Realm Of Shadows

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Cinema, Letter, Literature, Media, Poetry)

It was in mid-october 1964. T.Prakash Rao was shooting for his film SURAJ in Madras. His Cinematographer V.K.Murthy had set the lightings and everyone was waiting for the hero to come to the set. The delay made Prakash Rao decide to shoot a different scene and so asked V.K.Murthy to change the lighting and V.K.Murthy silently, changed it accordingly along with his assistant Govind Nihalani. In the process of setting the lighting Govind NIhalani asked V.K.Murthy “What did you feel when Guru Dutt passed away” and V.K.Murthy replied saying “I dint cry for him but i cried for myself”.

This reaction of V.K.Murthy Cinematographer and a good friend of Guru Dutt not just reflects the relation ship of the two but also the kind of man Guru Dutt was!

One day while shooting for AAR-PAAR V.K.Murthy was taking a lot of time to set the lights and Guru Dutt losing his patience said “to hell with your photography, come lets take the shot”. After taking the shot as per Guru Dutts decision V.K.Murthy refused to have lunch for he was not allowed to work upto his satisfaction. remembering that moment V.K.Murthy says “I’d have cried at that point”. Guru Dutt realising that V.K.Murthy has not had lunch he  comes to his friend and says “Murthy you know i have lost lakhs in BAAZ, we have to make up for that. We have to work fast” and over the lunch told Murthy “now work fast for me, later in future i will make a film for you where you do whatever you would like to. take as much as time you want to, but now, please co-operate”.

The film Guru Dutt did for V.K.Murthy, living upto his words was KAAGAZ KE PHOOL. After looking at the rushes of two three reels V.K.Murthy warns Guru Dutt for the story line but Guru Dutt sticks to his story line and makes the film.

When the film was relased in Maratha Mandir in Bobmbay during the intervel Murthy was smoking outside the hall and Shammi Kapoor comes out running shouting “picture ka hero kahan hai?” (where is the hero of the cinema) and someone says “Here is Guru Dutt” and Shammi says “Nahi nahi. Murthy Kahan hai? Murthy iss film ka hero hai” (No No. Where is Murthy. He is the hero of the film”

Remebering all these moments Murthy says “This was all possible because i had a director like Guru Dutt because of the support he gave me”.

Guru Dutt was not just an artist but also a person who could spot artists and did encourage them Murthy and Waheeda Rehman being great examples. So its not a wonder when Murthy says “When Guru Dutt passed away a kind of vacuum swallowed me. I felt my art and my creativity had come to an end. I knew i would never find anyone who would appretiate and encourage my art the way he did. I felt that i couldnt work the way i did before. I was too depressed”

Murthy is the same man who composed the crusifyed Guru Dutt in PYAASA which is an image which comes to all our minds the moment we think of Guru Dutt. This image reveals the entire story of Guru Dutt.

Shyam Benegal, remembering of the days he spent with his aunt Vaasanthi (Guru Dutt’s mother) remembers the day when Guru Dutt had arranged for a private screening of KAAGAZ KE PHOOL in his house which was to be follwed by a sitar concert by Vilayat Khan. He says “People started walking out after 3-4 reels”

The film when released in Delhi Dr.S.Radhakrishnan came for the screening but the people in the front row threw chappals at the screen thus rejecting the film which Vaasanthi says “was a reflection of Guru Dutt’s life”

Remembering the film Shyam benegal says “It was a film which was ahead of it times”. True! When the film was re-released in 1970 thw film was a success. It was almost like Vijay of PYAASA hitting to fame after his death through his collection of poetry which once was rejected by all.

“Now retrospectives and film festivals of Guru Dutt is held everywhere. When he was alive he got nothing” says painfully Guru Dutts sister Lalitha Lazmi (mother of Kalpana Lazmi)

“Nobody ever understood him” says his mother and Murthy says “The worth of a thing is understood only after its lost”

Guru Dutt’s marital life with the singer Geeta Dutt was fractured deeply while he was making KAAGAZ KE PHOOL and this made Guru Dutt indulge in drinks beyond measure and also consume sleeping pills to get some sleep and escape from reality. The ups and downs of his professional life was also snatching his peace of mind and was sculting melancholy in his heart and soul.

Life is just a foolish struggle- which never ends in peace” Guru Dutt had written to Geeta Dutt in a letter on 25th June 1952. As though to prove it, on the 10th of October 1964 Guru Dutt ended his life in his fourth suicide attempt. “A bottle of water, a glass of drink and a half-read book was lying next to him” remembers Vaasanthi Padukone. May be while the bird of his life was escaping from the prison of the body he was singing the lines of Sahir which was written for PYAASA:

Gam iss qadar bade ke main ghabarake pee gaya
Iss dil ki bebasi pe taras khaa ke pee gaya
Thukra raha tha mujhko badi der se jahan
Main aaj sab jahan ko thukraa ke pee gaya.

[ Reference- Nanna Maga Guru Dutt by Vaasanthi Paukone and Bisilu Kolu – A bioography of V.K.Murthy by Uma Rao]

10 October 2008

1 Comment

  1. ಗುರುದತ್ – ಒ೦ದು ಮಧುರ ವಿಷಾದ ಗೀತೆ « ಅವಧಿ / avadhi said,

    […] A Crazy Mind’s Eye […]

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