A book on Gulzar’s poetry was released in the presence of the famous poet and Hindi film lyricist himself at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi on October 24, 2013.
The book, I Swallowed The Moon: The Poetry of Gulzar (HarperCollins India), is written by Saba Mahmood Bashir, who teaches at Jamia Millia Islamia as a guest faculty.
The book was first launched at the Bangalore Literary Festival on September 28, 2013 by Gulzar and lyricist Prasoon Joshi. It was followed by a panel discussion on October 24 at Jamia Millia Islamia on the theme, ‘The Poetry of Gulzar’ where the panel consisted of Gulzar, Pavan K Varma, Sukrita Paul Kumar, Prof Asaduddin and Saba Bashir.
“This book is culled out of my PhD thesis from IIT, Delhi,” Saba told Kitaab. “The book focuses on the poetry of Gulzar, placing him as a Progressive Poet in Popular Culture.”
The book discusses the two-fold appeal of Gulzar’s poetry, that it is progressive as well as popular.
“The progressives had broken away from the style of the earlier writings, and Gulzar also brought about a revolution in poetry by crafting the same images and language differently,” she said. “If the progressives were writing for the freedom of the country, Gulzar voices ills like riots and killings, corruption, distrust of politicians and elections, poverty, rape and domestic violence.”
“With aspects of Gulzar’s poetry reaching out to the popular, it can be noted that he has been writing for decades he is still able to connect with the changing times and the tastes of the people,” she said. “Gulzar has achieved considerable success in bringing classical Urdu poetry, folk and other oral traditions into modern poetry largely with his unique use of language. The language may be of the present day but the thoughts and stories were of the earlier era. He has managed to open the gates to traditions and cultures of the bygone eras for the present generation.”
The book also includes an interview where Gulzar talks of his art and craft, his influences, his ‘copyright on the moon’, his experiments with various forms like the ghazal, the blank verse, the film song and the form that he has created – Triveni.
The book also provides a comprehensive list of his poems – film and non-film songs (around 500 songs and 700 poems).
Here are some pictures from the Bangalore and Delhi book launch: