As Gulzar Saab turns 79 on 18th August, I list down five of my favourite songs composed by him. The beauty of his writing is how evocatively he is able to present things across to us - be it love, separation, celebration or mourning. His astute observational skills and his command over Urdu have enabled him to pen down amazing masterpieces over the years.
Considering his body of work and the fact that he has been writing forever, it is a difficult task to select only five songs. Nonetheless, here goes:
1. Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zindagi from Masoom released in 1983. It portrays the angst between the relationship of a son and a father beautifully - the son cannot understand why his father won't take him home and the father cannot understand how to make his son understand. For a long time, I didn't know the real meaning of the first line of this song. Recently, I read a book titled In the Company of a Poet - Gulzar in conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir where the meaning was elucidated. It was a revelation to know what it actually meant. But that, I guess, is the case with most of Gulzar's songs. They need to be deeply and thoroughly understood to be better appreciated; it's not enough if one listens to them in the background. And, as they say, adversity tells you who your real friends are - "zindagi tere gam ne hame rishte naye samjhaye".
2. Mera Kuchh Samaan from Ijaazat released in 1987. This movie was directed by Gulzar. In addition, he was also its screenplay writer and dialogues writer besides being the lyricist. Talk about donning multiple hats. This song sounds almost like a conversation between two lovers where one is asking the other to return all her memories as the relationship has ended. My favourite line in the song - "Ek sau solah chaand ki raatein; ek tumhare kaandhe ka til". What a beautiful way to show their intimacy!
3. Kajra Re from Bunty Aur Babli released in 2005. It is the wonderful capacity of Gulzar to adjust to the changing times that he was able to come up with this beautiful and foot-stomping number. And the poetry and the romance is not amiss, especially the ode to Delhi towards the end of the song.
4. Tere Bina Zindagi from Aandhi released in 1975. This is another movie where Gulzar in addition to being the lyricist was also the director, co-producer and screenplay writer. This song particularly strikes a chord because it says, "I don't have any complaints against life without you; without you life itself will not be life for me."
5. Aanewala Pal from Golmaal released in 1975. I have already written in detail in my previous Kishore Kumar post about why I love this song so much. The song tells you to "carpe diem" - "seize the day" in a no-nonsense and almost romantic way. When I have had a tough day at work, I retire to my room at night and listen to this song - "thodasa hasake, thodasa rulaake, pal yeh bhi jaanewala hain"