217 Great Directors: Guru Dutt

“It was good in patches. It was too slow and it went over the head of audiences.”

What Got This Director Here?
: His last two films.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A.

What Did I Watch: The two big ones, Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool.

Where Does He Fit: Pyaasa is only the second Bollywood film I have ever seen, but it is a marvel and contains all the positive qualities you would associate with that genre, in part thanks to Guru Dutt’s direction and V.K. Murthy’s beautiful cinematography that deserves a proper transfer. The story is sweeping and epic, not long and dragged out. The songs are fun, although I don’t see myself ever listening to them outside of this context. The big emotions and caricatures all lend texture even if some of the supporting friends outside of the primary romance are way too hammy for me. The power of poetry lends itself wonderfully to the music. Great stuff.

Kaagaz Ke Phool (Paper Flowers), which Dutt is referring to in the above quote, is much harder for me to get a grip on, as the subs I used wouldn’t sync properly with the dialogue and I pretty much just had to appreciate the aesthetics. However, this seemed pretty epic, like A Star is Born with the sets themselves decaying and the tragedy coming from a very different place since it’s ultimately the director falling apart. Maybe this is one of the great movies about movies, but I need a decent quality version as soon as possible, so get on it, Bollywood fans. (Especially since they spend all their time upvoting things on IMDB.)


Most Valuable Asset: Epic scope and sadness.
Most Excited For: Uh…I don’t think he has anything else all that well liked. His third most popular film is hideously anti-feminist, apparently.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Undecided, especially with the poor quality transfers.

Coming Up Next: Italian realist, Ermanno Olmi.


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