Gulzar is the pen name of the author, poet and popular lyricist Sampooran Singh Karla. He was born on the 18th of August in 1934 in Dina, Jhelum district of British India to parents Makhan Singh Karla and Sujan Kaur. His career kicked off under the directors
Bimal Roy and
Hrishikesh Mukherjee. His songwriting career began with the movie Bandini, released 1963, for the tunes composed by music director Sachin Dev Burman. From then on, he went on to write the lyrics for many memorable songs of the Bollywood industry. He worked with magnanimous music directors like R. D. Burman, S. D. Burman, A. R. Rahman, Lakshmikant-Pyarelal,
Rajesh Roshan and
Anu Malik to name a few. The work of the trio Maniratnam, A. R .Rahman and Gulzar is much remembered in the industry. He has also given dialogues and screenplay for movies like
Anand, Khamoshi, Saathiya, etc., He even tried his hand as a director through the years 1971 to 1999 during which he directed more than 20 films.
The first movie which kick-started his directing career was the popular movie
Mere Apne released in the year 1971. He also directed other popular movies like Parichay, Achanak, and his film Mausam won much critical acclaim and also fetched him a Filmfare for Best Direction. He also directed the Television series
Mirza Ghalib, starring the popular theater and film actor
Naseeruddin Shah, and also the show Tahreer Munshi Premchand Ki based on the novels of Hindi author Premchand. He is also a much-acclaimed poet in the languages of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi apart from Braj Bhasha, Khariboli, Haryanvi, and Marwari. His poems have been compiled and published in three volumes: Chand Pukhraaj Ka, Raat Pashminey Ki- his collection of poems with vivid and unusual imagery- and Pandrah Paanch Patthar. His other literary works include the collections of short stories Raavi-Paar and Dhuan. Gulzar’s name has been crowned with many awards and titles. He was awarded one of the Nation’s most prestigious titles – The Padma Bhushan. He was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award and The Dadsaheb Phalke Award, which is considered as the highest award in the Indian Film Industry.
He added feathers to his cap through several National Awards and about 20 Filmfares. He also won the Academy Award for the Best Original Song at the 81st OSCARs and a Grammy Award for his song “
Jai Ho” in collaboration with A. R. Rahman. Gulzar married the actress Rakhee in the year 1973. They have a daughter,
Meghna Gulzar. The couple separated a year after their daughter was born but they were never divorced. She grew up with her father and then went on to become a director in the Film Industry. Whether it be the beautiful lyrics of songs like “Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi” or the heart touching dialogues of the movie “Anand”, Gulzar has a way of tapping our heart strings. Many authors have paid their respects to this 81 year old amazing author and lyricist and honoured him with biographies like “Company of a Poet: Gulzar in conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir” written by journalist Nasreen Munni Kabir , “ Echoes and Eloquences: The Life and Cinema of Gulzar” authored by Saibal Chatterjee and “Because He Is..” , which was authored by his own daughter.