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Guru Dutt India's Orsen Welles, says Brit Film journal

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 23: It is not always that a renowned international film journal waxes eloquent on Bollywood films and its filmmakers.

In one such instance, the renowned British film journal ''Sight and Sound'' has described the 60s filmmaker Guru Dutt, famous for his ''cinematic gems'' like 'Mr and Mrs 55', 'Kagaz Ke Phool' and 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam', as one of the finest Directors of the world comparable to the legendary filmmaker Orson Welles, who made the classic 'Citizen Kane'.

''He was an actor director who brought stillness, self criticism and unexpected pessimism to the whirl of Indian melodrama, making himself its Orson Welles,'' the magazine says in its feature on Guru Dutt in its latest issue.

''He could smile like (Amitabh) Bachchan and romance like (Shah Rukh) Khan but his career was more complex than either combining, in Western terms, those of John Garfield and Orson Welles,'' the article said in its description of Guru Dutt.

The magazine specially took note of his performance in his 'Mr and Mrs 55', where he co-starred with the ''ethereal beauty'' Madhubala, as well as his portrayals in 'Kagaz Ke Phool' and 'Sihab Bibi Aur Ghulam', comparing him with that of Orson Welles, John Garfield and Marlene Dietrich.

Referring to Guru Dutt's performance in 'Mr and Mrs 55', the magazine said,''his face is so still, his performance so understated that he seems to stop the whirl of action. In Western cinema actors like James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich pulled similar tricks.'' Drawing comparisons between Guru Dutt and John Garfield, the journal said, ''In Mr and Mrs 55, Dutt, like John Garfield, brings an instant hit of realism to the movie which continues to swish along in the 'women only' sections but otherwise can't resist his slow gravitational pull.'' Like John Garfield, Dutt was a determined troubled movie star in a complex Indian manner. He created his own screen persons and those of others. He was instinctively downbeat in a film world otherwise inclined and his characters were variously autobiographical. Dutt was one of the great, brooding figures in the post-independence Indian cinema.

Describing his 'Kagaz Ke Phool' and 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam' as among the best in World cinema, along side 'The Barefoot Contessa' and 'The Bad and the Beautiful', the magazine said, ''while Western critics admire 'The Barefoot Contessa' and 'The Bad and the Beautiful', they seldom mention 'Kagaz ke Phool'.'' ''Likewise, when they discuss lighting in cinema, they fail to acknowledge the visual brilliance of 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. The Welles in Dutt deserves far more recognition.'' The West's recognition of the brilliance of Guru Dutt comes even as the mainstream Bollywood cinema is earning accolades for itself at several International film festivals. Recently, Vidhu Vinod Chopra received tremendous applause at the Berlin Film festival for his 'Parineeta'.


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