"The Rahman-Gulzar jodi can truly be captioned Jai ho", says an overjoyed Gulzar after the Slumdog Millionaire song won the coveted Oscar trophy at the 81st Academy Awards.
"With all the bouquets my home has literally become Gulzar (full of flowers). The Rahman-Gulzar jodi can truly be captioned Jai ho," Gulzar told IANS.
Speaking on A.R. Rahman's two Oscars, Gulzar said: "It's like the song I wrote for Guru for him - Ek lo ek muft. He got one Oscar and then the other one was a bonus. Happily I'm part of the second one."
Gulzar was not in Los Angeles when the double Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire including one for a song Jai ho written by the poet-extraordinaire was announced Sunday.
In fact, he wasn't even watching the Oscars when the Oscar for Jai ho was announced.
"Forget about me. I feel very proud of Rahman? always have, always will. I think Rahman brought a change to Indian film songs. He gave a new form to the film song. This recognition at the Oscars proves that he has made a world of difference to the Hindi film song. Otherwise classical Indian music was always known globally even before the film songs."
Gulzar reminisced on Rahman and said: "I started noticing his path-breaking tendency when he did his first score with me in Dil Se. But even before that he was doing pioneering work.
"When I heard the announcement for his first Oscar, I got a lump in my throat. It was enough for me. I got up and left the room. I didn't know my song Jai ho won the Oscar. My son-in-law Govind came and hugged me and said, 'It's won a double Oscar - one for your song.'"
Gulzar feels the double Oscar is a benchmark for our cinema.
"It makes Indian cinema a part of world cinema, just like there are Asian awards that make us part of Asian cinema. Oscars certainly put us under a global gaze. Since the Oscars are American, our Indian films never before went into mainstream categories. Slumdog Millionaire has opened up doors for our cinema."
Gulzar is also very proud of Resul Pookutty who won an Oscar for sound mixing in the Danny Boyle's rags-to-riches drama Slumdog Millionaire.
"Rahman's Oscar we all expected. I'm happy to be part of his second Oscar. But Resul's recognition is a breakthrough for all technicians in Indian cinema."
Gulzar would also like make mention of Sukhwinder singh who sang the Oscar-winning song Jai ho.
"No one else is mentioning him. He's an integral part of Jai ho. Of course Rahman is the most important part of the song. But after that Sukhwinder and I are also important components in the song," he said.
So why wasn't he at the Oscars ceremony?
"Because I didn't have a black coat and no lawyer was willing to lend me a size that fitted. I was too nervous to attend without a black coat."
Press him a little further he comes out with the truth. "My right shoulder got hurt while playing tennis. I pulled a muscle two weeks ago. I'm going through therapy. I've a tennis tournament on March 1. Hopefully my physiotherapist will allow me. I'll play even if I lose. But I didn't want us to lose at the Oscars."