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Because He Is…

because he is... by Meghna Gulzar

Blurb:

‘Papi says it is wrong of parents to presume that they know better, or know more than their child does. They may be biologically older than their child, but in their experience as parents, they’re of the same age. So if I was his two-year-old daughter, he was my two-year-old father. And we were both learning and evolving together — he as my father and me as his daughter.’ All of us know Gulzar as a film-maker, screenplay and dialogue writer, lyricist par excellence, author and poet.

Because He Is… presents a facet of the icon that none of us are aware of — as a father. In iridescent prose, his daughter, Meghna Gulzar, documents his life, revealing the man behind the legend: in every way a hands-on father, who prepared her for school without fail every day, braiding her hair and tying her shoelaces, and who despite his busy career in cinema, always made it a point to end his workday at 4 p.m. because her school ended at that time, and who wrote a book for her birthday every year till she was thirteen.

From her earliest memories of waking up in the morning to the strains of him playing the sitar to him writing the songs for her films now, Meghna presents an intimate portrait of a father who indulged her in every way and yet raised her to be independent and confident of the choices she made. She also records his phenomenal creative oeuvre, the many trials and tribulations of his personal and professional life, through all of which she remained a priority.

Beautifully designed and illustrated with never-before-seen photographs, Because He Is… offers an incredible insight into the bond between a father and a daughter.

Thoughts:

I was supposed to read Jiya Jale: The Stories of Songs by Gulzar to end 2021. I love all his films and the songs he has written. What he does with lyrics is pure magic but he is also a prolific writer, proficient in so many genres.

However, I was tempted to read Meghna’s book first. It did not disappoint.

It was wonderful seeing Gulzar and getting to know more about his life through her eyes. The bond between him and Meghna is strong and endearing, as is Gulzar’s parenting style.

Make no mistake, this is a daughter’s book about a father she adores. Her account is biased. There are many shortcomings in it but if you are a Gulzar fan like me, you forgive them.

It is a well-written personal description of Gulzar’s life as a parent. It is full of entertaining anecdotes, rare photos, and published and unpublished poems. It is also a memoir of Meghna’s life.

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