Legendary film director Guru Dutt's life has been documented several times, and with reason. The filmmaker, whose untimely death robbed Hindi cinema of many more classics, inspired many writers to profile him.
Sathya Saran, editor of DNA's Me supplement, has authored a book on the filmmaker, with a difference.
Ten Years With Guru Dutt -- Abrar Alvi's Journey follows the director through the eyes of his close friend Abrar Alvi, who directed the all-time classic Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam.
We present an excerpt from the book:
Abrar is categorical that Geeta [Dutt] was in some ways to blame for the growing closeness between Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman. Her immature behaviour and suspicious nature made Guru Dutt seek solace in Waheeda. He narrates two incidents which throw light on this aspect of Geeta's mental make-up. The first took place at the time the writer and the director were preparing to go to London before the shooting of Kagaaz Ke Phool. Guru Dutt was embarking on his search for a lens that could shoot in cinemascope and convert to 35mm, and he had wanted Abrar to go along.
Geeta had by then realised that Guru Dutt was close to me, and that I had an influence on him. That is probably why one morning she came over to my house. My wife came to tell me, 'Geeta has come.' I thought it was Geeta Bali, but she said, 'No, it is Mrs Dutt.'
I met her, and she put on what I now believe was a great act, even shedding a few tears. I think, seeing that the mother of my children was also present, she thought she could enlist her help, woman to woman, to work on me, to influence her husband.
'Please understand me,' she said, 'I am at my wits' end, helpless. You are travelling with him, please try to reason with him, he is crazy about Waheeda.'
I told her, 'I know Waheeda very well by now. There is nothing between them. Please understand that if he does anything that breaks the sanctity of married life, there are at least two people in his unit, Niranjan and me, who will not work with him after that. He has become a father, and we will not brook any irresponsibility on his part towards his children.'
She listened quietly and left. But before she went, she dried her eyes, and said in a very calm voice, 'Don't tell him I was here.'
I believe she came only to verify her suspicions. And though I gave Guru Dutt a clean chit, it did little to ally Geeta's doubts. She was influenced a lot by Smriti Biswas, who also taught her ways to test whether her suspicions were valid and, if possible, catch her husband red-handed.
Excerpted from Ten Years With Guru Dutt -- Abrar Alvi's Journey by Sathya Saran, published by Penguin Books India, with the publisher's permission, Rs 499. Buy the book right here!
In the picture: Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman