Guru Dutt is remembered in the history of Indian cinema as the brooding intense romantic who attempted to reflect the changing social situation in India in the fifties. Within his short life, he created some of India’s most socially-conscious movies like Pyaasa (Thirsty, 1957), Kaagaz ke Phool (Paper Flowers, 1960) and Baazi (1951). He also introduced Waheeda Rehman in CID (1956) and propelled her to stardom through his films.
Born in Calcutta in 1925, Guru Dutt worked as a telephone operator before he embarked on his career as an actor and director in 1944. The fifties was the time when India, under Nehru’s brand of state socialism, was embarking on massive industrialization. The conventional wisdom has it that rapid changes introduced by industrialization were undermining ‘traditional values’. What is certain is that industrialization, and the accompanying migration from rural to urban areas, was creating — as it still does in India — anomie, dislocation, and new social norms… read more