When you think Gulzar, you think of a lyricist who can write any kind of song. That’s hardly true of any other lyricist in Bollywood’s history. Somebody like Sahir Ludhianvi, for example, would not have been asked to write a foot-tapping number. Instead, he’d write something meaningful, and not anything that would be equally popular with the younger generation as with the old. With Sampooran Singh Kalra, or as we know him, Gulzar, though, one can expect anything.
As the legend turns 83 today, here is a list of five such songs that you probably did not know were written by him. Looking at them, the line of your thoughts would go something like, “the one who wrote “this” also wrote “this?”
Chaiyya Chaiyya – Dil Se
It was a late 1990s song but the popularity of “Chaiyya Chaiyya” spilled well over the 2000s and deservedly so. The song was instantly addictive with its visuals (it was shot on the top of a movie train), Sukhwinder Singh’s voice and, of course, Gulzar’s lyrics.
Ibn-E-Batuta – Ishqiya
Named after the Moroccan scholar and traveller who was active in the 14th century, you would expect the song is about him. But no, the long-dead globetrotter’s name seems to be used as the title of the song only because it rhymes with the word “joota”! The song is catchy, but we find it hard to admit it publicly. Easily one of the wackiest song Gulzar has written, and that is saying something.
Tujhse Naraz Nahin Zindagi – Masoom
This is trademark Gulzar – using easily understandable words to express a much more deeper message. What could be more profound than a mother’s most private thoughts regarding her child?
Beedi – Omkara
You didn’t see that coming, did you? Is this song your guilty pleasure. Well, no more. For it was written by one of the most widely-regarded lyricist and poets of Bollywood!
Aanewala Pal Jane Wala Hai – Golmaal
It is said that you don’t have to know the lyrics or even the language to enjoy a song, but boy, they sure help. Music may not have a language but sometimes words make you better understand what the lyricist wanted to say. And when it comes to Gulzar, this is his definitive song. And it is fitting that it was in a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film and shot on Amor Palekar. I can’t probably think of a better trio in Bollywood playback singing.