Guru Dutt

Guru Dutt was a revolutionary director who brought about many changes in mainstream Hindi Cinema. Guru Dutt was the first director to integrate the film song into the story and make the story move forward even through the song. He had the remarkable ability to make the story go smoothly through his songs and the songs never appeared out of place. His characters emoted the whole story through the songs. Guru Dutt also used the effect of light and shade to create a magical effect in romantic scenes.

Guru Dutt also revolutionalized the close up shot and brought the inner feelings of the character on the screen. He strongly felt that 80% of acting was done in the eyes and 20% the rest of the body. For the eyes are the most expressive part of the body. He went beyond the standard 50mm lens used then, using lenses with higher focal length to get tighter close ups.

Guru Dutt Shiv Shankar Padukone born on 9 July 1925 in a Saraswat family of Mangalore was educated in Calcutta in forties. The traditional education did not satisfy him and he joined Uday Shankar's dancing school in Almora for two years. Later he came down to join the Prabhat studios in Pune, where he had the all round training of the film making. It was here that he got a break as a choreographer with the film Hum Ek Hain (1946), the launching pad of friend and actor Dev Anand. For few years he worked as an assistant director for directors like A. Banerjee, Gyan Mukherjee and Amiya Chakrabarty.

Meanwhile in 1949, his close friend Dev Anand (now a star) had launched his own banner, Navketan. Dev Anand invited Guru Dutt to direct a film for him. Thus 1951 saw the release of Baazi, Guru Dutt's directorial debut. The film starring Dev Anand, Geeta Bali and Kalpana Kartik was a trendsetter regarded as the forerunner of the spate of urban crime films that followed in Bollywood in the 1950s. In fact, Guru Dutt and singer Geeta Roy met during the song recording of Baazi and fell in love, marrying on the 26th of May,1953.

Guru made his entry as a hero in the film Baaz, where he played the role of a local ruler under Portuguese. But the film failed in the box office. It was Aar Paar that made Guru Dutt both an actor and the director. With Aar Paar, he started his own production company and did films under his own banner like Mr. and Mrs. 55, where he played the role of a cartoonist, Cid, directed by Raj Khosla, which also introduced the new sensation Waheeda Rehman to the filmdom. The film that took him to his peak was Pyasaa (1957), which had both Waheeda Rehman and Mala Sinha in it. Pyaasa was Guru Dutt's real masterpiece. It is in Pyaasa where we really see Guru Dutt transcend way above the ordinary and succeed in totality.The film that was almost close to Devdas, a character that stirs up every Indian. This film seemed to be the answer to all the people who criticized his earlier films.

Fifties was when India was on the threshold of change and Guru Dutt made his contribution by directing and acting in the films with social consciousness like Kaagaz Ke Phool, Chaudvin Ka Chand, Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam. Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam (1962) won the President's Silver Medal as well as the Film of the year award from the Bengal Film Journalists Association besides going to the Berlin Film Festival and being India's official entry for the Oscars.

However Guru Dutt's personal life was a disaster. He had separated from his wife allegedly due to his involvement with his discovery and leading actress Waheeda Rehman and on Oct. 10, 1964 he took an overdose of sleeping pills and committed suicide though doubts still linger as to whether his death was accidental.

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