(Last Updated on : 14-01-2009)
Guru Dutt turned into a debutant director with the film Baazi and brought a huge hit on the silver screen in the year 1951. This film was made under the banner of Dev Anand
's 'Navketan'. The film was a runaway hit and it depicted the beginning of Bombay Film Industries courtship with metropolitan crime films. This film was actually considered as a trendsetter. However, Aar Paar, another film by the maestro released in 1954 and made the position of this young director even firmer.
Guru Dutt further consolidated his position in the Bombay Film Industry with other hits like Mr and Mrs 55 and Pyaasa. Guru Dutt's genius as a director finds expression in his incorporation of songs into the descriptive texture of the films. Songs in his films are not simply an added attraction; rather they are tools used as a vehicle to move the narrative further. This usage of songs is noticeable even in his debut film Baazi. The song ' Suno gajar kya gaaye' did set a new trend with the vamp warning the hero and as usual the song was the medium. This usage of a musical number was not seen before in Hindi films.
Baazi was an immediate success and Guru Dutt followed it with films like Jaal and Baaz. Although neither of the films did well at the box office, but they brought together the Guru Dutt team that performed so brilliantly in his subsequent films. He discovered, and trained actors like Johnny Walker
(comedian), V.K. Murthy (cinematography), and Abrar Alvi
(writing and directing), among others. Guru Dutt is also credited for introducing the gorgeous and talented actress Waheeda Rehman
to the Hindi cinema. Guru Dutt both directed and starred in the film Baaz, since he did not find a suitable actor for the principal character.
Fortune was on Guru Dutt's side in the year 1954, when Aar Paar released that was followed by the 1955 hit, Mr. and Mrs. 55, then C.I.D., Sailaab, and in 1957, Pyaasa - the story of a poet, discarded by an heartless world, who achieves accomplishment only after his evident death. Guru Dutt played the lead role in three of these five films.
Guru Dutt's film in 1959, Kaagaz Ke Phool was a strong disappointment. This film has projected a great deal of love, money, and energy, which was a self-absorbed tale of a famous director (often played by Guru Dutt) who falls in love with an actress (played by Waheeda Rehman
). Kaagaz Ke Phool did not reach the success at the box office and Dutt was shocked. All subsequent films from his studio were not much appealing to box office. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, was directed by his protégé and writer Abrar Alvi brought him the Filmfare Best Director's award. The film's star Waheeda Rehman
denied any rumor that Guru Dutt himself did not direct the film. Guru Dutt also has his influence on his last box office smash hit film Chaudhvin Ka Chand.
Guru Dutt's legacy to direct Hindi cinema is distinctive and established by many leading Hindi directors of the day. Guru Dutt is probably the only Indian filmmaker who dared to make a personal statement with his cinema. His films stand testimony not only to his own brilliance but also to the ingenuity of his team, comprising stalwarts like cameraman V.K. Murthy
, music director S.D. Burman
, and writer Abrar Alvi
, among other personalities.
As a director Guru Dutt was a perfectionist and never compromised on quality. He was a genius born to create a unique atmosphere through his sense of music, unique picturization of songs, delicate but smart dialogues, original themes, profundity of his characters, excellent use of lighting with light and shade, and splendid shots sometimes followed by close ups of actors thus emphasizing their expression which go beyond their narrative function and creates an notion of their own. Guru Dutt was also the one to introduce the use of long focal-length lenses, and 100 mm as 75 mm for close ups in Indian films. The decade of the 50's and early 60's witnessed him as a director as well as an actor and producer for several critically acclaimed films.
Guru Dutt's directorial genius is overwhelmingly perceptible in his use of light and shade. The use of light and shade in all Guru Dutt's films created a fitting atmosphere where romance can thrive at its best. His usage of light and shade to this paranormal effect can be best represented by the song-'Saakiya aaj mujhe neend nahin aayegi' from the film Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam. Guru Dutt is also attributed with using cinemascope for the first time in the arena of Indian cinema. He also utilized close up shot to probe deeper into the characters' consciousness.
He was the one credited with applying tighter and close up shots of his actors. Pyaasa arguably one of his finest films in the Indian film industry that deals with the clash between the worldly and the unsophisticated nature of human beings. The talented poet in this film, acted by Guru Dutt himself, at the end, retires to secrecy leaving the materialistic world behind. Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam equally deals with a revolutionary idea and disturbing narrative. The film is a touching tale of loveless ness in the life of a high society people, especially in the lives of those women. Kaagaz ke Phool however manifested the end of the directorial genius of this gifted director. The miserable performance of this film made Guru Dutt quit the direction field. He also produced a film titled C.I.D in 1956, casting his friend Dev Anand
as the lead hero.