Thursday, January 17, 2019




Reading this wonderful book written for every film goer who has been enchanted by the magic of Guru Dutt's films.

 Guru Dutt , a visionary and a mercurial director succeeded in making a personal statement with his cinema . He had three creative giants to support him in his ventures; I mean music director  S D Burman, Cinematographer VK Murthy and his script writer Abrar Alvi .

This book is a great attempt to tell hitherto unknown aspects of  the genius known as Guru Dutt and his team .Every chapter of this book is named after some song from some Guru Dutt film. So you have chapters like Bichhde Sabhi baari baari, Baat kuchh ban hi gayi,Aaj mujhe neend nahin Aayegi, kaahe ka jhgdaa baalam nayi nayi preet re, janam safal ho jaaye , Bade dhoke hain iss Raah mein, waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam and many more.

Enjoying each chapter of this paperback edition of Penguin's creation  priced at Rs299/-.





Excerpts from book " Ten years with Guru Dutt Abrar Alvi's Journey"

Johnny Walker....

" In an  industry known for its professional jealousness and  bickering , johny walker was one person who had no enemies .No one who wanted him to fall.  Johny's biggest rival could have been Mehmood,But Mehmood kept in touch with johny walker right upto the end and often wrote to me about his Johny Bhai. In fact , it was johny walker who introduced Mehmood to films via CID and Guru Dutt films. Johny Walker's humility and simplicity is evident  in many anecdotes that i can narrate.  Let me say one...
One day ,Johny was shooting for Guru Dutt film and heard a voice calling out "Badr ud Din, Badr ud Din" .He turned to see a burly man gesturing to him. It was the driver of the bus johny used to be conductor of. Johny was genuinely happy to see him and without any starry airs, embraced him and made him feel welcome .In fact ,it is this " Man from the soil " aspect of his character which came across in his performances and appealed to his fans."



From book " Ten years with Guru Dutt Abrar Alvi's Journey"

"  Guru Dutt always wanted to use sahir's poem Chakle  that had been composed much before Pyaasa was conceived. I  had first met sahir in 1951'at the meeting of poets and writers association. He had a big nose which caught my attention. We went to become good friends. Sahir drove a fiat car those days and smoked a lot though he was trying to kick the habit. He would break a cigarette neatly in half ,so neatly that it looked as if it had been cut with a knife.
Sahir had rather strong views about the importance of the lyricist vis a vis the music director , views that rubbed many people the wrong way.such conditions and convictions got him on the wrong side of many music directors of his time. One day, while we ,the Pyasa team were together , he got a bit high and aired his views on music directors being lesser mortals to writers like him. S D Burman , who was present ,got very riled up about his statement . Dada pronounced there and then that he will never  work  with sahir ,not for the rest of his life.

It was a crisis indeed. Pyaasa was under way and last song was yet to be written. Guru Dutt and me worked hard at mollifying Dada , and he softened to a degree. He agreed to set music to sahir's words but disagreed to sit with him to create the number.
Sahir was a straightforward person ;he was incapable of flattery , but he managed to surround himself with flatterers . "




Excerpts from book " Ten years with Guru Dutt Abrar Alvi's Journey"


" In 1962,  Dada (S D Burman ) announced that he was planning  a tour of Europe with his wife. Everything connected with the travel was fixed to the last detail with his travel agent. "Get all the work you need done. I won't be around for two months '" , he announced. Guru Dutt decided to have some fun and sought my help.

I started by saying" Chinese war is on , people are condemning Chinese . Please don't mind , i am saying this because i am concerned , you look more Chinese than Indian and people might end up treating  you badly because they hate what the Chinese are doing to an innocent country , and Bhabhi won't be able to help you much  either."

The joke backfired. Dada began to seriously reconsider the trip. Guru Dutt asked me "Abrar what have you done to Dada  ?"  We had to set about reassuring him and telling him that we had only been pulling his leg. Dada was gullible , trusting and childlike, such endearing traits . He was a loveable person , totally devoid of all pretences."




From the book "Ten years with Guru Dutt Abrar Alvi's Journey"..

" Handling sapru was quite another matter though. He was a seasoned actor,and had fixed views on his method if delivering  dialogues. Sapru believed that expression was controlled by breath , a laudable and worthy Idea, except for the fact that he had a rather pronounced belly that would bounce around with his deep breaths.

I was worried that his dialogue style would diminish his presence on screen. I had to find a way of ensuring that character of sapru remained a larger than life one. After all, sapru played the master of the Haveli , the elder brother who ruled over zamindari ,the Haveli and was the keeper of its "Morality" , despite his own wanton ways.

I did away with a lot of sapru 's dialogues. I trimmed his scenes and ensured that his lackeys spoke on his behalf. Needless to say, sapru was distraught ,But i reassured him. I told him that by speaking little and looking imposing and regal, he would come across as a sinister personality whose very appearance on screen would inform the audience that there was trouble ahead.
When i wanted him to order murder of Chhoti Bahu, i had the lackeys ,hefty men who looked like executioners,come up to him and say
"Hathiyaaron ko zung lag gayi hai ,Sarkaar" , And had him take off his ring and hand it to them. The effect of that scene is chilling and marks his personality in no uncertain manner.
I told sapru " Sapru sahib, you will score , your character will remain memorable , i am approaching it differently ." And to my credit, it worked wonderfully well."

(Avtar Mota)

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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