The great Indian filmmaker, actor and producer Vasant Kumar Shivshankar Padukone popularly known as Guru Dutt Ji in the Indian commercial film industry is one of the iconic gems from the golden era of Bollywood. People always praised him for his vision towards the direction of films. Guru Dutt considered as being a man ahead of his times.
Vasant Kumar was born in Mysore on 9th July 1925. His father Shivshankar Rao Padukone, was a headmaster and his mother Vasanthi Padukone was a housewife and a part-time writer. He was the eldest child among his siblings. He had faced many struggles during his childhood. He obtained his early education in Calcutta also he joined the Uday Shankar Indian culture centre, where he got basic training in performing arts under dance guru Uday Shankar. Then after he worked as a telephone operator.
In the year 1944, Guru Dutt Ji entered the industry as a Dance choreographer in the Prabhat studio. There he met Dev Anand when they worked together on movie Hum Ek hai in the year 1946 and then they became very good friends. This friendship helped Guru Dutt Ji to make way into Bollywood. After Prabhat studio in Pune, he went to Mumbai in the year, where he worked with famous film directors such as Amiya Chakrabarty and Gyan Mukherjee.
Dev Anand invited Guru Dutt to direct a movie in his newly formed film company Navketan films. This was the first big break for Dutt Ji as a director. His debut movie was Baazi in the year 1951. The movie was a crime thriller. It was a successful movie that set the parameter for future crime movies. On the Baazi movie set, Dutt ji met playback singer Geeta Roy. They both enjoyed each other’s company and fell in love, after that they got married on 26th May 1953.
In the year 1952 Jaal and in 1952 Baaz were two hit movies released which were directed by Dutt. Afterwards, Dutt Ji also started his acting career and his first successful movie was Aar-Paar in the year 1954. Then came Mr. & Mrs.55 in the year 1955, a beautiful romantic comedy movie based on women’s rights. In the year 1956 Waheeda Rehman made her debut movie with Dutt Ji in the movie C.I.D. that was also a crime thriller.
Now let’s talk about the masterpiece work done by Guru Dutt. Pyaasa in the 1957 and Kaagaz Ke Phool in 1959 are considered as his best-directed movies. Pyassa was the story of a struggling poet who faced many rejections. This movie was box office hit and got a lot of success. Also some people ranked Pyassa as his greatest film ever. On the other hand, Kaagaz Ke Phool released in 1959 did not perform well on the box office, however, in later years film got the audience’s love and also significant praise for its cinematography. Guru Dutt had put his whole heart to make this dream film but was disappointed over the box office failure of the film, after that he never directed any movie in his career.
After the failure of kaagaz ke phool, he never directed any movie but he continued to produce and act in the movie. He was a very successful personality in the industry but his personal life was quite controversial. Dutt Ji and his trainee actress Waheeda Rehman were romantically involved with each other and because of this reason, Geeta Dutt separated from Guru Dutt. Afterwards, Waheeda Rehman also took distance from him due to all these complications in his personal life. He took up the habit of heavy drinking. He was unable to cope up with loneliness and trauma, on the 10th of October 1964 he was found dead in his room and the cause was a high intake of alcohol and slipping pills.
His death was a tremendous loss to the Indian film industry. Guru Dutt will always be known, even after his death as the Guru of Bollywood’s Golden Era.