The legendary lyricist and film director Gulzar has been bestowed with the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration by Indian National Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Gulzar was applauded by Mrs Gandhi for the positive contributions which he has made towards Indian society and had this to say at a function which took place in New Delhi last week. “All of you are aware of his contribution as a poet, filmmaker and author. His has always been a progressive mind-set. His subjects and characters have always stood against communalism and in favour of national unity.”
If that was not enough, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also praised Gulzar about the fine example which he has set both for his country and for future generations. “Gulzar has always emphasised humanity and empathy in all his works. This is a great way of strengthening the unity and integrity of our country. I believe that if we are sensitive towards our compatriots, then no power can divide us on grounds of religion caste or region. Gulzar’s works teach us that we are Indians first and foremost.”
Expressing his thanks to the Indian government for being conferred with this prestigious award, Gulzar had the following to say: “I get nervous very easily when I see so many distinguished people. I have been awarded in the name of Indira Gandhiji, who was a very dynamic Prime Minister, and a symbol of courage and determination. Even men are told to look up to her as an example.”
Born in 1936, Gulzar got his big break as a lyricist for Bimal Roy’s classic film Bandini (1961). In addition to song writing, he took on filmmaking and directed critically acclaimed films such as Koshish (1972) and Mausam (1976). He also wrote the song ‘Jai Ho’ for the soundtrack to the super hit film Slumdog Millionaire (2008). This resulted in him winning an Oscar for Best Song, along with its music composer A.R. Rahman. Gulzar’s most recent work as a lyricist is for the soundtrack to the upcoming film Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), which is directed by the late Yash Chopra.
Congratulations to Gulzar ji!