Pyaasa प्यासा (The Thirsty One)
Vijay is an unpublished poet, dismissed by his family and betrayed in love. He befriends Gulabo, a prostitute and she becomes his sole pillar of support. He sets out to carve a niche for himself in society but his recognition as a poet is continually thwarted. After a case of mistaken identity leads to ‘new-found’ fame, Vijay witnesses the hypocritical reality where living artists are scorned and profits are made from lies.
About the director
Guru Dutt was born in 1925, and received his early education in Calcutta. He worked as a telephone operator before starting work in the film industry in 1944, as a choreographer with Prabhat Studios. He moved to Mumbai and directed his first film, Baazi, in 1951.
He had a successful career and Pyaasa was his opus. It did well at the box office and was well received by critics. However, after the commercial failure of his next film, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Dutt stopped directing although he continued to work in the industry as an actor and producer.
In 1964, Dutt was found dead in his home, with the cause identified as a combination of alcohol and sleeping pills, though it is unknown if his death was filed as a suicide or accident.
In a darkly ironic parallel to Pyaasa’s storyline, many of Dutt’s films were hailed as classics only after his death. He is now considered to be one of the greatest Indian directors of all time.
Film and Restoration
Pyaasa represents a high point in Indian cinema and helped established the 1950s as Hindi cinema’s golden age. One of the most soulfully romantic amongst Guru Dutt’s works, his seventh film was a popular success in its time and remains much loved today for its enduring poetry and music.
The 2K restoration of Pyaasa was conducted in 2015 by Ultra Media & Entertainment in Mumbai. It was the company’s first restoration of this magnitude and required four months of work to remove scratches, flickering, green patches, warps, and dust from over 200,000 frames.
Pyaasa was one of eight films named by the Film Heritage Foundation as classics of 1950s Indian cinema. It was screened as part of an Indian retrospective at the 28th Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna, Italy.
Time magazine rated it as the top 100 best films of all time in 2005, and the top 10 romantic movies of all time in 2011.
Source: Uday Bhatia (livemint.com)