Book on Guru Dutt dwells on his classics

 Legendary Hindi filmmaker from Karnataka, Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone or Guru Dutt, as he was better known, is still relevant today, said Arun Khopkar, author of the book ‘Guru Dutt: A Tragedy with Three Acts’.

Originally written in Marathi, the book was translated into Kannada by Virupaksha Kulakarni and Uma Kulakarni and published by the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy. It was released at the Bengaluru International Film Festival on Monday.

“When cinemascope was introduced, other filmmakers used it to give the impression of grandeur by projecting the movies on large screens. But Guru Dutt used it to show loneliness of his characters. It was a unique technique and was later picked up by other filmmakers,” Khopkar said.

“Today, when filmmaking technology has advanced so much, are we using it to create better cinema?” he asked.

The book, published as ‘Guru Dutt-Teen Anki Shokantika’ in Marathi, discusses mainly three movies by him – Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. “In these movies, he reveals the darker side of himself. The characters are all rebelling against oppressive conditions and there is a romantic pessimism about them,” Khopkar said, adding that his other movies show the `‘brighter side of the moon as they were lighter, with ready wit’’.

Speaking at the release, Kannada director Girish Kasaravalli said: “I had never taken Guru Dutt seriously before as I thought his movies were too sentimental. But after reading the book, I now see him and his melodramas in new light.” Kasaravalli appreciated Khopkar’s discussion on the songs in Dutt’s movies. “The songs were never inserted into the movie. They were built into it seamlessly and were part of the narrative,” he said.

The translator of the book, Virupaksha Kulakarni said that he had met Khopkar in 2015 and discussed translating it into Kannada. “There were many challenges because we were not familiar with the terminology of filmmaking,” he said.

Chairman of the academy, S V Rajendra Singh Babu expressed his desire to have many more books on films translated into Kannada.

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