Veteran poet, lyricist and filmmaker Gulzar was chosen on Saturday for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest official recognition for film personalities in India.
The 79-year-old Padma Bhushan awardee, best known for penning thousands of memorable hits like ‘Tujhse Naaraaz Nahi’ and ‘Tere Bina Zindagi Se’ and directing critically-acclaimed films like ‘Aandhi’ and ‘Maachis’, was happy the honour came his way on the birth-centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema.
“I feel honoured that I am getting this award on the birth centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke. Many people are asking me if I deserved it earlier, but I believe that this was the best time for me to get this honour... any other year wouldn’t have been as special, and also, I am still working so it’s good to be appreciated when you are still active,” says the 79-year-old multi-faceted Padma Bhushan awardee, who started his journey as a car mechanic in a garage in Mumbai, and went on to become one of the visionaries of the Indian film industry.7
Known for making films such as Koshish,Parichay, Aandhi, Ijaazat, Maachis, and penning the lyrics for thousands of evergreen numbers in films such as Gharaonda, Guddi, Bawarchi, Parichay, Chupke Chupke, Aandhi, Khubsoorat and Namkeen, Dil se, Omkara to name a few, awards aren’t new to Gulzar.
Right from popular film awards in the country to the National film awards across various categories of filmmaking to bagging the coveted Oscar and the Grammy Awards for the song Jai Ho in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, he holds the record for winning the most number of awards in the industry.
However, Gulzar himself considers the Dadasaheb Phalke as the most special. “All my earlier awards were for a particular film or a song. Even the Oscar or the Grammy was for a particular song, but Dadasaheb Phalke is for my entire work so it is the biggest honour for me... it’s the biggest National Award... the biggest recognition that one can think of,” says Gulzar, adding that legendary music composers like Salil Chowdhury and SD Burman were his inspirations, and a huge force behind what he is today.
“They were all my gurus, and I have learnt a lot from all of them. I feel lucky to have worked with them, and even after that the younger generation from the music world – RD Burman and then Vishal Bhardwaj held my hand. And ofcourse, I am grateful to AR Rahman, for the wonderful work we did together,” says Gulzar.