Sampooran Singh Kalra ,known popularly by his pen name “Gulzar” is an poet, lyricist and director. He primarily writes in Hindi-Urdu and has also written in Punjabi and several dialects of Hindi such as Braj Bhasha, Khariboli, Haryanvi and Marwari.Gulzar was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2004 for his contribution to the arts and the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2002. He has won a number of National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards. In 2009, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Jai Ho” in the film Slumdog Millionaire (2008). On 31 January 2010, the same song won him a Grammy Award in the category of Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.Gulzar’s poetry is partly published in three compilations: Chand Pukhraaj Ka, Raat Pashminey Ki and Pandrah Paanch Pachattar (15-05-75).
His short stories are published in Raavi-paar (also known as Dustkhat in Pakistan) and Dhuan (smoke).As a lyricist, Gulzar is best known for his association with the music directors Rahul Dev Burman, A. R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj. He has also worked with other leading Bollywood music directors including Sachin Dev Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Shankar Jaikishan, Hemant Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, Rajesh Roshan, Anu Malik, and Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy. Along with lyrics, he has also contributed in many films as script, story and dialogue writer. Films directed by him have also won numerous awards and have been critically acclaimed. He also had worked on small screen by creating series Mirza Ghalib and Tahreer Munshi Premchand ki among others. He wrote lyrics for several Doordarshan serials including Hello Zindagi, Potli Baba ki and Jungle Book.
Gulzar was born in a Kalra Arora Sikh family, to Makhan Singh Kalra and Sujan Kaur, in Dina, Jhelum District, British India, in what is now Pakistan. On 18 August 1936 .Before becoming an established writer, Sampooran worked in Delhi as a car mechanic in a garage.His father rebuked him from becoming a writer saying “As a writer you will have to depend on your brothers”. He took the pen name Gulzar Deenvi after becoming an author.
Gulzar is best known in India as a lyricist for songs that form an integral part of Bollywood. He began his career under the directors Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. His book Ravi Paar has a narrative of Bimal Roy and the agony of creation.Gulzar started his career as a songwriter with the music director Sachin Dev Burman for the movie Bandini (1963). Shailendra who has penned rest of the songs of the movie urged Gulzar to write the song “Mora Gora Ang Layle”. This was picturised on Nutan. Gulzar’s most successful songs as a lyricist came out from his association with Sachin Dev Burman’s son Rahul Dev Burman, whom he described as the anchor in his life.
Gulzar has had award-winning associations with the music directors Salil Chowdhury (Anand, Mere Apne), Madan Mohan (Mausam) and more recently with Vishal Bhardwaj (Maachis, Omkara, Kaminey), A. R. Rahman (Dil Se.., Guru, Slumdog Millionaire, Raavan) and Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy (Bunty aur Babli).Gulzar was a song writer or dialogue writer for several Doordarshan programmes for kids such as Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Guchche and Potli Baba Ki with Vishal Bhardwaj. He has more recently written and narrated for the children’s audiobook series Karadi Tales.For the peace campaign (Aman ki Asha) jointly started by India’s and Pakistan’s leading media houses, he wrote the anthem “Nazar Main Rehte Ho”, which was recorded by Shankar Mahadevan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.After writing dialogues and screenplay for films like Aashirwad, Anand, Khamoshi and more, Gulzar directed his first film Mere Apne(1971). The film was a remake of Tapan Sinha’s Bengali film Apanjan(1969). Meena Kumari played the lead role of Anandi Devi, an old widow caught in between the local fights of unemployed & tormented youngsters. Anandi Devi’s death in one of the fights makes them realize the futility of violence. The film was rated “Above Average” at the Box Office. He then directed Parichay and Koshish. Parichay was based on a Bengali novel, Rangeen Uttarain by Raj Kumar Maitra and inspired from the Hollywood film The Sound of Music. Written by Gulzar, Koshish told a story full of struggle of a deaf-dumb couple. Sanjeev Kumar won National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in it. Year 1973 saw his another directorial venture named Achanak. Inspired by the real-life sensational 1958 murder case KM Nanavati v State of Maharashtra, the story writer K.A. Abbas earned a Filmfare nomination for Best Story.Gulzar’s Aandhi, based on the Hindi novel “Kaali Aandhi” by Kamleshwar, told a story of a couple separated against the backdrop of politics. Along with various wins and nominations, the film also won Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie. Although believed to be based on the life of Ex-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the film was based on life of Tarkeshwari Sinha. However in the 1975’s emergency, the film was banned from theatres. Inspired from Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Pandit Mashay was his next film Khushboo. Mausam that won National Award for 2nd Best Feature Film, Filmfare Best Movie and Filmfare Best Director awards, along with other six Filmfare nominations was loosely based on the story “Weather”, from the novel, The Judas Tree, by A.J. Cronin. Sharmila Tagore for her roles of Chanda and Kajli received The Silver Lotus Award at the 23rd National Film Festival. In his 1982’s film Angoor, Gulzar took the story of Shakespeare’s play The Comedy of Errors.
