Pyaasa (1957): Movie Review



Starring Guru Dutt, Mala Sinha, Waheeda Rehman, Rehman and Johnny Walker.

Produced and directed by Guru Dutt, music by S.D. Burman, lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi

Pyaasa is the beautiful lament of Vijay (Guru Dutt), an unemployed young man who after being disowned by his brothers, sets out to carve a niche for himself as a poet in society. However, his hopes are crushed when rejections come his way, one after another. A jilted lover, Vijay is despondent when he comes across Gulab (Waheeda Rehman), who seems to be the only pillar of support in his life. Throughout the movie, Vijay expresses shock and despair at the world so harsh, where people are blinded by avarice. Even his friends and family change colors like a chameleon when it comes to fulfilling their own desires. Overcome by grief, Vijay immerses himself into inebriety. Pyaasa is a well thought out story of an anguished man, seeking love and respect.

Guru Dutt, having made other classics such as Kaagaz Ke Phool, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and Chaudhvin Ka Chand, never fails to impress. His work speaks volumes about his talent not only as an actor but also as a producer and a director.  Mala Sinha and Waheeda Rehman are the charming heroines of the film, one a high society princess and the other a heavyhearted prostitute. Rehman is the hero’s adversary and from his representation of the character, it is clear that the man knew his skills well. Furthermore, Johnny Walker’s antics as a masseur are sure to have the audience giggling.

Another great aspect of this movie is S.D. Burman’s brilliant music along with the thoughtful verses penned down by Sahir Ludhianvi. The tunes of “jaane kya tune kahi” and “sar jo tera chakraye” are extremely hummable. So amazing is the direction of the film that it sustains the viewer’s interest throughout. For instance, it didn’t require Waheeda Rehman to shoot bold scenes in order to portray her role. It was simply her thespian skills that created all the magic.

Time magazine in 2005 justifiably rated Pyaasa as one of the 100 best films of all time! Guru Dutt has undoubtedly left his mark in film industries the world over. With his enigmatic presentation and performance, Pyaasa is one of his most memorable movies that deserves to be seen.

Rating – *****