The redoubtable Gulzar plays more than a passing muse in Madhur Bhandarkar's comedy Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji. Not only is the title of Bhandarkar's film taken from the song that Gulzar Saab wrote for Ishqiya last year, it now appears that Bhandarkar has been running from pillar to post trying to secure the rights to an old Gulzar classic song 'Koi Hota Jisko Apna Hum Apna Keh Lete Yaaron' from the film Mere Apne.
This 1971 film was Gulzar saab's first directorial undertaking. The Kishore Kumar number that Madhur Bhandarkar so wanted remains to this day one of the most beloved Kishore Kumar tracks from the 1970s. Bhandarkar apparently had to agree to desist from tampering with the song before he was given the right to use the song in Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji.
Bhandarkar confirms, "Yes, I've acquired the rights of Gulzar saab's song 'Koi Hota Jisko Apna' from Mere Apne. It's one of my favourite songs written by Gulzar saab. Aur kya composition kiya hai Salil Chowdhary ne! It would be criminal to change the track in anyway. I've used it in the original form. Who can sing like Kishore-da today?"
Bhandarkar describes himself as the biggest Gulzar fan. "I know each and every film and lyric that he has written by heart. In Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, even the title is a tribute to Gulzar saab. As for the song 'Koi Hota', it fitted perfectly for a situation in my film. I was determined to get it."
Madhur Bhandarkar is very keen to show Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji to Gulzar saab. "I know he hardly goes to any public event. But he has to see my film to know what a fan I am of his work and how much he has influenced me."