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Gulzar at Tera Bayaan Ghalib.jpg
Gulzar at the launch of Jagjit singh's album Tera Bayaan Ghalib
Born Sampooran Singh Kalra
(1934-08-18) 18 August 1934 (age 82)
Dina, Punjab, India
(now in Pakistan)
Nationality Indian
Occupation Film director, lyricist, screenwriter, producer, poet, author
Years active

1971–99 (as director) (retired)

1956–present (as lyricist)
Spouse(s) Raakhee (m. 1973)
Children Meghna Gulzar
Parent(s) Makhan Singh Kalra and Sujan Kaur
Awards Padma Bhushan (2004)
Gulzar signature

Sampooran Singh Kalra (born 18 August 1934), known popularly by his pen name Gulzar, is an Indian poet, lyricist and film director.[1] Born in Jhelum District in British India, his family moved to India after partition. He started his career with music director S.D. Burman (lovingly known as Burman Dada) as a lyricist in the 1963 film Bandini and worked with many music directors including R. D. Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Vishal Bhardwaj and A. R. Rahman. He directed films such as Aandhi and Mausam during the 1970s and TV series Mirza Ghalib in the 1980s. He also directed Kirdaar in 1993.

Gulzar also wrote poetry, dialogues and scripts. He was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India,[2] the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award — the highest award in Indian cinema. He has won several Indian National Film Awards, 20 Filmfare Awards, one Academy Award and one Grammy Award.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Gulzar was born in a Kalra Sikh family, to Makhan Singh Kalra and Sujan Kaur, in Dina, Jhelum District, British India (now in Pakistan). Before becoming a writer, Sampooran took up lot of small jobs in Mumbai one of them was in a garage where he used to touch up accident cars by creating shades of paint, in his own words "I had a knack for colors". His father rebuked him for being writer initially. He took the pen name Gulzar Deenvi and later simply Gulzar.[5][1][6] [7]



Gulzar began his career under the film directors Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. His book Ravi Paar has a narrative of Bimal Roy and the agony of creation. He started his career as a songwriter with the music director Sachin Dev Burman for the movie Bandini (1963).[8] Shailendra who has penned rest of the songs of the movie requested Gulzar to write the song "Mora Gora Ang Layle", sung by Lata Mangeshkar.[3][4][9]

Directed and produced by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the 1968 film Aashirwad had dialogues and lyrics written by Gulzar. Song lyrics and poems written by Gulzar gave the poetic attribute and the "much-needed additional dimension"[10] to Ashok Kumar's role in the film. Ashok Kumar received the Best Actor at the Filmfare and at the National Film Awards for this role.[10] Gulzar's lyrics however did not gain much attention until the 1969's Khamoshi, where his song "Humne Dekhi Hai Un Aankhon Ki Mehekti Khushboo" (lit., "I have seen the fragrance of those eyes") became popular. Ganesh Anantharaman in his book Bollywood Melodies describes Gulzar's lyrics, with the purposeful mixing of the senses, to be "daringly defiant".[11][a] For the 1971 film Guddi, he penned two songs of which "Humko Man Ki Shakti Dena" was a prayer which is still sung in many schools in India.[13]

As a lyricist, Gulzar had close association with the music director Rahul Dev Burman. He has also worked with Sachin Dev Burman, Shankar Jaikishan, Hemant Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, Rajesh Roshan, and Anu Malik.[3][4][9][14] Gulzar worked with Salil Chowdhury (Anand (1971), Mere Apne (1971)), Madan Mohan (Mausam (1975)) and more recently with Vishal Bhardwaj (Maachis (1996), Omkara (2006), Kaminey (2009)), A. R. Rahman (Dil Se.. (1998), Guru (2007), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Raavan (2010)) and Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy (Bunty Aur Babli (2005)).[3][4][9] Gulzar took inspiration from Amir Khusrow's "Ay Sarbathe Aashiqui" to pen "Ay Hairathe Aashiqui" for Mani Ratnam's 2007 Hindi film Guru which had music composed by A. R. Rahman.[15] Another Ratnam-Rahman hit, "Chaiyya Chaiyya" from Dil Se.. also had lyrics written by Gulzar, based on the Sufi folk song "Thaiyya Thaiyya" with lyrics by poet Bulleh Shah.[16] For another collaboration with Rahman for Danny Boyle's 2007 Hollywood film Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman and Gulzar won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Jai Ho" at the 81st Academy Awards. The song received international acclaim and won him a Grammy Award (shared with Rahman) in the category of Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.[3][4][17][18] He also wrote the song of Pakistani Drama Shehryar Shehzadi and this song Teri Raza has been sung by Rekha Bhardwaj and composed by Vishal Bhardwaj.


