Guru Dutt Classics – Kaagaz Ke Phool(1959)

Guru Dutt gave three landmark films to hindi cinema; ‘Pyaasa’, ‘ Kaagaz ke Phool’ and ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ in a period of roughly 6 years between 1957-62.

Guru Dutt

Guru Dutt

While Pyaasa and Kaagaz ke Phool were both produced and directed by Dutt himself , Sahib Bibi Aur Ghuam was directed by his close friend Abrar Alvi. Although this Guru Dutt trilogy belongs to the the same era as that of Satyajit Ray’s documentary style pure cinema ‘Pather Panchali’ and Bimal Roy trademark films like ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ and ‘Devdas’ ; there was certainly something else to these Guru Dutt masterpieces. The remarkable depiction of the constant  misery and dejection faced by the protagonists ; the poet Vijay in Pyaasa , the forgotten film director in Kaagaz Ke Phool and the choti  bahu in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam – a performance which immortalizes Meena Kumari as the  tragedienne of hindi cinema.

The Guru Dutt Inner Circle

It is said that Guru Dutt had a closed group of friends , called as the inner circle by his close friend and writer Abrar Alvi.This group of people was part of almost all Guru Dutt projects till his death in 1964.According to Alvi , actor Mehmood dearly wanted to be part of this inner circle but  could never make it happen.
Writer and close friend : Abrar Alvi
Assistant Director : Raj Khosla, Abrar Alvi
Cinematography : V.K. Murthy
Actor(s) : Waheeda Rehman, Johnny Walker, Rehman
Singer : Geeta Dutt, Mohammad Rafi
Music : O. P. Nayyar, S.D. Burman, Hemant Kumar
Lyrics : Sahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Azmi
Editor : Y.G. Chawhan
Art Director : Biren Naag

Time magazine rated Pyaasa as one of the best 100 films.In the 2002 Sight and Sound critics and directors poll , Dutt was ranked 73 in the all time list of great directors while ‘Pyaasa’ and ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ were among the 160 all time greatest films.
While these films are now considered cult films by viewers, critics and students of cinema alike, I present a review of these films here at Eternal Cinema.

Kaagaz Ke Phool Poster

Kaagaz Ke Phool Poster

Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)

Starring – Waheeda Rehman,Guru Dutt,Baby Naaz,Johnny Walker and others.
Director – Guru Dutt
Writer – Abrar Alvi
Music   – S D Burman
Lyrics – Kaifi Azmi
Dialogues –Abrar Alvi
Cinematography – V K Murthy

‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ is the story of Suresh Sinha (Dutt) who is a successful film director but is having a rocky married life. His wife lives with her parents and Sinha is not even allowed to meet his daughter Pammi (Baby Naaz).
One rainy night Sinha meets Shanti (Waheeda Rehman)and gives her his coat. Shortly after Shanti comes to Bombay to work at a medical store and decides to return the coat to the film director by visiting the film studio. In the studio, Shanti accidentally comes in front of the camera and after watching Shanti in the rush print , Sinha decides to cast her as Paro in his upcoming film Devdas. Shanti soon becomes a successful actress and also comes close to Suresh. However media gossip and speculation forces Pammi to meet Shanti and request her to leave his father so that she can make one last effort to reunite her parents.
Shanti leaves Suresh as well as the film world and becomes a teacher is a remote village. Suresh on the other hand also loses a court case with his in-laws forcing Pammi to live with her mother. Unable to cope with this dual loss, Suresh finds respite in alcohol but at the cost of his career and fortunes.

Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman in Kaagaz Ke Phool

Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman in Kaagaz Ke Phool

When Shanti is forced to return to films to honour an agreement with the film company, the producer agrees to give Suresh Sinha one more chance as director because of Shanti. However Shanti is unable to convince Suresh to return to direction; Suresh has gone too far ahead to return. He dies in the director’s chair in an empty film studio, a broken and forgotten man.
The last scene aptly sums up the movie; the shooting crew return to the studio after lunch and find Suresh Sinha lying dead in the director’s chair; however the director orders the body to be removed quickly for the shooting to resume since it is the last date available with the heroine!

‘Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari’ – Mohammad Rafi
‘Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam’ – Geeta Dutt
‘San San Woh Chali Haawa’ – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle
‘Hum Tum Jise Kehta Hain’ – Mohammad Rafi
‘Ek Do Teen Chaar aur Paanch’ – Geeta Dutt
‘Ulte Seedhe Dao lagaye’ – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle

Rafi’s ‘Dekhi Zamane ki Yaari’ is still remembered as one very well written and composed song from Kaagaz Ke Phool , however it’s Geeta Dutt’s haunting melody ‘Waqt ne Kiya’ which has made a name in hindi film music; Its possibly one of the best song of her singing career.’Hum Tum Jise Kehta Hain Shaadi’ inspired by “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will be Will Be)” was the trademark Johnny Walker song that was part of Guru Dutt films.

The film is considered to be Guru Dutt’s homage to Gyan Mukherjee ; his mentor at Bombay talkies. Mukherjee was known for his hit films like Jhoola (1941) and Kismet (1943); however he faced failure in the fifties. He died rather early, in 1956 at an age of 47.
V K Murthy and M R Acharekar won the best Cinematography and Art Direction film fare awards respectively at the 7th Filmfare awards – 1959.

‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ was a box office disaster of its time however it is now considered a cult film.It is almost impossible to imagine a remake of ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ even after 55 years of its release.

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