10 Facts About The Cult Classic ‘Pyaasa’ That Every Cinema Lover Swears By
If you haven’t watched Pyaasa, do you even cinema? The movie released in 1957 and to this day is one of the most iconic movies India has ever produced. You don’t make movies like that anymore.
Guru Dutt directed and acted in the film. The plot revolves around a poet who is struggling to get his work published. Unexpectedly, he meets a prostitute who falls in love with him. And this changes his life. The movie questioned the concept of an artist’s creation and acceptance with the audience.
The movie was a commercial and a critical success. It was a textbook example of great filmmaking. Rare films enjoy such reverence. Every scene and hook in the script was a placeholder for something better and each supporting character enriched the narrative.
One cannot overlook the importance of songs in the film. It was spectacular – in melody and lyrics and how it moved the narrative forward instead of just embellishing it. There weren’t random item numbers or people dancing around, the music and lyrics were a device. The intention worked!
While we see the finished product and go crazy about it, the behind the scenes facts about the films were intriguing as well.
#1. Pyaasa was initially planned with Nargis and Madhubala in mind for roles played by Mala Sinha and Waheeda Rehman respectively.
#2. Many Bollywood stalwarts consider the film as their favorite. It is one of Aamir Khan’s favorite films.
#3. Tragedy king Dilip Kumar was slated to play the lead role, however, he never showed up for the shoot. Guru Dutt chose to play the lead in his absence and today it is one of his most powerful performances. We cannot imagine anyone else in the role!
#4. It was voted as one of the best 100 films of all time by Time Magazine.
#5. The movie was originally titled Pyaas (Thirst) but was eventually changed to Pyaasa (Thirsty) on Dutt’s insistence, since he felt the later described the story better.
#6. The story revolves around a struggling writer who falls in love with a prostitute with a heart of gold. Dutt wanted to shoot certain scenes in the red light area in Kolkata. However, when the crew was attacked by a group of pimps, he recreated the set based on photos of original locations.
#7. Allegedly the story was inspired by the film’s lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi’s alleged affair with popular Punjabi poet and novelist, Amrita Pritam.
#8.The famous song we grew up thinking was a champi song – Sar jo tera chakraye – was actually based on a tune from British film Harry Black.
#9. Writer Abrar Alvi and director Guru Dutt were at loggerheads about the film’s ending. Finally, the climax that was financially viable was chosen.
#10. The movie was remade into Telugu film Mallepoovu.
Pyaasa is truly a movie every film lover should watch, whether you know the language or not.
If you haven’t watched the movie yet, go watch it. It could change your life.
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