After writing dialogues and screenplay for films like Aashirwad, Anand, Khamoshi, Gulzar directed his first film Mere Apne (1971). The film was a remake of Tapan Sinha's Bengali film Apanjan (1969).[9][19] He then directed Parichay and Koshish. Parichay was based on a Bengali novel, Rangeen Uttarain by Raj Kumar Maitra.[20] He wrote story of Koshish based on the struggle faced by deaf-dumb couple.[21] In 1973, he directed Achanak inspired by the 1958 murder case KM Nanavati v State of Maharashtra.[9][22] Later he directed Aandhi, based on the Hindi novel "Kaali Aandhi" by Kamleshwar.[9][20][23] His next film Khushboo was based on Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay's Pandit Mashay. His Mausam which won National Award for 2nd Best Feature Film,[24] Filmfare Best Movie and Filmfare Best Director awards, along with other six Filmfare nominations, was loosely based on the story "Weather", from the novel, The Judas Tree, by A.J. Cronin. His 1982's film Angoor was based on Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors.[4][9]

In 1988, Gulzar directed an eponymous television serial Mirza Ghalib starring Naseeruddin Shah and broadcast on Doordarshan. Later he also directed Tahreer Munshi Premchand Ki about the novels of Premchand.[4]

None of the Gulzar's film were very commercially successful. His films told stories of human relationships entangled in social issues. Libaas was a story of extra-marital affair of an urban couple. Due to its objectionable subject the film never got released in India.[25] Mausam pictured a story of a father who tries to improve the life of his prostitute-daughter. In Maachis, a young Punjabi boy engages in terrorism to fight a bad situation only to realise its temporary nature. Hu Tu Tu dealt with corruption in India and how a man decides to fight it.[4][9][26][27] Many of his popular songs were sung by Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. These include "Musafir Hoon Yaron" (Parichay), "Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi" (Aandhi), and "Mera Kuch Samaan" (Ijaazat).[27]


Gulzar primarily writes in Urdu and Punjabi; besides several dialects of Hindi such as Braj Bhasha, Khariboli, Haryanvi and Marwari. His poetry is in Triveni type of stanza.[4] His poems are published in three compilations: Chand Pukhraaj Ka, Raat Pashminey Ki and Pandrah Paanch Pachattar. His short stories are published in Raavi-paar (also known as Dustkhat in Pakistan) and Dhuan (smoke).[4]

For the peace campaign (Aman ki Asha) jointly started by India's and Pakistan's leading media houses, Gulzar wrote the anthem "Nazar Main Rehte Ho", which was recorded by Shankar Mahadevan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.[28] Gulzar has written ghazals for Ghazal Maestro Jagjit Singh's albums "Marasim"(1999) and "Koi Baat Chale"(2006).[29]

Other contributions[edit]

Gulzar has written lyrics and dialogues for several Doordarshan TV series including Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Hello Zindagi, Guchche and Potli Baba Ki with Vishal Bhardwaj. He has more recently written and narrated for the children's audiobook series Karadi Tales.[4][30] Gulzar is also associated with Aarushi, Eklavya foundation an NGO based in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh working in the field of education. He has written stories, poetry for the magazine Chakmak.


In April 2013, Gulzar was appointed as the Chancellor of the Assam University.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Gulzar is married to actress Raakhee. The couple have a daughter, Meghna Gulzar (Bosky).Meghna Gulzar grew up with her mother & father and, after completing her graduation in films from New York University, went on to become a director of films like Filhaal, Just Married and Dus Kahaniyaan,[32] and authored the biography of her father Gulzar, in 2004.[33]

Awards and nominations[edit]



  • Gulzar (1999). Raavi Paar. Rupa & Co. ISBN 8171673899. 
  • Gulzar (2001). Dhuan. Sahitya Akademi Publications. ISBN 8126019360. 
  • Gulzar (2002). Raat Pashmine Ki. Rupa & Co. ISBN 8129102242. 
  • Gulzar (2003). Kharashein. Radhakrishna Prakashan. ISBN 9788171198498. 
  • Gulzar (2004). Meera. Radhakrishna Prakashan. ISBN 8171198813. 
  • Gulzar (2005). Pukhraj. Rupa & Co. 
  • Gulzar (2005). Triveni. Rupa & Co. 
  • Gulzar (2006). Autumn Moon. Rupa & Co. ISBN 8129109778. 
  • Gulzar (2008). Kuchh Aur Nazmein. Radhakrishna Prakashan. ISBN 8171198929. 
  • Gulzar (2010). Magical Wishes: The Adventures Of Goopy & Bagha. Scholastic. ISBN 8184778449. 
  • Gulzar (2011). Mirza Ghalib A Biographical Scenario. Rupa & Co. ISBN 8129117177. 
  • Gulzar (2012). Selected Poems. Penguin. ISBN 0143418211. 
  • Gulzar (2013). My Favourite Stories : Boskys Panchatantra. Rupa & Co. ISBN 8129121182. 
  • Gulzar (2013). Half a Rupee Stories. Penguin. ISBN 9780143068792. [34]
  • Gulzar (2013). Meelo Se Din. Rupa & Co. ISBN 8129120011. 
  • Gulzar (2014). Green Poems. Penguin Books India. ISBN 0143422820. 



