Happy birthday, Guru Dutt!

It’s the Hindi film director-producer-actor’s 87th birth anniversary today

Guru Dutt – the man who made some of finest Hindi films of all time like Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and Chaudhvin Ka Chand – was born on July 9 in 1925. He may now seem like a name lost in the past, but his timeless movies make him a legend, a source of inspiration even today. Internationally, Dutt is mentioned in the same breath as Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.

When Hindi film directors were content making socially driven movies back in the 1950s, Dutt came up with tragic stories that magically merged artistic and commercial sensibilities and became box office successes.

However, the fine filmmaker didn’t start out with a career in movies. Dutt’s first job was as a telephone operator in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Soon he quit the boring routine and, with his uncle’s help, found a position in the then flourishing production house Prabhat Film Company. He began as a choreographer, assistant director and actor, but rose to fame with his first directorial project: Baazi. Dev Anand, his dear friend, fulfilled the promise of producing Dutt’s first film under his banner Navketan.

Everything changed for the actor-director-producer after the release of Baazi. Dutt made films like Aar Paar, Mr and Mrs 55, CID, Sailaab, Pyaasa and Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam that brought him a lot of acclaim. And these are the movies that are most strongly etched, along with the image of the man who made them, in memory forever.