Celebrating the writer for all seasons

Last Updated 26 March 2013, 16:21 IST

From writing the screenplay of Koshish to penning the lyrics for Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Gulzar reinvents himself effortlessly.

His fan club has grown into a cult with young enthusiasts thronging his book readings and poetry sessions. That our love for the legendary writer is only growing was evident when he visited Delhi be a part of ‘Spring Fever’. Listening to him read short stories from his new collection, Half a Rupee, it wasn’t surprising that a hush descended over the packed amphitheatre till the time he closed the book shut.

Describing the book to Metrolife, he said: “Written at different stages of my life, each of the 25 stories in this book is special. Sadly, my work need translation as I write in Urdu. Since it is difficult to find people who read Urdu, the need for translation arises. But in the absence of translation, only maulvis would have been able to read my stories!”

 Names of well-known people like Javed Akhtar and Kuldeep Nayyar feature in the first three stories of the book. “In the west, there is a tradition of writing biographical novels.

So I thought why not write biographical short stories. A story doesn’t happen in (the) imagination; a story happens in life and these people are the witnesses. The only difference is that everybody doesn’t put it down on paper,” says the man who describes everyday life as his muse.

“A story becomes one only when there is something to share with readers; else it remains the poet’s personal note,” he adds.

Defining the challenges of writing, Gulzar says, “A short story is difficult than writing a script. You must grind together all the elements of the tale whereas while writing a script, you have a lot of liquid which can be easily filled in a bottle.”

 Warming to the analogy, he continues, “When you are writing a script, it’s not just the story in your mind. You know you are writing for a medium which is much more vast but while writing a short story, I have to describe the sea or the sunset by the sea in two sentences and move on.

For a script, I not only see the sunset but also the beach and my character’s behaviour on the beach. The canvas is much more expansive. A crisp short story has to be crisper than a script.”

(Published 26 March 2013, 16:21 IST)

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