadar”, among others.
Sharing his experience of their creative collaboration, Gulzar said: “Yes, we have shared a long journey, not only in film songs but albums as well. And I think the creative understanding always culminates in music when we are collaborating.
“Mostly, I write the lyrics first and then Bhupi composes on it, but in this album I have composed the title song on a tune. Bhupi made me listen to the tune and the lyrics were made in five minutes.
“Kisiko batana nehi, kabhi kabhi aisa tukka kam kar jate hain (Don’t tell anyone, sometimes such a fluke works),” he said and smiled.
“Dil Peer Hai” is the debut album of Bhupinder and Mitali Singh’s music label Bhumittaal Music, a name coined by Gulzar.
Being a multi-talented personality, Gulzar has not only written lyrics but also made films like “Aandhi”, “Hu Tu Tu” and “Maachis”, apart from television series like “Mirza Ghalib” and “Jungle Book” (lyrics and dialogues).
Apart from his writing skills, he is known for reciting poetry in his magnetic voice. He has even published two audiobooks — “Rangeela Geedhad” and “Parwaaz”.
Talking about the impact of reciting one’s own poetry, the Sahitya Akademi Award recipient said: “You see, I am the mother of my poetries. They are born out of my imagination.”
“Therefore, whenever I recite my own poetry, the ‘X’ factor one talks about comes very naturally. It not only happens with my poetry but to all the creative people.
“For instance, a composition of Salil Chowdhury cannot have the same impact from the rendition by Lata Mangeshkar. There is no doubt that Lata is one of the finest singers and did justice to the compositions with the best of her ability, but not the one that Salil-da rendered.
“You get to see the same ‘X’ factor there because Salil-da is the mother of that composition. These differences remain… Always,” Gulzar maintained.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Arundhuti Banerjee