The World of Guru Dutt
Hailed as “the Orson Welles of Indian cinema” for his striking visual style and ability to weave deeply personal themes into mainstream entertainment, director-producer-actor Guru Dutt left behind some of the most revered works of his country’s national cinema in a short but immensely influential career. As an actor he brought a brooding melancholy to popular Hindi film, often playing a soulful outsider wounded by a callous world. Behind the camera, he was a dramatist and visual stylist of rare sophistication, drawing on his background as a choreographer to unleash tidal waves of emotion in his musical sequences and harnessing light and shadow to achieve stunning compositions with his virtuoso cinematographer V. K. Murthy. Though he died tragically young at age thirty-nine, his films—including the powerful portrait of artistic struggle PYAASA and the fascinatingly self-reflexive PAPER FLOWERS (the commercial failure of which effectively ended Dutt’s directorial career even as it has since been reclaimed as a classic)—live on as masterpieces of poetic expression.
Mira Nair on Guru Dutt
This interview with filmmaker Mira Nair was recorded in 2022.
Directed by Guru Dutt • 1953 • India
Starring Geeta Bali, Guru Dutt, K. N. Singh
Acclaimed filmmaker Guru Dutt makes his debut as a leading man in this vivid swashbuckling adventure. He stars as Ravi, a sixteenth-century Indian prince whose status has been greatly reduced due to t...
(“Heads or Tails”)
Directed by Guru Dutt • 1954 • India
Starring Guru Dutt, Shyama, Jagdish Sethi
Guru Dutt blends noir and comedy with delectable results in this tale of Kalu (Dutt), a poor taxi driver in Bombay who finds himself mixed up with two women and organized crime as he attempts to mak...
Mr. & Mrs. ’55
Directed by Guru Dutt • 1955 • India
Starring Guru Dutt, Madhubala, Lalita Pawar
(“The Thirsty One”)
Directed by Guru Dutt • 1957 • India
Starring Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, Mala Sinha
Often cited as the crowning achievement of director Guru Dutt’s career—and as one of the greatest Indian films of all time—PYAASA stars Dutt as the talented but destitute poet Vijay, who exper...
(KAAGAZ KE PHOOL)
Directed by Guru Dutt • 1959 • India
Starring Waheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt, Kumari Naaz
Prefiguring Fellini’s 8 1/2, Guru Dutt’s deeply personal, poetic drama draws on his own experiences within the film industry to express an artist’s increasing disillusionment with the world. Pl...
Chaudhvin ka chand
Directed by M. Sadiq • 1960 • India
Starring Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, Rehman
Produced by Guru Dutt in the hopes of making a commercial comeback following the box office disaster of his now-classic PAPER FLOWERS, this megahit romance traces the love triangle that forms between two...
Sahib bibi aur ghulam
(“Master, Mistress, and Servant”)
Directed by Abrar Alvi • 1962 • India
Starring Guru Dutt, Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman
In nineteenth-century India, a decadent zamindar neglects his wife (Meena Kumari) in favor of alcohol and other women. When a poor young man (Guru Dutt, who also produced and,...
In Search of Guru Dutt
Directed by Nasreen Munni Kabir • 1989 • United Kingdom
Produced for British television’s Channel 4, this three-part documentary examines the influential life and career of Guru Dutt, one of Indian cinema’s most revered auteurs. Through interviews with those who knew and worked with the director...