The Films of Guru DuttLikeAlfred Hitchcock in the US, Guru Dutt never strayed outside the confines of mainstream cinema. He played by the rules for almost the whole of his career; his only foray into artier turf, Kaagaz ke Phool, was a box office bomb. But like Hitchcock his sequences redefined how movies could be shot; his technical prowess and storytelling genius made all the conventions of pop cinema new again.Kaagaz ke Phool (1959)From the 'Golden Age' in India (the fifties), it's the Bollywood Citizen Kane, directed by and starring Guru Dutt (picture to left). He avoided the long Wellesian decline of commercial obscurity and wine commercials by killing himself at the age of 39.
Kaagaz Ke Phool Poster Full
Kaagaz was a commercial and critical disaster (Guru Dutt never 'signed' another film as director) but has only gained stature since its release in 1959. It is a rare behind-the-scenes look at Indian filmmaking, the story of the decline of a gifted director after a divorce settlement separates him from his daughter. His protege Waheeda Rehman goes on to stardom while he goes on a terminal bender.Ace cinematographer V.K.
Murthy's lighting is exquisite, done with only a fraction of the budget and equipment available to a Hollywood DP. There is an amazing moment in a deserted film studio where Waheeda walks into and out of darkness through a beam of reflected sunlight while, on the track, Geeta Dutt sings the classic 'Waqt Ne Kiya.' It's worthy of Gregg Toland. Nobody ever picturized a song like Guru Dutt, and his treatment of song sequences is still influential today. For instance, Dutt instructed his music directors to always begin with solo voice; there is rarely an instrumental introduction, as he wanted the smoothest possible transition between dialogue and song.Kaagaz is also India's first widescreen picture, shot with Cinemascope lenses leased from 20th Century Fox. A flat version was shot at the same time and this version has become the only one available to modern viewers. As far we know there's only one Cinemascope print still in existence (the negatives decayed long ago) and it's in the collection of the National Film Archive of India in Pune, where my family and I saw it in March of 2007.
Read Kaagaz Ke Phool 1959 movie User reviews. Check out Bollywood Hungama movie user reviews for Kaagaz Ke Phool 1959 at Bollywood Hungama. The song is the heart of his masterpiece Kaagaz ke Phool (1957), and I contend contains the most passionate poetry you will ever find in a Bollywood song. Mohammed Rafi brings legendary Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi’s lyrics to an unheard of, feverish of climax that evokes a tragedy much deeper and more painful than any normal loss. Kaagaz Ke Phool Quotes. There are no approved quotes yet for this movie. News & Features. 150 Erotic Movies. Ranked worst to best! 2019's Most Anticipated. 63 movies coming up this year.
I took the picture to the left standing in the middle of the Archive's auditorium, just to prove that a scope version exists!Pyaasa (1957)is Guru Dutt's most commercially successful picture and yet another major film about a poet. The scribe in question is portrayed by Guru Dutt, and the film follows his quest for a degree of commercial success, or at least some sort of recognition from society as he is cast out by his brothers, exploited by a rich publisher, and finally imprisoned in an asylum after a mistaken-identity incident worthy of Sullivans Travels. He finds his only true friends among street vendors and prostitutes; head masseur Johnny Walker (see photo above) rescues him from the asylum, while prostitute Waheeda Rehman arranges for the publication of his poems. The poet finds fame only after he is believed to be dead. The hypocrisy and moral rot of society is revealed to him in the process; finally he denys his authorship and walks away into the fog with Waheeda.Comic sidekick Johnny Walker was part of Guru Dutt's repertory company and featured in all of his pictures from Baazi to the very end. Though Indian comedy doesn't translate well — something that is probably true of all national comic traditions — Walker brings more than shtick to the proceedings, often showing emotional depth as well (in 1958 he won a Filmfare award, India's equivalent of the Oscar, for a best supporting actor turn in Madhumati). He became a much-loved personality in India, with copious eulogies published upon his death in 2003.
Pyaasa's most famous tune, 'Sar Jo Tera Chakraye' ('Maalish! Tel Maalish!' ), is picturized upon Walker as grabs a client off the street and gives him a hair-oil massage.Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)Though Dutt is not the director of this film (it was screenwriter and good friend Abrar Alvi who took the helm instead), Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam ( Master, Wife, and Slave) is a Guru Dutt film in every way, and perhaps his finest.
After the commercial and critical failure of Kaaghaz Ke Phool, he never allowed his name to be associated with the direction of any of his productions again, perhaps considering it unlucky. Alvi had been a critical part of Gutt's team since Aar-Paar in 1954, and his work on Sahib was his only outing as director. He notes in his recent memoir that he more or less barred Guru Dutt from the set at times in order to work without interference; as it was, Dutt still showed up for the song sequences and Alvi finally absented himself on those occasions.This film represents one of Meena Kumari's final moments on the screen. As the wife of a philandering zamindar (feudal landlord), virturally imprisoned in the huge house she shares with her brother-in-law and dozens of servants, she begins a furtive friendship with a naive newcomer who has become part of the house retinue. Confiding only in village innocent Boothnath (played by Guru Dutt), she does everything to win the love of her husband, finally even learning to drink — your good girl's gonna go bad — so she can hang with him during his epic binges.