None of the Gulzar’s film were “Blockbuster Hits” on the Indian Box Office. His films told stories of human relationships entangled in social issues. Libaas was a story of extra-marital affair of an urban couple. Due to its objectionable subject the film never got released in India. Mausam pictured a story of a father who tries to improve the life of his prostitute-daughter. In Maachis, a young Punjabi boy pick up to terrorism to fight the situations only to realize its temporary nature. Hu Tu Tu dealt with corruption in India and how a man decides to fight it.Gulzar uses “flashback” in the narration of his stories very effectively (Aandhi, Mausam, Ijaazat, Machis, Hu Tu Tu). He also has mutual partnerships with various actors and other crew. The Gulzar – Sanjeev Kumar partnership resulted in few fine films (Koshish, Aandhi, Mausam, Angoor, Namkeen) which represent Sanjeev Kumar’s finest work as an actor. Actors like Jeetendra (Parichay, Khushboo, Kinara), Vinod Khanna (Achanak, Meera, Lekin) and Hema Malini (Khushboo, Kinara, Meera) worked with Gulzar to gain respectability as artists and delivered some of their best and most introspective work in films. With his situational lyrics and quality music composed by various famous Bollywood musicians in Gulzar’s films, his songs have always been the key point. R D Burman composed songs for almost all the movies directed by him in the 1970s and the 1980s (Parichay, Khushboo, Aandhi, Angoor, Ijaazat, Libaas). Many of their popular songs were sung by Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. These include “Musafir Hoon Yaron” (Parichay), “Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi” (Aandhi), “Mera Kuch Samaan” (Ijaazat), and “Tujhse Naaraz Nahi Zindagi” (Masoom). Gulzar says,”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.” Although an Urdu writer, Gulzar’s directorial venture shows inspiration from various Bengali writers. In 1988, he directed an eponymous television serial Mirza Ghalib starring Naseeruddin Shah, shown on Indian television channel Doordarshan. About the serial he says,”…My TV serial on poet `Ghalib’ was based on history, though the earlier movie version treated him as a myth.”
