Gulzar was born in a Kalra Arora Sikh
family, to Makhan Singh Kalra and Sujan Kaur, in Dina, Jhelum
District, Pakistan. Before becoming an established writer, Sampooran
worked as a car mechanic in a garage. He took the pen name Gulzar
Deenvi after becoming an author.
Gulzar is best known in India as a lyricist for songs that form
an integral part of Indian cinema. He began his career under two
other artists - Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. His book Ravi
Paar has a narrative of Bimal Roy and the agony of creation. Gulzar
started his career as a songwriter with Sachin Dev Burman for
the movie "Bandini" (1963). The song was "Mora
gora ang layle", picturised on Nutan. His most famous songs
have been associated with Rahul Dev Burman in movies such as "Parichay"
("Musafir hoon yaron" sung by Kishore Kumar), "Aandhi"
("Tera bina zindagi se koi" sung by Lata Mangeshkar
and Kishore), "Kushboo" ("Ghar Jaayegi" sung
by Asha Bhosle) and "Ijaazat" ("Mera kuch saaman"
sung by Asha), "Masoom" ("Tujhse naraz nahi zindagi"
sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Anoop Ghosal) to name a few. However
he has had award-winning associations with Salil Chowdhury (for
the movie "Anand"), Madan Mohan ("Mausam"),
and more recently with Vishal Bhardwaj ("Maachis"),
A. R. Rahman ("Dil Se", "Guru") and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
("Bunty aur Babli").
Gulzar had leftist leanings (from an Indian
perspective) in his early days that can be seen from his early
movies (as director) like Mere Apne (translated as 'My dear ones').
His film Aandhi is an oblique criticism of Indian polity, and
was banned for a time because it was seen as a criticism of Indira
Gandhi for the imposition of the emergency. He also depicted a
flair for adapting stories/concepts from literature as well as
from other films. Angoor ("Grapes") is based on Shakespeare's
Comedy of Errors, and Mausam ("Season") is an adaptation
of A. J. Cronin's The Judas Tree. Gulzar also adapted the Hollywood
classic The Sound of Music into Parichay. He directed an eponymous
Television serial on Mirza Ghalib starring Naseeruddin Shah shown
on Indian Television Channel Doordarshan in 1988. Gulzar also
worked, as a song writer or dialogue writer for several Doordarshan
programs for kids such as Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Guchche
and Potli Baba Ki together with Vishal Bhardwaj. He has more recently
written and narrated for the children's audiobook series Karadi
Gulzar is known for making brilliantly
sensitive portrayal of subjects ranging from human relations,
biographical profiles and often controversial social issues. For
his contributions to Indian cinema, Gulzar was honored with Padma
Bhushan in 2004, the third highest civilian award in India. Also,
Gulzar and his movies have won numerous awards at the National
level including awards for best director and best lyrics. He also
won the 2002 Sahitya Akademi Award for 'Dhuan', a collection of
Urdu short stories.
Gulzar has developed a new style of writing
poems called Triveni which comprises stanzas comprising three
lines rhyming with each other. His private album "Koi Baat
Chale" with Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh has all the songs
written in Triveni.
Gulzar is married to actress Raakhee. They have a daughter, Meghna
Gulzar who is a film director. She has directed a sensitive film
on surrogate motherhood, Filhaal..., and a lighthearted take on
the marriage institution, Just Married (2007). Meghna Gulzar has
also penned a biography of Gulzar, titled Because he is. Gulzar
has given her nickname 'Boski', which is an eponym for their home,
'Boskiana'. Quite recently the Bajaj Allianz 'Jiyo Befikar' song
for which Gulzar has penned lyrics for the first time for a commercial
has been very appreciated.
Best Original Song - 'Jai
Ho' - Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Best Director - Mausam
1972: All songs - Anand
1973: All songs - Namak Haraam
1977: Do diwane shahar mein - Gharaonda
1979: Aanewala pal jaane wala hai- Gol Maal
1980: Hazar rahen mud ke dekhi- Thodisi Bewafaii
1983: Tujhse naraaz nahin zindagi - Masoom
1988: Mera kuchh saamaan - Ijaazat
1991: Yaara sili sili - Lekin...
1998: Chaiyya Chaiyya - Dil Se
2002: All songs - Saathiya
2005: Kajra Re - Bunty Aur Babli
1974: Namak Haraam
1996: Maachis (1996)
2002: Saathiya (2002)
1996: Best Story - Maachis
1975: Critics Award for Best Movie - Aandhi (1975)
2002: Lifetime Achievement Award
National Film Awards
Best Directing - Mausam
Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment - Maachis
1988: 'Mera kuch saaman' - Ijaazat
1991: 'Yaara sili sili' - Lekin...
Best Screenplay - Koshish (1972)
Best Song Written For Motion
Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media - 'Jai Ho' - Slumdog
Padma Bhushan (2004)
Sahitya Akademi Award - Dhuan ("smoke"; short stories
in Urdu) (2002)