Gulzar, best known for penning memorable hits like 'Tujhse Naaraaz Nahi' and 'Tere Bina Zindagi Se' besides directing critically acclaimed films like 'Aandhi' and 'Mausam', was on Saturday chosen for the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest official recognition for film personalities in India.
The 79-year-old veteran filmmaker, who has directed films like 'Mere Apne', 'Koshish', 'Khushboo', 'Angoor', 'Libaas' and 'Maachis' will be the 45th recipient of the award.
A seven member jury consisting of eminent artists, after due deliberations, unanimously recommended Gulzar for the prestigious award, a statement released by the Information and Broadcasting ministry said in New Delhi.
Born as Sampooran Singh Kalra in 1934 in Pakistan's Punjab in pre-independence India, Gulzar and his family were among the many victims of Partition. The family moved to Amritsar but Gulzar came to Bombay and began to work as a garage mechanic while writing poetry in his spare time.
Gulzar started his career in 1956 and as a lyricist got his first break in Bimal Roy's 'Bandini' and the song 'Mora Gora Ang Lai Le..' filmed on Nutan became an instant hit.
He worked with leading music directors like Sachin Dev Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Shankar Jaikishan, Hemant Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, Rajesh Roshan, Anu Malik, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
Gulzar also developed outstanding creative partnerships with Rahul Dev Burman, A R Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj. Along with lyrics, he has also contributed to several films as script, story and dialogue writer.
Gulzar is also widely known for his outstanding work on the small screen as well. He is credited with having created TV series like 'Mirza Ghalib' and 'Tahreer Munshi Premchand Ki'.
He wrote lyrics for several Doordarshan serials including 'Hello Zindagi', 'Potli Baba Ki' and 'Jungle Book' which too became very popular.
Gulzar was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2002, the Padma Bhushan in 2004. He has won a number of National Film Awards and 20 Filmfare Awards.
He won the Academy Award for best original song for 'Jai Ho' (shared with A R Rahman), for the film 'Slumdog Millionaire' in 2009.