Meghna Gulzar: I learned dignity from my mother & simplicity from my father

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Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar feels proud to be born to her parents — actor Rakhee and poet-lyricist Gulzar, who gave her the freedom to follow her dreams. The Raazi director shares that the tenets of life she learned from them, have helped her in her personal and professional life.

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“My mother has lived her professional and personal life with tremendous dignity and grace. I try to do that every day of my life. Maine kabhi apne family members ko aisa mauka nahin diya ki unhein mujh par sharam aaye,” says Meghna.

“My father, in his films and writing, and in life, is a very simple and subtle person. There is a dialogue from Ijaazat (1987; directed by Gulzar) that says something like ‘jo sach hai aur sahi hai, wahi karo’,” adds Meghna, who has directed films such as Dus Kahaaniyaan (2007), and Talvar (2015).

Meghna was born to, and brought up by parents of differing cultures — Rakhee is a Bengali and Gulzar, a Punjabi (his real name being Sampooran Singh Kalra) whose love for Bengal and its people, especially Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, is not unknown. How much of a Bengali or a Punjabi is she? 

“My sasural (she is married to businessman Govind Sandhu) is also in Punjab, so, ironically, it has renewed my Punjabi links from there. Now, the Bengali influence for the larger part of my life has been stronger, because my mother lived in a joint family,” she says.

“My grandparents did not know Hindi and English, and I had to speak to them in Bengali. So, I had to learn Bengali to communicate with them, and I am also aware of the culture and practices. I have grown up in a Bengali household but I love Punjabi food, and I don’t eat fish.”