Monday, July 9, 2007

Pyaasa: All time great movie

Guru Dutt in Pyaasa
It's not often that a Hindi Movie is ranked among the world's greatest movie, but Pyaasa, Gurudutt's monumental creation, has been ranked in the top 100 movies of all time. The movie, set 10 years after Indian independence, is a study in despair and social decay, and followed other path breaking social movies such as Awaara, Boot Polish, Do Bigha Zameen, and so on. If not for Kagaz ke Phool, this movie would have been without doubt one of Guru Dutt's best movies. It still is, but the other movie is also great. And Pyaasa follows the lighter, less social-burning-issue movies such as Mr. & Mrs. 55, Baazi, Jaal, and Aar Par.
The movie is about a society where people can betray anyone for money, including one's own brother, where love can be had from anyone, no matter who they are (a prostitute in this case). It is a movie about the long-standing battle between materialistic and spiritual desires, and eventually no solution. A sensitive man can maybe just give up in the face of selfishness and greed, and fight no more.
The other highlights of this movie are the excellent dialogs by Abrar Alvi, and the music, the music. The movie has such an excellent collection of songs that a musical collection is incomplete without some of these songs. You can hear and listen to some of them on Youtube (Jaane Woh Kaise Log The, Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par, Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaye (an incredible song by Rafi), Sar Jo Tera Chakraye (Johhny Walker), Hum Aapki Aankhon Mein, Mushaira, Aaj Sanam Mohe Ang Laga Lo). The music was by SD Burman, lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi, and sung by Hemant Kumar, Muhammed Rafi and Geeta Dutt.
The movie is about this struggling poet called Vijay (Guru Dutt). He is unsuccessful in getting his poems published, with his own family mocking him as a good for nothing. To avoid this ridicule, he spends a fair amount of time out of home, and makes friends with a prostitute Gulabo (Waheeda Rehman) who takes a fancy for his poetry and for him. He also gets to meet an ex-girlfriend from college, Meena (Mala Sinha) who has married a rich man for his money (gives a fair amount of security). This man is a big publisher Mr. Ghosh (Rehman).
Mr. Ghosh starts getting suspicious of Meena and Vijay, and hires him a peon in his office, so as to belittle him. He refuses to publish poetry. He feels his suspicions are justified and sacks Vijay. Vijay is out on the street, when he encounters a beggar and gives him his coat. However, the beggar dies in front of a train, and due to the coat, all believe that Vijay is dead. He is in fact speechless due to seeing the beggar die in front of him.
Gulabo manages to get Mr. Ghosh to publish Vijay's poems, but when Vijay proclaims himself alive, Mr. Ghosh and Vijay's own brother get him declared mad and committed to an asylum. He escapes from there and enters his own death anniversary gathering where he sings the famous song 'Yeh Duniya Mil Bhi Jaye to Kya'. Soon after, his brother switches sides to recognize him for more money from another publisher. This is the final deceit for Vijay. He proclaims that he is not Vijay and walks off with Gulabo into obscurity.

1 comment:

carla said...

I like *Pyaasa* better than *Kaagaz ke phool* - it's far less bleak. Guru Dutt's character in *Kaagaz ke phool* gives up on the world; he checks out, and won't allow himself an iota of happiness even when he has the opportunity. In *Pyaasa* he realizes that there is some joy to be taken from life even when you are a tortured misunderstood artist. I love the ending especially. Two things that stand out for me about *Pyaasa* are first, the idea that there could even be a movie whose hero is a poet; and second, the film's very sympathetic stance toward women in dire circumstances.