"Jab hum chalein toh saaya bhi apna na saath de; jab tum chalo toh zameen chale, aasmaan chale!" "Jab hum rukein, saath ruke shaam-e-beqasi; jab tum ruko, bahaar ruke, chandni ruke!"
It was the late 1940s and a young man who was to one day gain the status of a legendary filmmaker, entered Prabhat Studios in Poona (now known as Pune) to work as a choreographer – his first step towards a spectacular yet short-lived career. He was known to have ushered in the Golden Era of the Hindi film industry. A man much ahead of his time, he churned out classics such as Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool and also acted in many films. There are but few multi-faceted personalities one can reminisce about. However, his works spoke volumes about the man that he was. He was the legend Guru Dutt.
His friendship with Dev Anand, one that had a rather innocent beginning, stayed put till the very end. Dev Anand was once quoted saying that Dutt was his "only true friend in the film industry”. The duo had promised each other that if Guru Dutt were to turn filmmaker, he would hire Dev Anand as his hero, and if Dev Anand were to produce a film then he would use Guru Dutt as its director. The latter happened when Dev Anand started his production company, Navketan Films and gave Guru Dutt his first break as a director, with Baazi which starred Dev Anand in the lead role.
His personal life went through one too many upheavals that with his wife (Geeta Dutt) walking out on the marriage when she discovered the much spoken about affair between Guru Dutt and his muse Waheeda Rehman. He lived a tragic life and died without anyone by his side. It is however, uncertain whether his tragic death was an accident or a successful suicidal attempt.
One may debate whether Guru Dutt was a better filmmaker or a better actor, the answer is difficult to come by, for each fans of his will see him in a different light. His films catered to the same class of people as Satyajit Ray’s, the similar content and connect that made the latter a favourite in international circles too. He was attributed to introducing two features in his films starting with Baazi – the use of close-up shots with a 100 mm lens – more than 14 in the film – which became known in Indian movie-making as the Guru Dutt shot, as well as the use of songs to further the narrative in the movie.
If you wish to read more about the legendary filmmaker, you can choose from the bibliography mentioned as under: (Sourced from Wikipedia.com)
- Guru Dutt, 1925-1965: A Monograph, Firoze Rangoonwalla, National Film Archive of India, Govt. of India, 1973.
- My Son Gurudutt, Vasanti Padukone, India, serialised in The Imprint and Screen magazine, April 1979 & 2004.
- Nanna maga Gurudatta, Vasanti Padukone, Kannada, Manōhara Granthamāle, Dharwad, India, 1976.
- Guru Dutt, un grand cinéaste encore pratiquement inconnu hors de l’Inde, Henri Micciollo, Films sans Frontières, 1984.
- Profiles, Five Film-makers from India, Shampa Banerjee. Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Development Corp., 1985.
- Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Oxford University Press, 1997.
- In Black and White: Hollywood and the Melodrama of Guru Dutt, Darius Cooper, Seagull Books, 2005.
- Yours Guru Dutt: Intimate Letters of a Great Indian Filmmaker, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Lustre Press, Roli Books, 2006.
- Ten Years with Guru Dutt: Abrar Alvi’s journey, Sathya Saran. 2008, Penguin.
Hope you enjoyed this short tribute on the legendary actor-director. Share your thoughts in the comment boxes below.