Over the years, the legendary wordsmith has engaged us with his intricate wordplay and vibrant storytelling. But even the legend has been underrated at times.
When 7 Khoon Maaf released in 2011, the title track of the movie – Darling received plaudits and multiple awards and rightly so. The hook of the song was pleasantly hummable and it served as an interesting backdrop for a dark comedy film.
However, within the hoopla, an underrated track slipped under our fingers. On song number 8 in the soundtrack – “Doosri Darling”, Gulzar flexes his muscles and gifts us a verbal waterfall. He makes references to important people and places. Using Alexander Pushkin, a Russian poet, from the 18th century Romantic era as a metaphor, Gulzar paints a vivid picture about the relationship that the two protagonists share.
Listen to Doosri Darling
Badi Dheere Jali
Another successful partnership between Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar resulted in an extremely well received music album. Dil To Baccha Hai Ji, sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ibn-E-Batuta by Sukhwinder Singh, Mika Singh were the most popular songs from Ishqiya.
But “Badi Dheere Jali” is as pure hearted as it can get. Rekha Bhardwaj lent her voice to this wistful melody and does wonders with Gulzar’s words. A melancholic song about longing and the pain that comes with it, Gulzar sets the song against the backdrop of a dark night, with the early morning about to arrive.
Listen to Badi Dheere Jali
Ru Ba Ru
2003 seems like a long time ago but this song from Maqbool encapsulates Gulzar’s ability to weave lyrics based on the situation. With spirituality as the backdrop, on Ru Ba Ru, Gulzar describes the complex relationship between the two lovers.
Incorporating multiple emotions on a love song can get tricky but Gulzar manages to wonderfully paint a dark and haunting picture with his intricate Urdu words.
Guilt, passion and love – he uses these three emotions as tools to build the narrative of the track. Daler Mehndi, Rakesh Pandit, Sabir Khan, Dominique are admirable as singers on Ru Ba Ru.
Listen to Ru Ba Ru
Yeh Ishq Hain
It wasn’t a chartbuster neither did it receive considerable air play on the radio but “Yeh Ishq Hai” from Rangoon is one of the deepest and heartfelt tracks of 2017. Sung by Airjit Singh, Gulzar challenges the singer like never before with verse that will be remembered for years.
On the track, Gulzar explores the emotion of love in its truest form. He captures the essence of the emotion by comparing a Sufi and his love for tobacco.
Something that was looked down upon by society in the past. He writes about a relationship that’s hard to accept for the outsiders and even harder for the protagonists to embrace.
Listen to Yeh Ishq Hain
“Behne De” from the 2010 Hindi movie, Raavan is a six minute masterpiece on which A.R.Rahman and Gulzar complement each other wonderfully. The track serves as a playground for Gulzar which he uses to have fun with his vocabulary.
Behne De highlights the urge to break free and flow like a river. It speaks about a woman’s desire to experience freedom. At the same time, it also delves into the psyche of Raavan, for whom love has a completely different meaning. Shot at the Athirappilly Falls in Kerala, the lyrics of Behene De flow just like it.
Listen to Behne De