By Subhash K Jha
Far from being an abusive term- Kaminey, says Gulzar Saab, is a term of endearment.
In fact, an old associate and friend Om Puri actually comes home to Gulzar Saab, has his favorite snacks and waits for the favorite ‘k’ word.
“The last time he visited, Om said, ‘Abhi tak aapne mujhe ek baar kamina nahin kaha’. It’s liked a little affectionate pat planted on the shoulder like a mock-slap to let the other person know you care.”
Chuckles the ever-ebullient Gulzar Saab, “Far from being a negative term, Kaminey is actually a term of endearment…. unless added to ‘kuttey’. It’s only kuttey Kaminey that’s used angrily and negatively. When a friend doesn’t visit us when he’s in town we call him kamina. The word can be translated as ‘mean’ in English. Kids say, ‘Papa you’re mean.’ Likewise when a mother says to her son, ‘Kamina khain ka’ she is expressing a love, beyond the annoyance visible to the word.”
In fact it’s Gulzar Saab who suggested the title Kaminey to Vishal Bhardwaj.
“And now like Jai ho it seems to have caught on. I’ve heard Dhan ta Nan is very popular. But I must admit, I haven’t heard it played on auto rickshaws yet, the way my Kajra re, Beedi jalaile and Jai ho were.”
No doubt Gulzar is riding high on the charts again with the songs of Kaminey, minor glitches notwithstanding.
Gulzar’s collaboration with Vishal Bhardwaj is an extension of what he shared with the much-missed R.D.Burman until the composer prematurely passed away. “I saw the same spark in Vishal. Luckily the hunger to explore new musical avenues remains alive within him, although he’s now a reputed filmmaker.”
Vishal sees Gulzar as integral to his cinematic and musical vision. The two were busy collaborating over Vishal’s biopic on Fearless Nadia, until the project got shelved and the director moved on to Kaminey. In fact Gulzar Saab had already written some songs for the Nadia biopic.
“Every time Vishal and I get to explore a new facet in Hindi film music. Kaminey is unlike anything I’ve written before. But I must tell you, my favorite song is not Dhan ta Nan but the title song by Vishal Bhardwaj. I’ve written some thoughtful words there.
Unfortunately it’s only the fast-paced rhythm-oriented numbers that work these days. And no one is listening to the words there anyway,” laughs the bade-dinon-ke-bard whose Slumdog Millionaire was screened for the president Pratibha Patil.
“She seemed to like the film. Though I couldn’t stay for the dinner. I had high tea with her. I also met Rahman in Delhi. I didn’t know he was in India, until I read about it.”