By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, Aug 5 (IANS) Poet-lyricist Gulzar, who returns to scriptwriting after four years with Shoojit Sircar's new film, refuses to "fulfil expectations in expected ways".
"I know people expect another 'Kajrare' from me. Didn't people expect 'Chal chaiyyan chaiyyan' from me again after "Dil Se" and 'Chappa chappa' after "Maachis"? Everyone goes through that.
"After 'Hum Aapke Hain Kaun', everyone expected Sooraj Barjatya to keep making that film. There's no logic behind demands like 'just give one hit song'. I've been hearing it for 60 years," he said.
"Just like all eyes were on Vishal Bharadwaj. They expected 'Omkara' to be another 'Maqbool'. But we won't fulfil those expectations in expected ways," Gulzar told IANS.
He attributes the success of 'Kajrare' to Aishwarya Rai.
"A lot of songs become a success, but only a few become a rage. I know so many people who keep going back to 'Kajrare' because of Aishwarya's dance. Objectively speaking, the song was a success more because of Aishwarya's dance than my words.
"I'm doing an unusual love story with Shoojit. He makes visually interesting films. It started as help, now I am writing it completely. Let's see how far Shoojit and I walk together," he said.
Gulzar, who wrote the dialogues for Shaad Ali's "Saathiya", returns to screenwriting at a time when another renowned lyricist Javed Akhtar is doing the same.
Apart from Sircar's film, he is also penning a short film for Sanjay Gupta.
"Sanjay met me. We discussed a story idea. But we are yet to meet again. What I am happy about is that he has offered to produce a short story for Bosky (his daughter Meghna)," said Gulzar, who has just returned from a trip to the US.
"There was a Jagjit Singh concert (in the US) where I had to introduce him, not that he needed an introduction. I just went along as assistant chief guest," he quipped.
"The Bharat Vidya Bhavan had completed 25 years. And I was honoured to go for the celebration. I also took part in a mushaira (poetry session) where there were two Hindi and two Urdu poets.
"As usual I was stuck between the two languages. I love that kind of ambience, which is more creative than commercial. (India's Planning Commission Deputy Chairman) Montek Singh Ahluwalia was also there. Since Punjabi sardars (Sikhs) often know Urdu, they've a penchant for poetry. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh likes to recite shaayari (verse)," he added.
Gulzar is recording his first song for "Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom" with composer trio Shankar-Ehsan-Loy.
"It's the title song. Though I have used the phrase 'Jhoom baraabar jhoom' from Jaani Babu Qawwal's famous qawwali, our song isn't a qawwali. Ours is a melody. Shankar, Ehsan and Loy are very melodious. Like 'Bunty Aur Babli', the music will again be the highlight of 'Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom'," he said.
Currently, Gulzar is flooded with work.
"There's Meghna's film 'Honeymoon'. It's again a lively film. 'Kaise kaise ram milaye jodi' is the theme song. Then 'Sannate (silences) bhi dete hain kharrate (snores) bhi'. Those two words sannate and kharrate, I borrowed from Meghna's script," he said.
According to Gulzar, even the songs that he wrote for "Omkara" aren't serious.
"Let me tell you one thing - there is a complete change of scenario. The era of melody is gone. We're going through a new phase in film music. After action films, it's back to musicals.
"Ganon par ganen (songs after songs). Films have seven to eight songs. Films stretching up to three to four hours are chockful of music that they enjoy here and overseas. For me this is a phase where I'm learning a new style of expression. I'm going with the flow, but making sure that my aesthetics are in place," he said.
"I'm waiting to see if a new style emerges. I can't write lyrics like 'Roz akeli aaye' and 'Tum aa gaye ho noor aa gaya hai' any longer. That kind of romance is not happening in films any more. It's very difficult to hold on to my aesthetics. Not that it was ever easy. I had to struggle all along.
"Each time an artiste speaks a new language, he's shunned. But in the earlier generations there were filmmakers like Bimal Roy, Basu Bhattacharya and Hrishikesh Mukherjee who were likeminded. The last time I wrote some old-fashioned poetry, it was in Shaad's 'Saathiya'," Gulzar said.
"You could see the change in Shaad's 'Bunty Aur Babli'. And now you'll see more change in Shaad's 'Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom'. I'm glad I still have a rapport with today's generation of filmmakers whether it's my daughter Meghna, Vishal, Shaad or Shirish Kunder for whom I've written lyrics in 'Jaan-E-Man'.
"I'm grateful I can still walk and talk with these youngsters without a walking stick. Change is inevitable. One should keep smiling about it. For me every lyric is a new experience. I feel just as nervous writing for Shaad's 'Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom' and his mentor Mani Rathnam's 'Guru' as I did for my first film as lyricist - 'Bandini'," Gulzar added.