October 31, 2011


Colesmithey.comWriter/director Guru Dutt's masterpiece of Bollywood cinema is notable for its infectious songs and politically charged story about a melancholy poet whose life of abject misery and pseudo posthumous success eventually finds its level in his ostensible escape from India.

The director plays the role of the film’s protagonist Vijay, an unsuccessful but gifted poet whose poems are sung for narrative import throughout the film. Vijay's cruel brothers sell his poems for scrap paper. Still, Vijay manages to getting his work published. An encounter with a beautiful prostitute named Gulabo (Waheeda Rehman) causes the young woman to fall in love with the poet who is the only man to show her respect and kindness.

10 Facts About The Cult Classic 'Pyaasa' That Every Cinema Lover Swears By

Moody Vijay is happy to reunite with his former girlfriend from college, Meena (Mala Sinha), but doesn't approve of her marriage of convenience to the wealthy Mr. Ghosh (Rehman), a book publisher of great influence. Vijay takes a job at Mr. Ghosh's company in the hope that he will finally get his poetry published. Sadly, only old established poets get published in ‘50s-era India.

Guru Dutt and Mala Sinha in Pyaasa (1957) | Vintage bollywood, Old film  posters, Movie photo

Filmed in black and white and featuring a host of caricature archetypes, "Pyaasa" captures a unique sense of intellectual idealism and unfettered romanticism. However naive, its themes of individuality and independence stand as an angry shout against a soul-sucking materialism that runs rampant across all strata of social classes.

Deleted Songs: Rut Phire Par Din Humare - Upperstall.com

Full of iconic imagery, ethereal music, precise staging, and volleys of emotional ideas, “Pyaasa” is a landmark example of Bollywood filmmaking at its best. There’s an epic quality to way Vijay approaches his life. The threat of his death comes as a terrible shock of sad reality. For as much as the film slips into reveries of musical fantasy, it also gravitates toward a kind of kitschy neo-realism.

Pyaasa | Best Movies of All Time | TIME.com

Nowhere else in cinema will you find such divergent styles running side by side so eloquently. An authentic soulfulness betrays the glossy surface approach taken by so many filmmakers for later Indian films. “Pyaasa” marked a high watermark for Guru Dutt, and left the world with a pure tour de force of Bollywood cinema.

5 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos



Throwback Thursday

Podcast Series