Mala Sinha, Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman
An immortal classic, Guru Dutt’s soulful, romantic masterpiece Pyaasa is frequently listed as one of the greatest films of all time.
Made in 1957, the same year as Mehboob Khan’s Mother India, it was part of Hindi cinema’s golden age.
Translating as ‘The Thirsty One’, Pyaasa, set in post-independence Kolkata (then Calcutta), tells of a young poet’s ambition. Vijay (Dutt) is unemployed and striving to become a published poet, but his efforts are initially only appreciated by his loyal mother, his girlfriend (Mala Sinha), his comic pal, masseuse Abdul (Johnny Walker) and a young prostitute he befriends, Gulab (played by then rising star Waheeda Rehman). But after he is mistakenly believed killed in an accident and his reputation instantly soars, he sees that success may hang only on a twist of fate.
Beautifully restored on DCP in 2015, Dutt’s stark black and white cinematography powerfully evokes the antagonistic forces at work in this classic romantic melodrama.