Guru Dutt (1925-1964) was a famous Indian film director, producer, writer, choreographer and actor. He is known for working in films such as ‘Baazi’ (1951), ‘Mr. & Mrs. 55’ (1955), ‘C.I.D.’ (1956), ‘Pyaasa’ (1957), ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959), and ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ (1962). Guru Dutt passed away at the age of 39 on 10 October 1964 due to an accidental overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills.
Guru Dutt was born Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone on Thursday, 9 July 1925 (age 39 years; at the time of his death) in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), Kingdom of Mysore (now Karnataka), India. After a childhood accident, his name was changed to Gurudatta Padukone, on the advice of a godman. Guru Dutt’s younger brother, Devi Dutt talked about how his brother became Guru Dutt in an interview and said,
When he was about 18-months-old, Vasanth was about to drown in a nearby well, but he was hoisted and saved by my grandmother. Spiritual godman Swami Ramdas, who studied Vasanth’s horoscope, decided to change his name to Gurudutt. In 1950, it was his mentor, director Gyan Mukherjee who made him drop his surname and split up his name.”
His Zodiac sign is cancer. Guru Dutt studied at Hare School, Kolkata, India. The poor financial stability of the family forced him to quit studying after class X at 16. He then studied dance at Uday Shankar’s India Cultural Centre, in Almora (1942-1944).
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Weight (approx.): 75 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Guru Dutt belonged to a Brahmin Hindu family from Karwar, Karnataka.
Parents & Siblings
Guru Dutt’s father, Shivashanker Rao Padukone was a banker and a headmaster. Guru Dutt’s mother, Vasanthi Padukone was the only woman in the family to have completed Matriculation or Class X.
He had 4 brothers, Atma Ram (director), Devi (producer), Vijay, and Shashidhar, who passed away when he was only 7 months old. He also had a sister, Lalita Lajmi, who is a self-taught painter
Wife & Children
Guru Dutt married Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri, who became Geeta Dutt after marriage, in 1953, after meeting on the sets of his film, ‘Baazi’ (1951). She was a famous classical artist and a playback singer. The pain of Guru Dutt’s untimely death and the financial misery that was left behind turned her into a heavy alcoholic. She tried several times to revive her career but couldn’t cope with depression and passed away in 1972 due to liver cirrhosis.
They had 2 sons, Tarun Dutt and Arun Dutt and a daughter Neena Dutt. Tarun and Arun followed in their father’s footsteps and became movie producers and directors. Neena Dutt followed her mother and became a singer.
Guru Dutt was often rumoured to be in a relationship with Waheeda Rehman which caused a lot of trouble in his marriage. Devi Dutt, the younger brother of Guru Dutt discussed it in an interview where he said that their relationship was that of a teacher and a student. He further said,
There must have been something emotional between them. When people work together a bond, a friendship develops. But it was a temporary phase. There was nothing serious. My brother hardly went home. He stayed back at the studio to finish his work. Bhabhi suspected it was because of Waheedaji, which wasn’t right. There were rumours that he wanted to divorce Bhabhi, become a Muslim and marry Waheedaji. None of it was true. Guru Dutt, no matter what, would never have left the kids. He had no guts to do that.”
He was born into a Hindu family
He belonged to a Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin family
In 1944, Guru Dutt started working at a Lever Brothers factory during his late teen years as a telephone operator in Calcutta (now Kolkata). He soon quit the job and ventured into the world of cinema when his uncle got him a 3-year contract in Pune’s Prabhat Film Company as a choreographer.
In 1994, after quitting his job as a telephone operator, Guru Dutt started working at Prabhat Film Company as a choreographer. In 1944, he played a small role in the movie ‘Chand’ as Sri Krishna.
In 1945, he assisted in the movie ‘Lakhrani’ and played the role of Lachman. In 1946, he was a Choreographer and an Assistant Director for ‘Hum Ek Hain’, produced under ‘Prabhat Film Company’ and starred Dev Anand. In 1951, he wrote and directed ‘Baazi’, the first crime noir film in India that starred Dev Anand as the lead.
In 1952, he directed another crime noir ‘Jaal’, which became 3rd highest-grossing film of the year. In 1953, he wrote, directed and starred in ‘Baaz’ as Prince Ravi. In 1954, he directed, produced, and starred in ‘Aar Paar’ as Kaalu, a noir comedy written by Abrar Alvi, a prominent member of the ‘Guru Dutt team’.
In 1955, Guru Dutt produced, directed and starred in the romantic comedy ‘Mr. & Mrs. ’55’ as Preetam. Its witty writing and thought-provoking realistic dialogues were very appreciated by the critics at the time. In 1956, he produced C.I.D. a super hit film that launched the career of Waheeda Rehman in Hindi cinema.
In 1957, he directed, produced and starred in ‘Pyaasa’ as Vijay. It is considered to be one of the most successful films of Indian cinema that continues to inspire filmmakers even today.
In 1958, he starred in a mystery thriller ’12’O Clock’, as Ajay Kumar.
In 1959, he produced, directed and starred in ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ as Suresh Sinha. Although the film was not successful with the audience at the time of its release, it has slowly gained admiration from people all over the world and is considered to be the best musical film of 1959 by the British Film Institute.
In 1960, he produced and starred in the box-office hit ‘Chaudvin Ka Chaand’ as Aslam. In the same year, he made a cameo in ‘Kala Bazar’ as himself. In 1962, he produced and starred in ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ as Atulya “Bhoothnath” Chakraborty. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
In 1963, he starred in ‘Bharosa’ as Bansi. In the same year, he also starred in ‘Bahurani’ as Raghu. In 1964, he starred in ‘Sanjh Aur Savera’ as Dr. