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Biography

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Overview (1)

Date of Birth 18 August 1936Dina, British India (now Pakistan)

Mini Bio (1)

Gulzar is a writer, a lyricist, a director and, at heart, a poet. His films, sensitive, lyrical, and yet successful, were a welcome relief from the violent films that filled the 1970s and 1980s.

Born Sampooran Singh Kalra in Deena, in the Jhelum District in what is now Pakistan, he came to Delhi after the partition during independence as a poet. He joined Bimal Roy Productions in 1961 and got his first break as a lyricist writing for Bimal Roy's Bandini (1963). The success of this film made him Bimalda's full-time assistant and got him writing for films by acclaimed directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Asit Sen. Some of the films he has written include Anand (1971), Guddi (1971), Bawarchi (1972), and Namak Haraam (1973) for Mukherjee; and Do Dooni Char (1968), Khamoshi (1970), and Safar (1970) for Sen.

Gulzar made his directorial debut with Mere Apne (1971). Based on Tapan Sinha's "Apanjan," the film looks at an old woman (played by Meena Kumari) caught between two street gangs of unemployed and frustrated youths. He then went on to make Parichay (1972) (loosely based on The Sound of Music (1965)) and Koshish (1972), which gave a superb look at the trials of a deaf and dumb couple (played by Jaya Bhaduri and Sanjeev Kumar). From this film came a mutually beneficial partnership with Kumar, which resulted in fine films like Mausam (1975), Angoor (1982)Namkeen (1982), and the classic film Aandhi (1975), which had been banned for a while. However, Gulzar didn't always depend on Sanjeev Kumar: the stars of the time, such as Jeetendra, Vinod Khanna, and Hema Malini, worked with him in unglamorous roles and gave some of their best and introspective performances in films like Achanak (1973), Khushboo (1975), and Kinara (1977).

Musically, Gulzar was unbeatable. Being a lyricist and collaborating with film composers, he always had a high quality of music in his films, especially with Rahul Dev Burman. And while Burman became a pop icon with his tunes from Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973) and Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977), he also gave Gulzar classic pieces with which to work in Khushboo (1975) and Ijaazat (1987).

Sadly, the 1980s and 1990s saw a decline in Gulzar the director, and although films such as Lekin... (1990) and Maachis (1996) had their moments, his last film to date, Hu Tu Tu (1999), was a misfire. However, he tried his hand at television with the much acclaimed television film Mirza Ghalib (1988). Made about the poet's life and starring Naseeruddin Shah in the title role, the serial was a landmark in Indian Television. Gulzar has also directed documentaries on Amjad Khan and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi as well as "Shaira," a film based on Meena Kumari. He has also turned his creativity into other channels--he has written screenplays for films like Masoom (1983) and Rudaali (1993), and has written the lyrics for films like Dil Se.. (1998) and Saathiya (2002).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Q. Leo Rahman

Spouse (1)

Rakhee Gulzar (? - ?)

Trade Mark (1)

Always uses a flashback technique in his films, due to his belief that the present is never complete until the past is reflected upon.

Trivia (4)

Has written a number of books on poetry, children's stories and short stories. A children's storybook of his named Ekta received an award from the NCERT (National Council for Education, Research and Training).
He was associated with the PWA (Progressive Writers' Association) in Delhi.
Though an Urdu writer, there was a strong influence of Bengali literature in his work.
Father of director Meghna Gulzar.

Personal Quotes (1)

Music has a natural place in our lives. Right from the shloka you recite in your morning puja and the milkman who comes whistling on his cycle, to the fakir singing as he begs for alms and your mother humming around the kitchen. Music fills our spaces naturally. It will always be dear to us.

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