Who was Guru Dutt?
Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone is the original name of Guru Dutt, the true pioneer of Indian cinema. He was an all rounder (director, producer, choreographer and actor) with creative skills that no one could ever match. He had some of the classics of Indian cinema to his credit such as ‘Pyaasa’ and ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ which are considered to be the best of Golden age of Indian cinema. The films were realistic, hard hitting lyrical dramas which would leave an effect on the viewers for ages. Though he has made lesser number of films, they were able to make a mark in the heart of common men. Behind the creative mind of this genius, there was tremendous tragedy which threatened his career and finally ended his life. After many years of death his life has been an unsolved puzzle.
Guru Dutt was a serious person who always demanded for obedience and punctuality from his co-workers. He worked on serious subjects which portrays the sensualities of humans in a heart touching manner. In the early stages of acting career, he was very shy and was not able to face the camera. Those who have worked with him were clueless when they had seen his acting skills in ‘Pyaasa’. In that movie, his face expressions and the way he has shown pain in his eyes was like he is living the character not acting’ says one prominent producer. As a director, he had never cared about the number of takes and ready to work without a break until he gets the shot that he had imagined. Because of this attitude some of the crew members did not liked him. However, there were countless people who got inspired from this intellectual director. He used to say to his close associates that ‘I have everything, yet I have nothing’. Such was the pain inside him which nobody had observed.
Guru Dutt was born on 9th July 1925, in Bangalore. Being born in a lower middle class family, life has taught him hard lessons in the childhood itself. He spent the early childhood in Kolkata and adopted the culture of Bengal (Name too). His first job was in a film production company where he met the two best friends of life – Evergreen hero Dev Anand and Rehman saab. He tried his hand at every department of film making but finally settled as a director cum actor.
Dutt made his directorial debut with ‘Baazi’ starring his close friend, Dev Anand. The film was a cult classic and brought Guru Dutt instant recognition as a film maker. The way of handling the camera in the film was compared to some Hollywood great directors. He produced many commercially successful films like ‘C.I.D’., ‘Pyaasa’, ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand’ and Sahib ‘Bibi Aur Ghulam’. The failure of ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959) disturbed him a lot mentally as the film was very close to his heart. However, the film is considered as a classic in film making, now. The cinematography of the movie was the talking point for generations and the man behind it was V.K.Murthy. He was the cinematographer for all of Dutt’s movies except ‘Baazi’. His most memorable role was in ‘Pyaasa’ which won millions of hearts. The heart wrenching story of a writer was a cult classic. Even today, some of the critics give ‘Pyaasa’, number one position in their all time favorites list.
He married Geeta Dutt, a professional playback singer in 1953 however did not had a happy marriage life which ended with a separation. People say that he had relationship with Waheeda Rahman which had led to the separation from his wife, Geeta. The shocking part of his career is, he had attempted suicide three times. He was rescued by his associates for the first two times, but the third time they couldn’t. Guru Dutt was considered a man ahead of his time by movie pundits. Abrar Alvi, a close associate of Guru Dutt has written a book named ‘10 years with Guru Dutt: Abrar Alvi’s journey’. It depicts the association of Abrar with Dutt and how they have managed in this mercurial world which changes from second to second. It also depicts the way of Guru Dutt’s rise to stardom and his association with his contemporaries.
Guru Dutt died on 10th October, 1964. The death caused because of the over consumption of alcohol and sleeping pills. It was a huge loss to Indian cinema which could not be filled. One thing everyone had to admit is that there was no Guru Dutt before him, there is no Guru Dutt today and there wouldn’t be a Guru Dutt in the future. Hats off to this legend of Indian cinema.