Yeh mehlon, yeh takhton, yeh taajon ki duniya
Yeh insaan ke dushman samaajon ki duniya
Yeh daulat key bhookhey rawajon ki duniya
Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai
Starting my appreciation for this Classic and considered to be one of the finest films of the world – Pyaasa by the Legendary Maestro, Guru Dutt.
Yes, this isn’t a review because it’s out of my league to review such a wonderful piece of art. The lines mentioned at the top is the actual conclusion or the learning gained from this movie. These heart-wrenching lines were written by the one and only Sahir Ludhianvi Sahab define the film, the concept, the conclusion and also the real world. Mohammed Rafi Sahab has managed to depict all the pain through the magical voice the character is going through. An unconventional start to this writeup because the film is so different yet so on point.
Pyaasa is the life story of Vijay (Guru Dutt), who has been struggling to get his poetries to be published. Vijay is quite confident about his art and his poetry. He keeps on trying but, no one understands his quality of work and the essence of his poetry. His two elder brothers, played by Mehmood Sahab and Radheshyam keep on taunting him. He gets the support of his mother, Leela (Leela Mishra) but, she feels helpless. Vijay is asked to leave the house by his brothers and from here on his struggle gets tougher.
Vijay comes across a girl named Gulaabo (Waheeda Rehman), who is a sex worker. She orates poetry that is written by Vijay and he follows her to her place. He does ask her to give those writeups to her but she denies as she doesn’t realise, those were written by him. When she gets to know it’s his writing, she feels bad and tries to find him. They come across once again when Vijay is eating his food in a hotel and he doesn’t have money to pay. She pays for him and from here a bond is built up between them.
Vijay is invited to his college reunion by his old college friend and there he recites his Nazm and there he sees his ex-girlfriend, Meena (Mala Sinha) and a simultaneous flashback is carried on in parts. Meena’s husband, Mr. Ghosh (Rehman) asks Vijay to join his firm without being aware of his connection with Meena. As soon as he comes to know about their past, the whole perception of him towards Vijay and Meena changes and from here on, Vijay’s struggle increases and his life in betrayal is portrayed with sheer pain and wrenchingly.
The cinematography by V. K. Murthy needs applause as he captures the perfect mood and expression of each and every scene. He has added flavours to the screenplay and made it look extravagant. There’s a scene where Vijay comes to know about the death of his mother, he gets this news in broad daylight as soon as he hears, he’s seen moving in the darkness. As he was very close to his mother. During the song Tang Aa Chuke Hai the camera moves further from Vijay’s face and he seems a bit distant, Meena at the same time feels that guilt and Ghosh look at Meena suspiciously. In the climax, when he leaves everything and it’s kind of Moksha, the camera is again penned down close to his face. Many such moments add to the agony, pain, anger, the vulnerability of Vijay.
Music is one of the pillars of this magnum opus. Music by legendary S. D. Burman is just a perfect pinch of salt with the flavoured spice. A piece of music that enhances the film and an album that elevates each and every emotion and it still stands tall. The team of Burman Da, Rafi Sahab, Hemant Kumar, Geeta Dutt, Sahir Ludhianvi and Guru Dutt himself, has done magic. A mixture of great lyrics, beautiful music and the vocals dipped in pain.
Pyaasa is not a film, it’s an emotion. A movie that helps you grow, that evolves with time, that stays with you, that develops a lump in your throat, that holds you throughout, that haunts you even after it’s finished, that just enhances you and your emotions. A film to be remembered for ages and generations. There can never be another Pyaasa and no one can be another Guru Dutt.
Trivia: The picturisation of the song Woh Ladki hai kahaan in Dil Chahta Hai is inspired by the song Hum Aapki ankhon mein from Pyaasa. Pyaasa is amongst the top 100 films of all time in a list of Times Magazine.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.