Guru Dutt now rules in NY fest
Some of the memorable films of Indian filmmaker Guru Dutt, including Kaagaz ke Phool, Pyaasa and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam are being screened at the renowned New York Film festival this year.entertainment Updated: Oct 09, 2009 14:11 IST
The movies to be screened for the first time by the Film Society of Lincoln Center till October 11, include eight films that cover his work as a director, writer, actor and producer.
Speaking ahead of the screenings, the filmmaker's son Arun Dutt gave a rare glimpse into the professional and personal life of his father, noting that though his films were commercial successes, he did not receive acclaim from his peers and the media during his career.
"He was not really recognised during his lifetime," Dutt said, in an interview on the New York Public Radio.
"In the eighties when his films were shown in Europe and people began to talk about them, people back in India started seeing them more and today he is considered a legend in Indian cinema," he added.
The first film aired at the festival was the masterpiece Pyaasa, featuring Dutt himself along with Waheeda Rehman, portraying the isolation of an unpublished poet.
The film is included in the Time magazine's 100 best films of all times along with Kaagaz ke Phool, which was the first film in India to be shot in CinemaScope.
The NYC Film Festival series called, A Heart as Big as the World: The Films of Guru Dutt, will play till October 11.
The festival will also screen a documentary on the life of Dutt, produced by UK Channel 4. Directed by Nasreen Munni Kabir, it puts together interviews of colleagues like Waheeda Rehman and directors like Shyam Benegal and Mani Kaul.
At the screening of Pyaasa at the Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, the junior Dutt stressed that his father was one of the first Indian filmmakers who used cinema as a tool to question the political and social structures in the newly independent India.
"He was the first to recognise that socialism was not really working in the way they dreamt about in the initial stage... He was the first to show in films the love for money, corruption and degradation of basic society," Dutt said.
The line-up includes Baaz (1953), Aar-Paar (1954), Mr & Mrs 55 (1955), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Chaudhvi Ka Chand (1960) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962).
Dutt also spoke about his father's struggle with depression that led the celebrated artist make several suicide attempts before killing himself at the age of 39.
"He was a manic depressive... He used keep things in his heart and could not really express it to people," he said.
The director now has a place in the 'Sight and Sound critics and directors poll' as one of the greatest director's of all time.
He is also remembered for introducing the use of close-up shots with a 100 mm lens, which became known as the "Guru Dutt shot" in the Indian film industry.