Tuesday, October 10, 2006

guru dutt week...

today marks the 42nd anniversary of the death of one of my favorite film directors, the great indian cinema poet guru dutt; and so it seems a good time to share some of the cover art and songs from dutt's soundtrack LP's i've been collecting over the past few years.

dutt's films are a distinctly personal mix of poetic tragedy (think ingmar bergman) with comedic moments (think early rene clair), and, of course, musical numbers. his films are generally considered pioneering for his unique use of songs. for years, elaborate musical numbers were inserted into bollywood films as musical pauses, having little to do with the story lines. dutt was one of the first directors to make them integral to the narratives of his films; creating musical moments that were completely connected to the trajectory of the story lines.

although he is mainly famous for his directorial work, dutt also starred in many of his own films - a reluctant decision that came out of necessity for 1953's baaz. this led him to essentially become his own leading man (in fact one can't help but feel that the great playback singer mohammed rafi's voice is actually dutt's voice, as rafi's voice and dutt's face are connected in so many of dutt's films). dutt worked often with a small group of character actors who become familiar presences throughout his films... and almost every film has the comic genius of dutt's good friend, johnny walker. because dutt created his films within an existing studio system and structure, his vision is not always present on the surface of his work. his films break new ground quietly beneath the trappings of popular film.

here's a beautiful song from 1954's aar paar, one of dutt's most successful early films which seems heavily inspired by hollywood, and in particular, film noir. it's called ja ja ja ja bewfa and sung by dutt's wife, geeta dutt. it's a much slower version of the song most popular from the film called sun sun sun zalima click here and listen


Blogger ZubZub said...

sheesh - all these are great. and the cover on this one, whoweee!

12:13 AM  

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