146 Min | Drama – Musical – Romance | February 1957
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Guru Dutt
Starring: Mala Sinha, Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman
Pyaasa Review: Guru Dutt had the theme for “Pyaasaa” running in his mind for four years before he actually got around to making it. He followed the counsel of friends who advised him to make some money before venturing on such an offbeat drama and made such purely commercial, but thoroughly enjoyable, films as “Aar Paar”, “C.I.D” and “Mr and Mrs 55” which were all commercially very successful. “Pyaasa” starts brilliantly – a man lying down, staring at the sky, the flowers – all very happy. A bee starts buzzing over a flower and then, moves down to the grass. The smile on the poet’s face is broken as a man’s boot uncaringly descends on the bee. Thats more or less the theme of Pyaasa. The uncaring attitude of the society where the struggling ones are trampled over mercilessly. Laced through this is the whole romance triangle with one lady dumping her lover for a well-to-do businessman for the sake of money, and a prostitute who loves the poet truly.
Pyaasa is filled with some memorable moments and lots of brilliant shots. My favourite is the sequence where Dutt tries to commit suicide is magnificent – there is no dialogue through that three minute sequence. But I think the scene would have been even more remarkable had there been no background music. V.K.Murthy does an outstanding job with the camera. Compare the Guru Dutt-Murthy combo to the Orson Welles-Greg Tolland combo that created “Citizen Kane”. Murthy was even better in “Kaagaz ke phool” – but thats for later. Pyaasa is an absolute visual treat. S.D.Burman does a fair job with the music but it is really Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetry thats the pride of the songs in this film. Stinging sharp, the words slam the devious ways of the world, the mercenary nature of the society. The climax, though a trifle melodramatic, is brilliantly conceived.
Pyaasa is one of the master piece of Guru Dutt. Its his own life story. In real life he fell in love with Wahida Rehman, but love was unsuccessful. Pyaasa is based on his love story. All in all, this is a film thats worth preserving in your DVD collection. This was Guru Dutt’s best film and that is saying a lot! He is now usually touted as the greatest film director in the commercial world of Hindi films. He demonstrates how a film can be both artistically satisfying as well being throughly entertaining to the masses.