Cerebral Shangrila

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I have been suffering from this addiction -- Gurudutt-o-mania for the past few weeks. This addiction had led me to see five of his movies , some of which are sheer classics. Guru Dutt , the troubled genius who unfortunately died (committed suicide ? ) before he turned 40 , is one of the most respected filmmakers . His movies are visual delights (Thanks to his cameraman V.K.Murthy) with poignant stories (towards the later part of his life) and awesome music . Here is a quick review of the films that I watched ( I haven't reviewed the eternal classic "Pyaasa" here since I already wrote a long review , a few months ago) :

1. CID : Produced by Guru Dutt and directed by his protege, Raj Khosla, CID is hailed as one of the first crime thrillers of Bollywood. It reminds one very much of the Humphrey Bogart thrillers of the bygone era and Dev Anand is suave as the detective. Among other things, the movie introduced Waheeda Rehman , one of the most beautiful actresses & featured some memorable OPN (O.P.Nayyar) numbers like " Ankhon hi ankhon" , " Yeh hai mumbai meri jaan" .

2. Mr & Mrs 55 : Directed & Produced by Guru dutt , this movie is a surprise. I am surprised by the elan with which Dutt handles humor and the dialogues are witty ( Aap tho communist nahin hain na ...ji nahin ..main cartoonist hoon ) . Madhubala looks ravishing and the chemistry between them makes this movie a nice weekend watch. Features some OPN gems like " Jaane Kahaan mera " , " Thandi Hawaa Kaali ghataa" .

3. Kaagaz ke Phool : This movie proved to be the waterloo of Guru Dutt. It was a big commercial failure when it was released ( Though hailed as a classic today) and was the last movie Guru Dutt officially directed . The movie is semi-autobiographical and deals with the obsession of a director with his new heroine and his inability to churn out hits without her . The movie's problem is that its brilliant in pieces and flawed otherwise and also its too pessimistic even by Guru Dutt standards .The best thing about the movie was its excellent camerawork and the unforgettable melody " Waqt Ne Kiya kya haseen situm( tuned by S.D.Burman)" .

4. Chaudavin ka Chand : Its a tale of mistaken identities with Guru dutt, Waheeda rehman & Rehman forming the love triangle. Waheeda rehman looks exquisitely beautiful and the film also features one of Rafi's best solos " Chaudhvin ka chand" (music by Ravi) . The film was a commercial success though it seemed to me like a very slow moving story .

5. Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam : This is a Classic. No doubts about it.It deals with the feudal system of the british India and abuse of women during the Zamindari system. The movie belongs to Meenakumari . As the "Choti Bahu" , she steals the limelight , doing anything to please her wayward husband. The role must have been shocking by the 60's standard , particularly the alchoholism and feminist independence. Guru dutt looks cute (without a mustache) as Bhootnath and Waheeda Rehman looks as beautiful as ever. This social drama is excellent throughout with great acting and some wonderful music. Hemantda delivers great music particularly the songs " Na jao Saiyyan" , " Bhavra badaa" , " Saaqiya aaj mujhe" .

Like most geniuses, Guru dutt never tasted much critical and commercial success in his days but today he is hailed as one of best directors to have donned the baton in Bollywood. Every actor/director , makes it a point to say how much he has been influenced by him. That is the sheer irony of life or as Sahir put it in Pyaasa " Yeh Duniya agar mil bhi jaaye tho kya hai" !


  • cha orey Black and Whiteaa irukkey...

    By Blogger gormandizer, at 6:03 PM  

  • Also like Baazi (1951). Dev Anand was pretty good (pre hamming days). I think Balraj Sahni and GD co wrote it as well. "Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana ley. A classic.

    By Blogger Abhishek Chatterjee, at 1:39 AM  

  • I remember the last movie. During a particular film festival, DD telecasted 5-6 movies of Gurudutt during a week. As you had mentioned, some of the classical works of yesteryear directors are recognised only now.. since nowadays, you don't get that quality 100%

    By Blogger Ram C, at 10:05 AM  

  • gorm -- daaiii

    abhi -- yeah, got to see "Baazi","Jaal", " Aar Paar" .

    ram.c -- true..

    By Blogger Cogito, at 9:55 PM  

  • was crazy about guru dutt especially for his melancholic existence. But I love his charisma, he has tonnes of it, but sadly he was too smitten by his self pity to bounce back and do more films!

    By Blogger nimbu, at 11:58 AM  

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