The lyricist who had given only around 250 songs to Hindi film industry, is yet recognizable due to his contentful lyrics. Gulshan Kumar Mehta popularly known as Gulshan Bawra is still famous with his songs like Mere Desh Ki Dharati (Upkar), Yaari Hai Imaan Mera (Zanjeer), Agar Tum Na Hote (Agar Tum Na Hote), Waada Karle Saajana (Haath Ki Safai), Kasme Vaade Nibhayenge Hum (Kasme Vaade) and Pyar Hamein Kis Mod Pe Le Aaya, Zindagi Milke Bitayenge from film Satte Pe Satta.
In his career, he had given good numbers along with composers like Kalyanji-Anandji and R.D. Burman. Gulshan Bawra has bagged two Filmfare Awards for his songs Mere Desh Ki Dharati (Upkar) and Yaari Hai Imaan Mera (Zanjeer).
Gulshan Bawra was born in Sheikhupura, Pakistan. His father was in a construction business. Gulshan had tragic story in his childhood. His parents get killed in front of his eyes during the India-Pakistan partition riots. His mother was killed by shooting through her head, while his father was killed by swords. He along with his elder brother was hid in the fields for some days and later they joined the caravan moving to India. Along with the caravan, they reached to their married sister's house in Jaipur and grown up there. Gulshan had done his schooling from Jaipur. Later when his elder brother got job in Delhi, he moved to Delhi and done his graduation from Delhi University.
Gulshan started writing poems from the age of six. In his childhood, Gulshan was used to accompany his mother Vidyavati to go for Bhajans, where he was also composing his won lines. His hobby also continued in his college days. Gulshan always wanted to make it big by coming in to film industry.
After completing his college, he applied for a job in Indian Railways, where he topped in interview and posted to Kota. But after reaching Kota he came to know that all the vacancies are filled. So he has given the post of goods clerk at the railway godown (storage) in Mumbai. And he came closer to his dream of being lyricist.
While doing his railway job, Gulshan continued writing lyrics and were visiting production houses often to try his luck in film industry. A first break came to his way with the film Chandrasena in 1959. Music for the film was given by Kalyanji of Kalyanji-Anandji duo, The song he wrote in the film was 'Main Kya Jaanu Kahaan Laage Ye Saawan Matwala Re', which was sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
His real break came with the film Satta Bazar, which also had composition by Kalyanji-Anandji. For the film he gave the hit numbers like 'Chaandi Ke Chand Tukado Ke Liye', 'Aakde Kaa Dhanda', and 'Tumhe Yad Hoga Kabhi Hum Mile The'. During the film he was only twenty year old and used to wear colorful shirts. By looking at him and his gesture, film's distributor Shantibhai Patel named him as Bawra (madman). Since then he is known with the name Gulshan Bawra.
Later on also, Gulshan formed good rapport with Kalyanji-Anandji. He had written 69 songs for Kalyanji-Anandji in his career of 42 years. Gulshan also had a winning combination with the music master R. D. Burman. He wrote 150 songs for Burman. With hit lyrics in films like Sanam Teri Kasam, Agar Tum Na Hote, Satte Pe Satta, Yeh Vaada Raha, Haath Ki Safai and Rafoo Chakkar, Gulshan Bawra became a highest paid lyricist in his time. Although he has delivered very less songs as compared to other lyricist in the industry, he is happy that his lyrics are contentful and never compromised for any thing.
Gulshan Bawra says that, "The philosophy of my life has been to be happy and contented, those who are not happy making Rs. 5000 will not be happy making Rs. 5 crores either. I have a neat apartment in Mumbai's best location and I can afford to serve Black Label today - truly God has been kind to me."