It all ends badly. Murthy's cinematography in this film is worthy of anything in the John Ford canon; scenes of the ruined mansion that begin the movie's long flashback look like Piranesi etchings.Other seminal pictures from Guru Dutt: Mr. '55 (1955), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1961), C.I.D. (1956), and Baazi (1951).
I'm still slowly developing my appreciation for 'Bollywood' although this film certainly does not fit the prototype for what I've seen and expected thusfar. Instead of sassiness and splash, this epic traverses seriousness and shadow. I'm certainly glad that I saw it, but truth be told I'm happier having seen it, than I was while actually watching it. By renting the DVD, I was able to watch a 3-part special on Guru Dutt that I highly recommend. His colleagues still speak so fondly and insightfully of him, very touching. It might be worth watching that special before the main feature.
Kaagaz Ke Fools 2015
The film is from 1959 and thus has elements that are timeless, yet also elements that are quite dated. First off, it is in black and white, and several scenes (not only those involving knitting) screamed for color, but alas what can you do? Is there a Ted Turner in India?? The camera work and shots however are often remarkable, shadows just don't look as stark in color.
On the extras, V.K. Murthy discussed the light beams and lenses he created for Dutt. Speaking of Murthy, he was so very compelling on the DVD extras.why does IMDB list him working so rarely?
I suspect it is just an incomplete filmography?? Dutt and he also used overlapping images that I still enjoy, but I don't think anyone uses these now since they were probably overused at one point in the 60's. Bring 'em back, the sliding limelights and later sliding martinis worked very well. There's a great scene of a throng of adoring film fans where the camera takes on a boat-like rocking that caught my eye. The camera often moves, and shots usually are not interrupted with so many alternative angles as we are used to today. Personally that's one of my favorite aspects of older films, the lingering shot.
There was a pivotal scene where I guess they needed two different takes, spliced from nearly the same location after the 'sofa' reunion of our two starcrossed lovers. It may be footage was just lost there (other moments during songs for example it was clear this has happened).
The sudden change in that scene almost right at that abrupt camera perspective change in the takes used, didn't translate to me in the US in 2004. But I'm usually one to encourage lovers to 'requit,' damn it! Another significant problem comes with what we an audience, and Dutt/Sinha as a character, allow his daughter to get away with. Again, I'm nothing more than an acolyte in appreciating these Indi films, but it seems a common theme is the man is with one woman, but in love with another. How to construct this barrier in a sassy film that will hypnotize with eye-popping dance scenes over ear-popular music is very different than how to construct a barrier in a serious film such as this. I don't really care in the first case, but here the impudence of the daughter just put me off, and made the unrequited love seem sort of senseless.
One of Guru Dutt's contemporaries talked about how in real life, he could love.but not state his love. This is a more interesting divide, and it is presented somewhat here, generally with the enchanting Chanti saying 'Listen.' (well that's what the subtitles said.) Three times at least. Winds also pick up at key moments. The film is well constructed with devices like that, and the aforementioned beams of light.
The ingenue and the auteur love story works well, a Pygmalion with another pigment. Naivete and innocence are not only what draw Sinha to Chanti, but they are also what some people will like about this film quite a bit.
For me, I might be a bit too jaded. The 'Rocky' comedic relief (is his name really Johnny Walker.that's like a character out of 'Alien Nation') while sorta funny in ways, at the same time got on my nerves a bit. Although for a moment I thought he was going to be well ahead of time and be a gay character on screen in the 50's.
Indeed any scene involving any one from his family tended to bring the film down in a broad fashion. We get it, the aristocracy are horrible to the poor and lowly millionaire film mavericks, not willing to give them the compassion they shower upon their dogs. Another clue to dislike them, the fact that they use the English language. I still don't know why at one point the estranged Mrs.
Sinha says 'If he needs me, put him on the next flight.' If she were too sickly to go to her husband in his need, or if a monsoon made it prohibitive to go to Bombay.that might have been better from my point of view. The fact that this is a film about the film industry may put some folks off, but like Altman's 'The Player' this film I think benefits from such self-reflection. The notion of a director's struggle for art and control, when the bets are switching to the actors and actresses as workhorses evidently paralleled Dutt's own struggles. Ultimately I think Dutt's own life is more interesting than the role he created and portrayed here. It seems in the artificial cinema sunlight, he felt rootless and never blossomed amidst all the paper flowers. Back at school, I saw some of Sergei Eisenstein's films as part of being a Rhetoric major, I wish we had seen and discussed this film.
I'd be curious to know if others found some of the women when speaking looking awkwardly askance? In today's era of reality TV and hand-held documentary style film fiction, I sort of miss stylized movies as an art.although I'm certainly glad car footage can be shot on real roads and not sound stages these days.; Overall I think 'Kaagaz Ke Phool' has as much going for it as other film school classics (and being appreciated with a sense of history would help). Although even as a 'stand-alone' film I found it entertaining.
Not sure I would have said the same of 'Battleship Potemkin' sitting at home on a Thursday night.