Punnu wrote on 11 Aug 2008
Guru Dutt was born named Vasanth Kumar Shivsankar Padukone on July 9, 1925 in Bangalore and was a Hindi film director, producer, and actor. He hailed from a middle class Brahmin Saraswat family from Mangalore. His father, Chitrapur Saraswats, was initially a headmaster, and then a bank employee. His mother Vasanthi, while initially a housewife later taught in a school, gave private tuitions and also wrote short stories and translated Bengali novels into Kannada. She was only 16 when Guru Dutt was born. He had a tough childhood dealing a strained relationship between his parents, hostility from his maternal relatives, and the death of a close relative. He received his early education in Calcutta and hence spoke fluent Bengali. When he moved to Mumbai and Bollywood in the 1940s, he dropped the Shivsankar Padukone part of his name, and was known simply as Guru Dutt. He was a good student, but never went to college, partly because of financial troubles at home. In 1941, he joined the Uday Shankar India Culture Center at Almora, where he received basic training in dance, drama, and music under Uday Shankar the older brother of the better-known Ravi Shankar. Afterward, in 1944, he had a short stint as a telephone operator at Lever Brothers factory in Kolkata. But soon he disengaged himself from the job, and joined his parents in Mumbai in 1944.
Guru Dutt acted in a small role as Sri Krishna in Chand in 1944. In 1945, he acted as well as assisted director Vishram Bedekar in Lakhrani. It was his uncle whofound him a job under a three-year contract with the Prabhat Film Company in Puna in 1944. It was here that he got a break as a choreographer with the film Hum ek Hain (1946). It is here that Guru Dutt met two people who would remain his good friends - actors Rehman and Dev Anand. A friendship blossomed wherein Dev Anand promised him that if ever he produced a film, Guru Dutt would direct and should Guru direct, Dev would play the leading man.
The contract ended in 1947, but his mother got him a job as a freelance assistant with Baburao Pai, the CEO of the Prabhat Film Company and Studio. However, after that, for almost ten months, Guru Dutt was unemployed and stayed with his family at Matunga, Mumbai. During this time, Guru Dutt developed a flair for writing in English, and wrote short stories for The Illustrated Weekly, local weekly English.
From Prabhat Guru Dutt moved on to Famous Studios and then on to Bombay Talkies. His close friend from Prabhat, Dev Anand who had become a star by then and had launched his own banner 'Navketan', invited him to direct a film for him thus keeping his share of the promise. Thus, Guru Dutt's first film, Navketan's Baazi, was released in 1951. In Baazi - Guru Dutt introduced Zohra Sehgal (whom he met at Almora) as the choreographer in the movie, and he also met his future wife, Geeta Dutt during the making of the movie. Baazi was an immediate success. Guru Dutt followed it with Jaal (1952) and Baaz (1953). Neither film did well at the box office. Dutt's next film was Aar Paar in 1954. This was followed by the 1955 hit, Mr. and Mrs. 55, then CID, Sailaab, and in 1957, Pyaasa- the story of a poet, rejected by an uncaring world, who achieves success only after his apparent death. Pyaasa was rated as one of the best 100 films of all time by the Time Magazine. Guru Dutt played the lead role in three of these five films. His 1959 Kaagaz Ke Phool went unexpectedly flop at the box office and Dutt was devastated. He had invested a great deal of love, money, and energy in this film, which was a self-absorbed tale of a famous director (played by Guru Dutt) who falls in love with an actress. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) a box office flop won him the Filmfare Best Director's award. The film stars Waheeda Rehman.
Guru Dutt was found dead in his bed on October 10, 1964, in his rented apartment at Pedder Road in Mumbai. His death may have been suicide, or just an accidental overdose. He had a tragic end at the young age of thirty nine. At the time of his death, Guru Dutt was involved in two other projects, Picnic starring actress, Sadhana and Director K. Asif's epic, Love and God.
In 1963 his movie Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) won Filmfare best movie award.
He discovered, and mentored, Johnny Walker (comedian), V.K. Murthy (cinematography), and Abrar Alvi (writing and directing), among others. He is also credited for introducing Waheeda Rehman to the Hindi cinema. In 1953, Dutt married Geeta Roy, a well-known playback singer. They had been engaged for three years and had to overcome a great deal of family opposition to marry. They had three children, Tarun, Arun, and Nina. Unfortunately, the marriage was unhappy. He smoked heavily, he drank and kept odd hours. Guru Dutt's relationship with actress Waheeda Rehman also worked against their marriage. At the time of his death, he had separated from Geeta and was living alone. Geeta Dutt herself died in 1972 at age 41 after excessive drinking and resulting liver damage. He was joined by two younger brothers, Atmaram and Devidas, and a younger sister, Lalitha. The Indian film director, Kalpana Lajmi, is his sister's daughter.