Memories of actor Guru Dutt immortalised in new documentary


By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, July 9 -- On the occasion of Guru Dutt's birth anniversary, his son Arun Dutt, director/cousin Shyam Benegal, cousins Kalpana Lajmi (director) and Lalita Lajmi (painter) are coming together to release the DVD of a documentary made on the late reclusive actor-director.

Titled In Search of Guru Dutt, this 85-minute documentary by Nasreen Munni Kabir on DVD, produced by Shemaroo and Hyphen films, contains interviews of the actor's colleagues, brother Atma Ram, mother Vasanthi Padukone and others. It also offers an insight into his way of filmmaking, rare photographs of Guru Dutt at work, and scenes and songs from his films. Nasreen says, "The fascination of cine lovers with Guru Dutt will always remain. The idea of this film was to discover something of his personality through testimonials of his colleagues and family." She adds, "Meeting his mother was a moving moment. She was living alone in a two-room Matunga flat where the family had lived right from the mid-forties. She showed me the table and chair where Guru Dutt Kash-ma-kash, which later became Pyaasa (1957)."

The filmmaker's son Arun reveals he was terrified of his father. He says, "His serious demeanour and his long periods of silence made him mysterious to me. I reacted by staying clear of his path. There are some joyful memories too - like his interest in flying kites, fishing at Powai Lake, his love for animals and vacations in Kashmir and Khandwa. We once shared our home with dogs, birds, fish, rabbits, cows, a chimpanzee and a tiger cub."

Arun adds that due to his mother Geeta Bali's breakdown after his father's death, they never spoke about Guru Dutt or his films. He reveals, "After my mother's death, we found letters written to her by my father and family. Through these, I found out more about the deep love between my parents."

Arun, a filmmaker himself, admits he can never make a film on his father. He says, "If anyone wants to make a film, I would help them with information. The subject is too close to my heart to be able to make an objective film on him."