  • Kabir, Nasreen Munni (2012). In the Company of a Poet: Gulzar in Conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir. Rainlight Rupa. ISBN 978-81-291-2083-0. 
  • Chatterjee, Saibal (2007). Echoes and Eloquences: The Life and Cinema of Gulzar. Rupa & Co. ISBN 978-81-291-1235-4. 
  • Gulzar, Meghna (2004). Because He Is... Rupa & Co. ISBN 81-291-0364-8. 


  1. ^ Author Ganesh Anantharaman's book Bollywood Melodies won the Best Book on Cinema award at the 56th National Film Awards.[12]

'Jai HO' - Gulzar Sahab's selected Hindi lyrics in Kannada, translated by Lakshmikanth Itnal, published by Sahitya Prakashan, Karnataka, with foreword by popular lyricist and writer, poet Jayant Kaikini.

'Dastak'- Gulzar Sahab's selected Ghazals, Nazms, Poems in Kannada, translated by Lakshmikanth Itnal, published by Sahitya prakashana, Karnataka with foreword by popular lyricist and writer, poet Jayant Kaikini.


  1. ^ a b Amar Chandel (4 January 2004). "The poet as the father". The Tribune. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Gulzar to get Dadasaheb Phalke award". India Today Group. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Gulzar selected for Dadasaheb Phalke Award". The Indian Express. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Meghna Gulzar (2004). Because he is. Rupa & Co. 
  6. ^ "A life in music". The Tribune. 15 March 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Anupam Kher show". 9 August 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Gulzar: Man Of many seasons". The Times of India. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Ghosh, Avijit (12 April 2014). "Director-lyricist Gulzar to get Dadasaheb Phalke award". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Dinesh Raheja (January 2003). "Aashirwad tugs at the heartstrings". Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Anantharaman, Ganesh (2008). Bollywood Melodies: A History of the Hindi Film Song. Penguin Books India. p. 122. ISBN 0143063405. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "130 awardees receive the 56th national film awards from President". Press Information Bureau (PIB), India. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Gavankar, Nilu (2011). The Desai Trio and the Movie Industry of India. Author House. p. 76. ISBN 9781468599817. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Gulzar: Pancham was an anchor in my life". Screen/Indian Express. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Rahman on how the music of Guru was born". The Telegraph. 22 December 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Music, like religion, has a soul. If you get this right, you can have different arrangements". Indian Express. 7 September 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Awards & Honours". www 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Gulzar honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke Award". Deccan Chronicle. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "Box Office 1971". Box Office India. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  20. ^ a b Gulzar, Govind Nihalani, Saibal Chatterjee, eds. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema. Encyclopædia Britannica (India). Popular Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-7991-066-5. 
  21. ^ "20th National Awards for excellence in Motion Pictures Arts & Science (1972)" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. p. 41. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  22. ^ "Inspired by Nanavati". Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  23. ^ V. Gangadhar (20 July 2001). "Where is reality?". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "23rd National Film Festival" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. 
  25. ^ "'Rice Plate' brings together Naseer, Shabana". 12 May 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  26. ^ "The power game". 21 January 1999. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  27. ^ a b "Gulzar Profile: Upperstall". Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  28. ^ "Aman ki Asha". The Times of India. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  29. ^ "Brushes, bruises and splashes of life". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 3 November 2006. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  30. ^ "Behind the Scenes: Karadi Tales". Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  31. ^ "Lyricist-writer Gulzar appointed chancellor of Assam University". India Today. Mumbai. IAN. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  32. ^ "Women directors scale Bollywood". BBC News. 21 February 2002. 
  33. ^ "On the Shelf". The Indian Express. 11 January 2004. 
  34. ^ Shekhar, Sunjoy. "Half a Rupee Stories – Buy Half a Rupee Stories by Gulzar". 

External links[edit]