Guru Dutt

a picture of Guru Dutt
RealnameGuru Dutt Padukone
09.07.1925 *
Place of BirthBangalore
10.10.1964 †

Guru Dutt was born in Bangalore in 1925. He moved to Bombay to join the film industry as a choreographer. In the late 1940s he worked as assistent director to well-known directors like Gyan Mukherjee. In a few films he also acted in minor roles, but it was soon clear, that he wanted to direct movies himself. Guru Dutt made friends with Dev Anand and cast him for the leading role in his first movie Baazi. Though Baazi is a simple action movie based on a quite formulaic plot, it still shows Guru Dutt's very special approach to cinematography and song-and-dance scenes.

For his second movie Jaal Guru Dutt hired camera man V. K. Murthy, who subsequently did the cinematography for all Guru Dutt films. Again Dev Anand played the main role and - like in Baazi - the female lead role was played by Geeta Bali. Most of the songs for the film where sung by playback singer Geeta Roy. Geeta Roy and Guru Dutt fell in love and eventually got married in 1953. By the time that Guru Dutt was still a young and unknown director Geeta Dutt was a well established singer in the film industry.

When Guru Dutt planned his third movie Baaz Dev Anand already was a famous actor and casting him was not affordable. Encouraged by V. K. Murthy Guru Dutt decided to act himself. Baaz was a historical with some memorable songs and a charming Geeta Bali, but did not do well at the box office. Though Baazi, Jaal and Baaz are Guru Dutt's early movies, they do show how easily he managed to switch genre and plot and yet steadily worked on his unique style.

With Aar Paar he made a big leap as a director. Since Hindi was not Guru Dutt's mother tongue, he was very aware of his accent. He was dissatisfied with the dialogues in his early movies. According to his ideas the language in Hindi films was too stage like. Any character would basically use the same language. Guru Dutt wanted to make film dialogues more lively and realistic and hired writer Abrar Alvi to pen the dialogues for Aar Paar. This movie marks a new trend in Hindi cinema. Regional and social background determine the way a character talks. Again Guru Dutt acted in the main role. It was the first movie in which Johnny Walker, who became an integral part of Dutt's further movies, played a major role. The songs of Aar Paar, its cast and its pace made the film very popular. Some of the songs are even remembered today.

In Mr. And Mrs. 55 Guru Dutt acted opposite Madhubala. The film earned Guru Dutt a lot of recognition, especially for the songs and their picturization, the dialogues and the high level of this witty satire. But as other films that are obviously critical of the westernization or rather condemning the westernization of Indian society like Mehboob's Andaaz, one can trace a somewhat reactionary attitude against women, which certainly was not Guru Dutt's.

For many years Guru Dutt had a story in mind, which he had originally planned to make a novel of. Unlike the plots of his other movie, this story was near to his heart and mind. After Mr. And Mrs. 55 Guru Dutt started to make a movie of it, which was finally titled Pyaasa. Without doubt Pyaasa is in every respect his best movie. While he played the lead role himself, he cast the young actress Waheeda Rehman, who had by then acted in Telugu films and was searching for an opportunity to act in a Hindi movie. Acting with Guru Dutt in Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool and Chaudhvin Ka Chand Waheeda Rehman became a Bollywood star. Pyaasa is not only famous for its songs, but also for its cinematography. Experimenting with his cameraman V. K. Murthy and Guru Dutt broke all the common rules of the Hindi cinema of his time and gave Pyaasa its very special sombre mood by shooting in fog and working with shadows. Also Guru Dutt constantly asked for bigger lenses, to be able to shoot nearer close-ups. Soon this technique was adopted by other Hindi directors.

In Kaagaz Ke Phool Guru Dutt continued his work consequently both in his cinematography as in the story. Again the story is about an artist (in this case a film director), whose work is only briefly appreciated by the public and who slips into oblivion and poverty. But the Indian audience did not appreciated Kaagaz Ke Phool at all. This was a big set back for Guru Dutt. He was reluctant to direct another film and made M. Sadiq director of his next production Chaudhvin Ka Chand. The pressure on producers to release colour movies was growing in the 1960s. Thats the reason why one portion of Chaudhvin Ka Chand was colored.

Guru Dutt suffered from severe depression and alcoholism. He started to do more and more acting in films of other directors. He played in Mahesh Kaul's Sautela Bhai and in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Sanjh Aur Savera. His last production Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam was directed by Guru Dutt's favourite dialogue writer Abrar Alvi.

After four attempts of committing suicide Guru Dutt passed away in 1964 due to an overdose of sleeping pills.

Filmographie

As Actor/Actress

  1. Sanjh Aur Savera, 1964
  2. Suhagan, 1964
  3. Bahurani, 1963
  4. Bharosa, 1963
  5. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, 1962
  6. Sautela Bhai, 1962
  7. Chaudhvin Ka Chand, 1960
  8. Kaagaz Ke Phool, 1959
  9. 12 O'Clock, 1958
  10. Pyaasa, 1957
  11. Mr. And Mrs. 55, 1955
  12. Aar Paar, 1954
  13. Baaz, 1953
  14. Jaal, 1952
  15. Baazi, 1951
  16. Hum Ek Hain, 1946
  17. Lakhrani, 1945

As Director

  1. Kaagaz Ke Phool, 1959
  2. Pyaasa, 1957
  3. Sailaab, 1956
  4. Mr. And Mrs. 55, 1955
  5. Aar Paar, 1954
  6. Baaz, 1953
  7. Jaal, 1952
  8. Baazi, 1951

As Producer

  1. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, 1962
  2. Chaudhvin Ka Chand, 1960
  3. Kaagaz Ke Phool, 1959
  4. Pyaasa, 1957
  5. C. I. D., 1956
  6. Mr. And Mrs. 55, 1955
  7. Aar Paar, 1954

As Script Writer

  1. Baaz, 1953
  2. Jaal, 1952
  3. Baazi, 1951