Kolkata | Having written poetries and film songs for more than half a century, Gulzar is now trying to keep pace with the Gen-X but can’t change his old habit of writing on pen and paper. My thinking process starts with my pen. So without lagging behind others I use my own method of putting pen on paper, Gulzar said when asked about if he has switched to writing on computers and tablets.
Showing his hand-written poetries in a notebook during a visit to Kolkata, the 80-year-old legendary lyricist-poet says, I write in Urdu and everything is written by my hand. You people write on computers and I respect that. It was long ago in the sixties when Gulzar, born as Sampooran Singh Kalra, started his career as a songwriter with a Hindi film.
As decades passed his grip on the sensibilities of the new generation remained firm as he even switched on to writing Bollywood item numbers like ‘Kajrare’ and ‘Beedi jalai le’. I am walking along with this generation and I have a rapport with this generation. I don’t live in the past, says Gulzar whose ‘Jai Ho’ song in the Hollywood film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ had brought him and A R Rahman an Oscar and Grammy.
Although he has never tried expressing his creative best on digital devices but is far from being a technologically challenged old man. For example, I know the post office work you do on computer. I attend and reply my emails. I do whatever I can. There is no denial to the existence of computers, he says.
When it comes to reading also, Gulzar prefers the good old hard copy. I read books, physical books. I am comfortable with it, I can carry it. It is my habit. I am not expecting you to do it as well. I am not used to it (reading e-books) but it is probably much easier, the poet, who has also directed Hindi films like Aandhi, Khushboo, Mausam and Angoor, says.
A part of his process to stay contemporary with the changing times is to hold the hands of the younger generation and follow them. The younger generation is leading me. There was a time probably when I was holding their hands now they are holding my hands, Gulzar says explaining how he learnt using mobile phones from his grandson.
Born in 1934 in Jhelum, now in Pakistan, his family had shifted to India after partition. Partition happened in my life but do you think I should be living in partition? I have seen it but as India has moved further and as a generation has moved further I am also moving further.
There is no sense of me living in the past but there is no denial to the past, he says when asked whether nostalgia of the past dominates his thoughts. You carry your past with you because the present comes from the past but you can’t live with the past, Gulzar signs off.
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