HYDERABAD: Clad in his crisp kurta pyjama and grey shawl, as Gulzar approached the podium atop the stage of the DST auditorium at University of Hyderabad, the excitement and anticipation of the audience was palpable. Hundreds of students gathered to witness the felicitation with an honorary doctorate.
For weeks, students have waited to see the legendary poet, lyricist, director and scriptwriter better known for his movies like Mausam, Mere Apne, Maachis, Hu Tu Tu that won him National Awards. However, the poet says, “Ilm filmo se nahi kitabo se hasil hota hai.”
Born as Sampooran Singh Kalra, Gulzar said, he was honoured to have been bestowed with the honorary doctorate, and pointed out that his name, “Gulzar which has been put in brackets is my identity. There is nothing after or before it.” Later, in his trademark wit he said, “Navz nahi dekh sakuga par doctor zarur kehlagu. Haan par chand ki navz dekhi hai maine.” (Though I will not be able to check the pulse of people, I will be called a doctor. Yes, as an artist, I did get check the pulse of the moon.)
Gulzar added, “Awards give credibility to one’s work and identity and are like the lights of the runway without which he can not land.”
During his interaction with audience, he asked, students and youngsters to hold his hand as they move ahead in life as it is from them that new branches of life and hope will sprout.
Speaking about politics he said, it has changed and is bound to reform, as the change is essential for development.
Gulzar, however, regretted that youngsters were turning more towards films than books and said, “Adab ke raaste mein filme to sirf ek maikhana thi, par afsoos ke log sirf meri fimlo ka zikr karte hain, kitabo ka nahi.” (It is a sad state that people only know about my films, but not about my books.)He said he stopped making movies almost two decades ago only to focus on writing books, which he said forms an integral part of learning. The result is every year as many as 15-20 books are either written by him or on him. Highlighting how books have receded to the background Gulzar quoted, “Kitaabain jhankti hain band almari ke sheeshoon se badi hasrat se takti hain maheenon ab mulaqaatain nahi hoti jo sheamaaein un ki suhbaat main katta karti thi ab aksar guzar jati hain computer ke pardo par..” (Today, in this tech-savvy world, books are just showpieces.)
Gulzar rued that people can today reel-off the name of his movies but none can name his books. While admitting that films mirror the society, he said, unlike films violence in real life has no background music. He also added films are just a source of entertainment and offers limited knowledge. “Films are just a shortcut to gaining knowledge. You must read books to acquire indepth knowledge,” said the Oscar and Grammy winning lyricist .
Gulzar revealed, it was while writing books on different topics that he understood his social responsibility and that’s how he took to working with physically- challenged persons and on environmental issues. “Mujhe filmo ka aaraam nahi chaiye. Apni social responsibility puri karni hai,” he said and added writing gives him a wider spectrum to execute his social responsibility that limited budget of films curtailed. Gulzar known for his love for poetry did not disappoint the audience at the packed auditorium. Calling love innocent, he said, “Jisne imandari se mohabbat ki hai, who hi uski masumiyat samjhega.”
Gulzar, who writes only in Urdu said, the language and its usage in lyrics has changed with changing times. “Today people use English, Hindi and Urdu all in one sentence. English is slowly creeping into our daily usage, hence, lyrics have also undergone a metamorphosis,” he opined and added that it was this inspiration from the youngsters that has made him lend his voice to the songs in Shad Ali’s Kill Dil for which he penned the lyrics too.
Talking about his love for Hyderabad, Gulzar said, he had always been attracted to the city of Quli Qutb Shah. “Even as a child the Deccani Urdu and rich legacy of Quli Qutub Shah attracted me. And, I look forward to visiting the city,” he said.
Moulana Azad National Urdu University (MANU) on Friday launched its ‘tarana’ (anthem) written by Gulzar, composed by eminent filmmaker and musician Vishal Bhardwaj and sung by Sukhwinder Singh and Rekha Bhardwaj.
The anthem starts with the line “Urdu ki udey khusbhoo” (the fragrance of Urdu). “Yeh Jamia-e-zaban-e-Urdu, zaban-e-Urdu ka ashian hai” it goes on to describe the university as the abode of Urdu. Gulzar, an avowed lover of Urdu, described ‘tarana’ as a ‘flag of voice’ and an inspiration from his past.