Sometimes I too face a writer's block: Gulzar

By Ruchika Kher

Mumbai, Feb 11 (IANS) Clad in a crisp white kurta-pyjama, Gulzar, with over five decades of work and songs as diverse as "Mora gora rang layle" and "Kajra re", might give the impression that he can write anything instantly. But the 74-year-old lyricist says he too sometimes faces a writer's block.

"Writer's block happens; it happens to everyone. You get stuck somewhere...you don't get the right words. What you want is not coming out. That's a part of every profession and even though I've been writing for so many decades, I still face that sometimes," Gulzar told IANS in an exclusive interview.

Born Sampooran Singh Kalra, he prefers to write on paper even in this hi-tech age.

If the man has written beautiful, thought-provoking and prodigious lyrics for songs like "Raah pe rehte hain", "Do deewaane shehar mein", "Hazaar raahen mud ke dekhi", "Tujhse naraaz nahin zindagi" and "Mera kuchh saamaan", he also showed his magic in neo-age compositions like "Kajra re", "Beedi jalaile" and the recently released chartbuster "Darling" from the thriller "7 Khoon Maaf".

Asked how he manages to reinvent himself according to the need of the hour and still retain his signature style, the Padma Bhushan awardee said: "It's about knowing your profession.

"It's like a potter, who can make a pot and can also make a cup, a plate and a bowl. Similarly if you know your job, you can write anything. The question of genre doesn't arise. If you are a poet, you should be able to write on anything, whether it's a thriller or a love story."

"I've been writing for over 50 years now. So I think I should have learnt in all these years to change with time and situation. That was important," he added.

He started his career as a songwriter with the legendary Sachin Deb Burman for "Bandini" (1963) and he wrote the melodious romantic number "Mora gora ang layle". During his long journey he worked with the other leading composers of their times, including Salil Chowdhury, Hemant Kumar and Madan Mohan.

He jammed with Anu Malik, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, but Gulzar's best work has been with Rahul Dev Burman and in recent times with A.R. Rahman and Vishal Bharadwaj.

His association with Bharadwaj is almost 20 years old now and he cherishes this relationship to the hilt.

"We have just stuck together. Neither he can leave me nor am I going to leave him. We started collaborating from 'Maachis'. Then many others followed like 'Maqbool' and 'Omkara'. All films were different from one another. A man who can make films on so many different genres with passion and quality ... it's great to work with him. If he changes his genre, I also change my poetry and my lyrics according to his films," he said.

In "7 Khoon Maaf", Gulzar has written lyrics for rock tracks to Urdu nazms. But the one that is grabbing the maximum attention is "Darling".

"There is a Russian husband in the film and the song is picturised on him; so Vishal used a Russian folk tune for that song. Russians put a lot of stress on the letter R while talking. So I tried to use more of the letter R in the words used in the song, so that that aspect comes out in entirety.

"Apart from that, we have used names like Pushkin - Russia's well-known poet, Moscow, Khyber...all this revolves around the area of Russia. That's why this song stands out," he added.

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