Gulzar is married to actress Raakhee. They have a daughter, Meghna Gulzar, who is a film director. Gulzar and Raakhee separated (but never divorced) when Meghna was one year old. Meghna penned a biography of Gulzar titled Because He Is….Gulzar holds the record of winning most number of Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist (10 in total) as well as Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue (4 in total).1972 National Film Awards Best Screenplay Won Screenplay writer Koshish
1972 Filmfare Awards Best Dialogue Won Dialogue writer Anand
1974 Filmfare Awards Best Dialogue Won Dialogue writer Namak Haraam
1974 Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated Director Koshish Won by Yash Chopra for Daag: A Poem of Love
1974 Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated Director Achanak Won by Yash Chopra for Daag: A Poem of Love
1974 Filmfare Awards Best Story Nominated Story writer Koshish Won by Salim-Javed for film Zanjeer
1975 National Film Awards Second Best Feature Film Won Director Mausam
1975 Filmfare Awards Critics Award for Best Movie Won Director Aandhi
1976 Filmfare Awards Best Director Won Director Mausam
1976 Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated Director Aandhi Won by Yash Chopra for Deewar
1976 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Tere Bina Zindagi Se” from film Aandhi Won by Indeevar for “Dil Aisa Kisi” from film Amanush
1977 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Dil Dhoondta Hai” from film Mausam Won by Sahir Ludhianvi for “Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein” from film Kabhi Kabhie
1978 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Do Deewaane Shehar Mein” from film Gharaonda
1978 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Naam Gum Jaayega” from film Kinara Won by himself for “Do Deewaane Sheher Mein” from film Gharaonda
1978 Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated Director Kinara Won by Basu Chatterjee for Swami
1980 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Aanewala Pal Jaane Wala Hain” from film Gol Maal
1981 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Hazaar Raahen Mud Ke Dekhi” from film Thodisi Bewafaii
1982 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Jahaan Pe Savera” from film Baseraa Won by Anand Bakshi for “Tere Mere Beech Mein” from film Ek Duuje Ke Liye
1984 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zindagi” from film Masoom
1988 National Film Awards Best Lyrics Won Lyricist “Mera Kuchh Saamaan” from film Ijaazat
1989 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Mera Kuchh Saamaan” from film Ijaazat
1990 Filmfare Awards Best Documentary Won Director Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
1991 National Film Awards Best Lyrics Won Lyricist “Yaara Silli Silli” from film Lekin…
1992 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Yaara Silli Silli” from film Lekin…
1994 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Dil Hum Hum” from film Rudaali Won by Sameer for “Ghungat Ke Aad Se” from Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke
1996 National Film Awards Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment Won Director Maachis
1996 Filmfare Awards Best Dialogue Won Dialogue writer Maachis
1996 Filmfare Awards Best Story Won Story writer Maachis
1997 Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated Director Maachis Won by Shekhar Kapoor for Bandit Queen
1997 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Chappa Chappa Charkha Chale” from film Maachis Won by Javed Akhtar for “Ghar Se Nikalte” from Papa Kehte Hai
1999 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Chaiyya Chaiyya” from film Dil Se..
1999 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Ae Ajnabi” from film Dil Se.. Won by himself for “Chaiyya Chaiyya” from film Dil Se..
2001 Indian Institute of Adv. Studies Lifetime Honorary Fellowship Won – —
2001 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Aaja Mahiya” from film Fiza Won by Javed Akhtar for “Panchchi Nadiyaan” from Refugee
2002 Sahitya Akademi Award Won Writer “Dhuan” (“Smoke”; short stories in Urdu]
2002 Filmfare Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Won – —
2002 Filmfare Awards Best Dialogue Won Dialogue writer Saathiya
2003 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Saathiya” from film Saathiya
2004 Padma Bhushan Won – — India’s third highest civilian award
2006 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Kajra Re” from film Bunty Aur Babli
2006 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Chup Chup Ke” from film Bunty Aur Babli Won by himself for “Kajra Re” from film Bunty Aur Babli
2006 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Dheere Jalna” from film Paheli Won by himself for “Kajra Re” from film Bunty Aur Babli
2007 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Beedi” from film Omkara Won by Prasoon Joshi for “Chand Sifarish” from Fanaa
2008 Academy Awards Best Original Song Won Lyricist “Jai Ho” from film Slumdog Millionaire Shared with Music Director A. R. Rahman
2008 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Tere Bina” from film Guru Won by Prasoon Joshi for “Maa” from Taare Zameen Par
2009 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Tu Meri Dost Hai” from film Yuvvraaj Won by Javed Akhtar for “Jashn-E-Bahara” from Jodhaa Akbar
2010 Grammy Awards Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media Won Lyricist “Jai Ho” from film Slumdog Millionaire Shared with Music Director A. R. Rahman and Playback Singer Tanvi Shah
2010 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Dhan Te Nan” from film Kaminey Won by Irshad Kamil for “Aaj Din Chadheya” from Love Aaj Kal
2010 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Nominated Lyricist “Kaminey” from film Kaminey Won by Irshad Kamil for “Aaj Din Chadheya” from Love Aaj Kal
2011 Filmfare Awards Best Lyricist Won Lyricist “Dil To Bachcha Hain Ji” from film Ishqiya