Guru Dutt

July 9 was the birthday of Hindi film director and actor Guru Dutt (1925-1964), who killed himself at the age of 39.

Guru Dutt in Pyaasa

Guru Dutt made a number of moody, beautifully-lit black and white films with great songs, which are considered classics today. He was married to the popular singer Gita Dutt, but was famously obsessed with the actress Waheeda Rehman. Her most memorable films were the ones he directed -- he made her luminous, other-worldly.

Waheeda Rehman in Pyaasa

Kagaz ke phool (1959) was semi-autobiographical, about a film director who is separated from the actress he loves - played by Waheeda Rehman - and falls to pieces, his life destroyed. A song that I love comes from Kagaz ke Phool:
vaqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam
tum rahe na tum, ham rahe na ham

(time has inflicted such beautiful cruelty:
you are no longer you, I am no longer I)
Kagaz ke Phool was a commercial failure, fuelling the depression which eventually killed Guru Dutt. Although he made several films after Kagaz ke Phool, he never listed himself as the director again. Other great films by Guru Dutt are Pyaasa (Thirst) (1957) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (Master Mistress and Slave) (1962). Pyaasa has the great song Yeh Duniya:
Har ek jism ghaayal, har ek rooh pyaasi
Nigaahon men ulfat, dilon men udaasi
Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai

(every body is wounded, every soul is thirsty
glances are filled with longing, hearts with sadness
if you conquer such a world, what have you achieved?)
Some lyrics of songs from Guru Dutt's films.

Some of Guru Dutt's films available on DVD.

A biography of Guru Dutt: Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema, by Nasreen Munni Kabir, Oxford University Press, 1996

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