Happy Birthday Gulzar: As the wordsmith turns 86, a look at how he remains relevant for fans of all ages

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Aug 18, 2020 08:09 AM IST

As Gulzar celebrates his 86th birthday on Tuesday, here is a look at 15 of his most popular songs that are relevant to all ages.

Born Sampoorna Singh Kalra, the multi-hyphenated artiste Gulzar has given an entire nation a new vocabulary to love and live with. The man who began his journey with Mera Gora Rang Lei Le (Bandini, 1963) continues to charm generation after generation with his brilliance almost six decades later.

Gulzar celebrates his 86th birthday on Tuesday.
Gulzar celebrates his 86th birthday on Tuesday.

Gulzar celebrates his 86th birthday on Tuesday. He is a Padma Bhushan awardee and has been honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the Sahitya Akademi Award. Apart from winning a Grammy as well as an Oscar for his song, Jai Ho for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Gulzar also has five National Film Awards and 21 Filmfare Awards to his credit.

Gulzar had once said that he stays relevant after decades of writing by “feeling the pulse of the gully-mohalla, the nation, the globe that I live in. Being master of Urdu doesn’t interest me, being part of the global society does, breathing hope into that society matters to me”.

In an old interview given to Rajya Sabha TV, Gulzar once revealed how his friendship with another celebrated lyricist Shailendra pushed him to go for writing songs and then directing films. Gulzar’s passion for literature was cut short after the India-Pakistan Partition. He came to his brother in Mumbai, but this arrangement didn’t quite work for long and Gulzar enrolled himself for formal education in Mumbai again. When Shailendra sent Gulzar to meet Bimal Roy, he also came in contact with artistes like Salil Chaudhary, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Bhattacharya. It gave Gulzar the foundation he always wanted. However, the poet said in his interview that he didn’t want to write for films for long at that point of time and had told Bimal who has asked him to stay in the game. Bimal also told Gulzar it was fine if he did not want to write for films, but the motor garage was not the place he should be focusing on. Gulzar said in the interview that the lines made him cry and that was probably the beginning of a master storyteller in Hindi films.

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After giving us gems like Ijaazat and Mausam, Gulzar stopped directing films with Hu Tu Tu (1999). He has, nonetheless, continued to pen some of best lines in songs, poems, dialogues in sync with the current generation. Here, we take a look at 15 of the most popular songs among all age groups:

Innocent imagination for kids:

Ek Dafa Ek Jungle Tha


Lakdi ki Kaathi Kathi pe Ghoda


Jungle Jungle Baat Chali Hai


Tap tap topi topi


Chipkali Ki Nana hai


Songs of romance

Satrangi Re


Naam Ada Likhna


Tere Bina Beswadi


Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji


Pehli Baar Mohabbat


Philosophical songs

Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa To Nahi


Sham Se Aankh Me


Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zarurat Hai


Tujhse Naaraz Nahi Zindagi


Naam Ghum Jayega


Gulzar’s daughter Meghna Gulzar is also a filmmaker and is known for her recent works: Raazi and Chhapaak.

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