VIDEO: Had Hindi Been An International Language, This Indian Lyricist Would Have Been Bob Dylan's Toughest Competition

No prizes for guessing

Gulzar, Bob Dylan, Nobel Prize, Nobel Literature Award, Aandhi

Bob Dylan was recently awarded the Nobel Literature Award for 'having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition'.

For the first time ever, the Nobel Committee went on to recognize this non-conventional form of poetry written for the ears. 

Had Hindi been an intenational language, Indian lyricist Gulzar would have been Bob Dylan's toughest competition for the Nobel Award. 

Winner of the Academy Award for best song, the Padma Bhushan- India 3rd highest award, Dadasaheb Phalke Award and numerous Filmfare Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award for his immense and unmatched contribution to Indian Cinema, Gulzar remains one of the most celebrated lyricists in India. 

His mainstream writing career began with 1963 film Bandini and his first ever album became a hit with Mora Goraa Ang Laiye. He made a successful debut and wrote popular songs for films like Aashirwad, Khamoshi, Anand, Guddi, Bawarchi and Chupke Chupke. His song from the 1971 film Anand brought two superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna together on the screen. When asked to write a song for the dying protagonist Rajesh Khanna, Gulzar penned the profound Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne chune.

However, what really took the Indian film industry by storm was his work in the 1975 film Aandhi. A simpleton and an influential politician's daughter fall in love, marry, face differences, separate. Years later, they meet again. He's still a simpleton. She, an established politician. Both are still in love but bound by her political image. They meet. They sing.

Tere bina zindagi se shikwa to nahi, shikwa nahi...
Tere bina zindagi bhi lekin zindagi to nahi...

The play of simple words woven around a deep sentiment tugged at the heartstrings of a billion Indians and the album became an instant hit. Other songs from the film like Tum Agaye ho noor agaya hai and Iss mod se jaate hai too became benchmarks for other lyricists. 

Within 2 years, Gulzar went on to produce another gem from his pen

Meri awaaz hi pehchaan hai...gar yaad rahe

Sung by the Legendary Lata Mangeshkar and filmed in the fort of Madhya Pradesh, the song remains one of the most iconic songs ever made. 

The 80s saw a fresh of new styles of storytelling. With the 1983 film Masoom, Gulzar immortalised the delicate relationship between a father and his illegitimate child with

Tujhse naraaz nahi zindagi hairaan hoon mai...

The 90s came and Indian cinema saw yet another trend of commercial films on social issues like Maachis in 1996. Narrating the nostalgia of youths away from home during the rise of the Sikh insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s, Gulzar wrote Chhod aaye hum wo galiyaan. He wrote the story, screenplay and also directed the film that traced the transformation of a youth from a boy next door to a dreaded terrorist bent on wreaking vengeance.

At the end of the 1900s came Dil Se that ushered in a new style of  parallel cinema tackling difficult subjects. Gulzar's work for Dil Se went on to be one of the most popular train songs ever. 

At 76, Gulzar wrote Dil to bachcha hai ji, a song that sent generations of grown ups in nostalgia. 

From 1963's Bandini to 2016's Mirzya, Gulzar's work has been surprising, delighting and enchanting generations old and new. It is his poetic genius that has added soul to Indian Cinema and Music.

We wish him a long, lyrical and healthy life!

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Sei Deshpande (WRITER)

Sei Deshpande writes for Reacho. If you wish to get in touch with them, drop in a mail at