When one observes the brilliance of poetry in films then one can be sure, behind that piece of celluloid there is more than just a director, there is “Gulzar”. Sampooran Singh Kalra popularly known by his pen name Gulzar has mesmerized us with his poems, lyrics and shayari over five decades during which he has become an integral part of Indian film industry as a lyricist. But the lyrical effect was added not only to the movies for which Gulzar wrote songs but also to movies which he directed and gave us some Sui generis cinema. He is one of those sensitive people whose work is laced with the lyrical and psychologically adept examination of human sensibilities. He is a keen observer of human relationships and it is reflected through his songs and films.
Our generation is fortunate enough to listen to songs written by Gulzar and at the same time I would say unfortunate that Gulzar has stopped directing films. He started his career as a director with the film Mere Apne in 1971. Then there were films like Parichay, Koshish, Aandhi, Khusboo, Angoor, Ijazat, Mausam, Hu tu tu, Maachis among others which were not “blockbuster hits” but told stories of human relationships entangled in social issues.
Parichay was the movie that caught everybody’s soul from children to adults. It was based on the Bengali novel Rangeen Uttarain by Rajkumar Maitra and inspired from the Hollywood movie The Sound of Music. Here as always we have a show of Gulzar’s brilliance of exploring the relationship between people. In the movie an unusual friendly relationship is developed between a tutor played by Jeetendra and students. Ravi (Jeetendra) with his own ways is able to develop a good chemistry between grandchildren and their enraging grandfatther Rai Sahab(Pran). At the end, Rai Sahab points out that it was Ravi who has in the real sense introduced (Parichay) his grandchildren to him.
It is not often that we see so beautiful take on the private side of a famous politician. Aandhi is supposed to be based on the life of ex Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But Aandhi is not a political film. It is just the profession of the leading lady in the film. It is a film about love, marriage, romance, human nature, pride, separation, ego, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Aandhi is the story of Aarti(Suchitra Sen) who has a very strong character and wishes to become a political leader like her father. But she falls in love with a hotel manager JK (Sanjeev Kumar) and decides to marry him. She is not able to strike a balance between her married life as a wife/mother and her professional career. Lots of arguments and fights lead them to part their ways. Many years later they meet again when Aarti is already a big political leader and a new relationship shapes up between them in remnant life of theirs.
One gets engaged with gulzar’s direction after watching the movie due to extra-ordinary storytelling and beautiful portrayal of human relationship. We see neither bitterness nor anger between Aarti and JK, but only a renewed and mature relationship based on understanding and fond memories. The film is extremely well-written, so are the characters. The story unfolds with flashbacks and strolls through past and the present. There is an impressive attention that director plays to the details and as always Gulzar has written beautiful lyrics and dialogues.
Ijazaat is one of the most sensitive films of Gulzar. Falling in the category of parallel cinema it is story of relationship between Mahendar(Nasserudding Shah), his wife Sudha (Rekha) and his ex lover Maya (Anuradha Pate). But it is quite different from the typical story of husband having an affair but a mature romance. It looks at an unusual male-female relationship, a subject less often broached in Hindi films.
Maya disappears somewhere and at the same time due to urge of his grandfather Mahendar has to marry Sudha. As of now they live a happy married life. But Maya returns and things begin to change. She tries to commit suicide and Mahendar starts staying at her place and Sudha unaware of the fact thinks her husband is unfaithful to her. So to make things clear Mahendar wants to bring Maya to talk with Sudha. But listening Sudha’s anger on the phone Maya leaves her house and then he finds that even Sudha has left him. Now unable to bear the shock of the Sudha’s departure Mahendar gets a heart attack and his looked after by Maya. With the passing time Maya finds her guilty of Sudha leaving Mahendar and sets of in the night riding bike and falls to an accident and dies. With this, in his world Mahedar remains alone at the end.
The style of storytelling is again so wonderful. Direction is such that movie is very close to reality and the sequences shape up in such a way that one gets attached to the story. It begins in a waiting room of a station where Mahendar meets his estranged wife Sudha after so many years. One striking feature of the film is that the chemistry remains same between Mahedar and Rekha when they meet after a long time. At the beginning they are hesitant but as the time passes they freshen up their memories and again kind of develop an attachment with each other. Asha Bhosale’s “Mera Kuch Samaan“ among other songs which have meaningful lyrics are perfect cast for emotionaly loaded performance of the actors.
<While making films Guzlar has not left a single color in the spectrum by making a comedy film which remains a cult even today. Angoor was based on Shakespeare’s ”Comedy of errors”. It is a story of two pairs identical twins separated in childhood. Humor begins to surface when the twins take each other’s place after they grow old. It is a story that takes place in one day and the series of mishaps that happen on that day.
When these kinds of movies are made there are places where film makers can really mess up with the things but this doesn’t happen in the movie. Nothing out of this world or extravagant happens but director is able to make people laugh on simple terms and in simple premises. Short tempered Sanjeev Kumar and and idiotic looking Deven Verma are perfect compliments for each other.
Some things are quite peculiar in the directorial ventures of Gulzar. He uses “flashbacks” effectively to tell stories. Dialogues and script create a soothing effect on viewers. Most of the films have beautiful songs which take movie further and provide meaning to the story. Gulzar has worked with some of the best actors of that time like Sanjeev Kumar, Naseruddin Shah, and Jaya Bachchan etc.
These are only the few of the masterpieces directed by Gulzar. There are many other movies which find place in one of the finest works ever produced in Hindi film industry. Lovers of Hindi cinema will always miss the works of Gulzar in this respect. Gulzar saab, we always hope you get behind the lens yet another time!
(From COEP Annual Magazine Abhiyanta 2012)