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Gulzar pays a tribute to Amrita Pritam by reciting her poems in a private album
Saturday, May 05, 2007
It's a lesser-known fact that a young Gulzar had fed on renowned poetess Amrita Pritam's Punjabi poetry and literature. He would religiously attend literary functions and conferences in the capital, just to hear her works. Later, he went to become good friends with the poetess and her husband Imroz, and now he has recited a collection of her poems, which will be shortly released on Times Music to celebrate 10 successful years of the label. Talking about his early association with Pritam, he says, "I remember almost crashing into her and our governor then C Rajagopalachari at Asian Writer's Conference in Delhi. I ran to get into the elevator and she was there too." He further adds, "Later, when we became friends I had started writing scripts. Whenever I was in Delhi, I would pay a visit to her house."
Gulzar says that he has not chosen her popular verses consciously. The purpose of the entire exercise is to make the viewers aware about her wide repertoire. "We grew up reading her work. My mother tongue is Punjabi and I could easily relate to her message as the rest of the country. I really admire her not-so-traditional imagery. Her imagery had been unique and so different from the usual used by the poets of those days. Her poems are a few of my favourite things," he says.
The lyricist and filmmaker re-lived the days spent with Pritam while recording for the album at Empire Studio. He believes that it's his way of paying a tribute to the deceased poetess. He also penned the lyrics for Pinjar, a film inspired by Pritam's novel (by the same name) on the poetess' insistence. "Initially, she was supposed to direct the film. Later on Basu da (Basu Bhattacharya) was roped in. Finally, Chandra Prakash Dwivedi made the film. She was completely bed-ridden when the film was being shot. So she couldn't visit the sets," he says.
ABOUT AMRITA PRITAM :
Born and raised in Gujranwala, Punjab, which is now in Pakistan, Amrita Pritam went to become the most prominent woman Punjabi poet and fiction writer. She has penned numerous poems, 24 novels, 15 collections of short stories and 23 volumes of prose. Two of her novels have been made into films. Her works have been translated in many languages including French, Japanese and Danish. She was the first woman recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the first Punjabi woman to receive the Padma Shree from the President of India in 1969. She got Jnanpith award in 1982 for her lifetime contribution to Punjabi literature.
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