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Gulzar Receives 58th Jnanpith Award; Did You Know The Celebrated Lyricist-Poet Once Worked As A "Touch-Up Guy" For Cars?

The 58th Jnanpith Award for the year 2023 has been given to Gulzar (for Urdu) and Swami Rambhadracharya (for Sanskrit).

"Along with his long film journey, Gulzar has been setting new milestones in the field of literature," said the official selection committee for the Jnanpith Awards.

Gulzar! Where our words fall short and fail to capture the shades of human existence, Gulzar begins. The Man, the Myth, the Legend.

Gulzar is a renowned lyricist and poet (and also a filmmaker) who has touched the souls of countless individuals with his words. In a career spanning decades, he has penned some of Hindi cinema's most soul-stirring songs that explore life, death, and everything in between. Now, in recognition of Gulzar's unparalleled contributions to literature, he has been named one of the recipients of the prestigious 58th Jnanpith Award.

The official statement from the Jnanpith selection committee read, “It has been decided to give the award (for 2023) to eminent writers from two languages: Sanskrit litterateur Jagadguru Rambhadracharya and well-known Urdu litterateur Shri Gulzar.”

"Warmest congratulations to Gulzar Sahib on winning India's highest literary award for lifetime achievement, the Jnanpith Award, for his extraordinary services to Urdu poetry. Richly deserved! One of those rare accolades applauded both by the general public & the cognoscenti," wrote Shashi Tharoor on social media.

Well, we congratulate the legend for his remarkable achievement... but obviously, in our own style. In this article, we share an interesting fact about him that you didn't know.

Gulzar Once Worked As A "Touch-Up Guy" For Cars

Yes, you read it right! Before making it big, Gulzar (born Sampooran Singh Kalra) did several odd jobs to earn a living.

For quite some time, he worked at a garage at Vichare Motors on Mumbai's Bellasis road. There, he used to touch up accident-damaged cars by mixing shades of paint.

Well, destiny had some better plans for him!

However, it's worth noting that Gulzar enjoyed his work as a "touch-up guy" as he "had a knack for colors" and it also allowed him to "simultaneously read, write, attend college, and be involved with the PWA (Progressive Writers Association)".

Gulzar - Lines That Touch The Souls

"When you face your fear, you become familiar with it and familiarity makes it lose its meaning, loosen its grip—fear ceases to be fear."

"Dreams heed no borders, the eyes need no visas with eyes shut I walk across the line in time All the time."

"Hazaron khwahishen aesi, ke har khwahish pe dam nikle Bahut nikle mere arman, lekin phir bhi kam nikle."

"The wounds will take decades to heal, centuries to overcome the trauma."

"That which passes isn't time. You and I are transitory, time is eternal. Or rather, it passes and is yet eternal."

"Death you are a poem, and I've been promised by a poem, that it shall meet me"

Gulzar - Some Other Interesting Facts

His father never approved of his writing. This is why he started writing under the pen name, Gulzar Deenvi, which he later shortened to Gulzar.

He once worked as an assistant to filmmaker Bimal Roy.

As a lyricist, he began his career with S. D. Burman for the film 'Bandini'.

While making the film 'Koshish', he learned sign language so that he could connect with the characters' emotions.

He published his first novel, 'Two', at the age of 84.