Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) : Movie Review

Kaagaz ke Phool

Kaagaz ke PhoolStarring Waheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt, Baby Naaz, Johnny Walker, Mahmood

Screenplay and Dialogues by Abrar Alvi

Produced and directed by Guru Dutt

Yet another Guru Dutt’s hit, Kaagaz Ke Phool is a stunning drama about the highs and lows of filmdom that are faced by a director. The movie starts out as an old man is sitting in a studio, reminiscing about his successful career. This man is Suresh Sinha (Guru Dutt), once an acclaimed film director. He is separated from his wife as his in-laws are strongly against him working in films, deeming his occupation to be vile and unappealing. His wife, Bina (Veena) feels the same and does not want their daughter to be influenced by her father’s profession. Thus the daughter, Pammi is sent to a boarding school and Suresh is left alone. One fine day, a girl named Shanti (Waheeda Rehman), whom Suresh had met earlier, enters his film set, accidentally coming into the frame of the camera. Suresh decides there and then that Shanti would be the perfect choice for the portrayal of Paro in his movie Devdas. Shanti’s career then skyrockets as an actress. As time goes by, Shanti and Suresh start falling for each other, but circumstances involving Pammi get the best of them and the two part ways. Being apart from Shanti and losing his daughter’s custody, Suresh goes into a downward spiral while his career takes a steep nosedive. Devoid of any love or support, he resorts to alcohol. And so begins his stumbling journey, that gradually crumbles into pieces.

Kaagaz ke phool has some really admirable performances starting with Guru Dutt himself, who does complete justice to his character as Suresh Sinha, a lonely man with an astute eye for film direction. Waheeda Rehman is the simple girl Shanti, whose innocence and warmth can be felt by the audience, while Johnny Walker’s good natured humour leaves the viewer chuckling. The mesmerizing music of the film by S.D. Burman is another reason why this movie is definitely worth watching. For instance, “waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam” proved to be an all time hit! Another song that is sure to stick to the viewers’ minds is “dekhi zamane ki yaari” with profound lyrics by Kaifi Azmi. These two tracks especially, give the impression that the actors and singers who performed then, did so with a sincere honesty, dedication and admiration.

Actor William Shatner has said that “a director is a choreographer, both politically and creatively”. This, it seems is true of Guru Dutt, a man of many talents. Without him this project, Kaagaz ke Phool probably wouldn’t have been what it is today. Such was his brilliance!

In conclusion, Kaagaz ke Phool is an intriguing movie, presenting a realistic topic that is easy to connect with, rather than some fairytale saga that often disconnects the audience from reality. A round of applause for Guru Dutt’s classic masterstroke!

Rating – **** and a 1/2