January 11, 2004
HE is romance personified. Romance of life, of poetry, of friendship and of romance itself. And for this very reason, one hangs on to every word of prose that could possibly describe this master weaver. Meghna Gulzar’s book on her father, Because He is…, is one such documentation.
Though this biography may not be hailed for its craft, it will remain a collector’s item because of the very subject she has chosen. Meghna’s attempt in this book, at stringing the many moons of Gulzar’s life — moon being his favourite muse — perhaps would be the best possible peep into this enigmatic poet-filmmaker’s life.
The book begins with Gulzar’s childhood, notes on his family and father, college life, early days in Delhi first and then the struggle in Mumbai, the beginning of Gulzar’s film career and his travels through his life. What Meghna, however, chooses to leave out as she narrates the events in her father’s life is the break-up of the Gulzar-Rakhee marriage. It is almost as if Meghna has blocked it out of her canvas completely, preferring to only mention it in the passing. This biography in that sense remains a little incomplete. Biographies are best when they are brazenly honest. One would have certainly expected the same from Meghna about her father.
What she does manage to provide, however, are exclusive unpublished pictures of the poet and many unpublished poems. For those who have followed Gulzar’s writing over the years, the book is worth a slow read.
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As he puts it so poetically: “Do not erase these lines,/ let them be./ My child/ has drawn them,/ with her little pink hands./ Curved and curly./ What if the lines/ do not make a form?/ In these lines,/ I see my child’s hands./ In these lines,/ I see myself.” Therefore, for a truly critical appraisal of Gulzar, we await another volume.
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