Far from being abusive, the 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 favourite snacks and waits for the favourite ‘k’ word.
“The last time he visited, Om said, ‘Abhi tak aapne mujhe ek baar kamina nahin kaha‘. It’s like 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 endearmentâ€¦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 kahin ka‘ she is expressing a love beyond the annoyance visible in 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 Te 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 in 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 bio-pic 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 bio-pic.
“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 favourite song is not Dhan Te 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 Gulzar.