Today is the 50th death anniversary of the legendary Guru Dutt Padukone. A choreographer, actor and director par excellence, Guru Dutt left behind a legacy of some unforgettable movies in the 1950s and 1960s. Pyaasa, Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Mr & Mrs 55, Aar Paar, CID – each of these movies are counted among the classics. In a very short time span, Guru Dutt did make a great impact on Hindi cinema.
It suddenly struck me now as I was looking at his filmography, that I have watched most of his films and have enjoyed them while not considering myself much of a fan!
One constant in all his movies was the music. Each movie of his had a fantastic score. As I thought about the countless songs from his movies, each more meaningful and melodious than the other, the one song that came to my mind was this wonderfully peppy picnic song sung by Mohd Rafi and Asha Bhosle (one of my favourite duets) in the classic film Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) – San San San woh Chali Hawa. The music was by S.D. Burman and lyrics by Kaifi Azmi. Picturised on Mehmood and an actress I dont recognise, this also features Guru Dutt and a very lovely Waheeda Rehman along with a bunch of other actors. This is a picnic wala number – a whole bunch of people are out somewhere, singing and whistling and the mood is one full of joie de vivre and the mirth comes through. Guru Dutt, who plays a director in the movie is just falling in love with his young, pretty heroine.
The movie is studded with other gems – more popular ones – like that haunting Geeta Dutt number Waqt ne kiya Kya Haseen Sitam (what lyrics, what singing and what picturisation) or the bitter, philosophical Rafi solo, Dekhi Zamaane Ki Yaari… Bichhade Sabhi Baari Baari. I get goosebumps each time I listen to these numbers; but for today, I would however like to remember Guru Dutt not as the melancholic, unhappy genius film maker but in happier times with a happy number! He was after all only 39 when he died.
Hope he is happy now wherever he is!