On legendary actor, film-maker Guru Dutt’s 96th birth anniversary (09th July) his younger brother, noted Bollywood producer Devi Dutt (of ‘Masoom’ fame) who formed part of the team-crew assisting the cinema maestro, shares startling details with senior film-journalist-author Chaitanya Padukone.
By Chaitanya Padukone
Legendary producer-director-actor Guru Dutt has a phenomenal cult-fan-following for his ,maverick yet impactful shot-taking and innovative song-picturizations in his classic Hindi movies . The (light-shadow contrast) visuals shot marvelously by his regular super-talented cinematographer V K Murthy have been have been a benchmark-reference for Bollywood as also the international film-fraternity. Not many are aware, as to how Guru Dutt actually earned his ‘screen-name’. As is known, the enigmatic music-savvy director-actor was born as Vasanth Kumar Padukone.
On the legendary film-maker’s 96th birth anniversary his younger brother and noted Bollywood producer Devi Dutt (of ‘Masoom’ fame) jogs into memory lane as he unravels the off-screen ‘GD’ mystique. Recalls Devi-jee, “ When he was about 18 months old, he was about to drown in a nearby ‘well’, but he was forcibly hoisted and saved by my grandmother. Spiritual godman Swami Ramdas who studied Vasanth’s horoscope decided to change his name to Gurudutt .
In 1950, it was his ‘mentor’ director Gyan Mukherjee who made him drop his surname and split-up his name as Guru Dutt. This proved ‘lucky’ as he got his break-thru in 1951 as an independent director in Dev Anand`s ‘Baazi’,” informs the 83 year old talented movie-producer who had the privilege of working with his ‘genius’ brother for 11 years. Devi-jee recalls having joined Guru Dutt with the movie ‘Pyaasa’ (1957) as a trainee sound-man and boom-man assisting the senior recordist Majid.
“The shoot was for the evergreen song ‘Jaane Kya Tuney Kahee’ picturised on Waheeda Rehman. After the first stanza (antara) was shot successfully I was appreciated for my handling the sound. During the second stanza I made a slight blunder while cue-ing. But Guru Dutt was quite understanding and supportive, since I was raw and new,” smiles Devi-jee who also reveals Guru Dutt’s unfulfilled dreams.
“Among Guru-ji’s dream-plans was to redevelop and transform his 48 Pali Bungalow into an eight-storey building where all us could stay together as one united family, He was also frantically trying to save our most expensive air-conditioned Stage No.4 in Guru Dutt Studios from demolition by the Municipal Corporation to accommodate the widening of Western Express Highway. He was also planning to return to direction and to produce our first Eastman Color Film ‘Kaneez’ in Cinemascope starring Simi Garewal and Feroz Khan. But none of these dreams got fulfilled due to his sudden accidental death due to an overdose of sleeping pills on Oct 10th 1964.” laments Devi Dutt who has on-screen dedicated his 1983 classic Naseer-Shabana starrer ‘Masoom’ to the memory of “my mentors Geeta Dutt and Guru Dutt” in the rolling credit-titles.
Guru Dutt all-time six musical movie-classics:
Pyaasa, Chaudhvin Ka Chaand, Kagaaz Ke Phool, Saheb Bibi Aur Ghulam, Mr. & Mrs. 55, Aar Paar
(The writer of this interview-article Chaitanya Padukone is an award-winning senior film-journalist-columnist-author of memoirs book R D BurMania )