Guru Dutt: Songs Formed the Narrative of his Films

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In the second part of the three-part series in Guru Dutt, Samina expands on the theme of the songs as the narratives of the films of the master craftsmen. Here’s an eclectic piece, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.

A master craftsmen as Guru Dutt had his own original style which is appreciated and acknowledged, by other filmmakers and lay public, even today. In India, the current too including leading film makers regards Guru Dutt’s films as models of what cinema does best. One characteristic feature, which makes his craft unique was using music as part of his narratives. The songs were so beautifully woven in the fabric of the film that they added not only to the flow but also conveyed what dialogues could not say.

In Pyaasa, Gulabo’s erotic yearning to be with Vijay is accentuated not only with her expressions and body language but also with the song playing the background

Aaj Sajan Mohe Ang Laga lehi

Janam Safar ho Jaye Hirdaye ki peeda

Deh ki agni

sab sheetal ho jaye

kiye lakh Jatan

more mann ki tapan

more tan ki jalan nahi jaye

Guru Dutt, had his own and originality in picturising the songs. In fact, he never took songs out of the in which it was set and most songs were an of the dialogues. A fine example is a love duet, Sunn Sunn sunn sunn Zalima, set in the stark and unromantic garage with a car providing the centre piece and the two lovers circle around each other within this restricted space in brilliantly simple piece of balletic movement. Guru Dutt was also particular about the vocabulary appropriate to his characters. For instance, In Aar Paar, he makes Kalu and Rustam speak in a language, which makes the characters more believable.

Most of his songs had feelings and visual appeal. The songs featuring in Guru Dutt’s films are integrated in the narrative. In Aar Paar Kalu overhears a sugary dialogue between two lovers and his in love makes him react with the song

Mohabbat Karlo Jee Bharlo

Aji Kisne roka hai

Par Bare Gazab ki baat hai

Ismein bhi dhoka hai

Johnny Walker, who added humour and wit or the classic comic relief, always had a song picturised on him, which conveyed the mood, setting or the situation of the film:

Sarr jo tera Chakraye

Ya Dil Dooba Jaye

Ya dil dooba jaye

Aaja pyaare paas hamare

Kahe Ghabraye(2)

Though this song entertains and is popular for its lyrics and music, a profound message is also that the champi (head massage) would relieve him of the stress of the deceitful and treacherous society.

In CID too the song, Ae Dil hai mushkil Jeena yahan zara hatt ke zara bachke yeh hai Bombay meri jaan sets a prelude of survival in the big city. of love and humour becomes enduring the unforgettable in the duet:

Jaane kahan mera jigar gaya jee

Abhi Abhi yahin tha kidhar gaya jee

Neena in Baazi poetically helps Madan overcome his struggle with his consciousness through the song Taqbeer se bigdi hui takdeer bana le and in CID, Kamini helps Shekhar escape by giving him a message of how to escape in the song

Kahin pe nigahein kahin pe nishana…

Ek jal hain julfo ka tu Chupake se nikal ja

Dreams of a young Bahu bubbling with love and passion in Sahab Biwi aur Ghulam is easily conveyed through the song Piyo Aiso Jiya mein samaye gayo re, which later turns into yearning of unfulfilled love with Na Jao saiyan chura ke baiyan kasam tumhari main ro paroongi.

The song resonating in the background, Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitambh tum rahe na tum hum rahe na hum, in a intense scene between the director, who has just experienced failure and his successful prodigy in Kagaz ke Phool who he loves, is also a narrative of the paradox of a situation which is an important part of the plot and portrays stark reality towards the end Dekhi Zamane ki yaari bichere sabhi baari baari of the film.

And finally, his masterpiece, Pyaasa, begins with a narrative prelude showing the image of a man’s foot crunching the bee. Main doon bhi toh kya doon tumhein ae shauk nazaron leh deh ke mere aason hain kuch aahein. This song sets the keynote of the film, the mood of melancholy and melodrama. The famous lines from a very well-conceived scene, which conveys the crux of the movie

Hare ek jism ghayal har rooh pyaasi

Nigahon mein ulfat

Dilon mein udaasi

Yeh duniya hai ya alaam-e-badh ya hawasi

Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye toh kya hai

These lines convey the pain hurt and disillusionment of the poet who has become a victim of fraudulence.

©Samina Naqvi

Photos and videos from the internet.

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Samina Naqvi

Samina Naqvi

Samina Naqvi, educator, teacher trainer and motivator, uses education as an instrument for change. She believes in adventure, romance and living life to the fullest. Watches and analyses films, understands people's perception. Loves to travel, read, and meet people from different sociocultural backgrounds, integrating communities. She is free spirited and enjoys her freedom to live life on her terms. She also believes that the youth today needs to be guided to create a better tomorrow.
Samina Naqvi
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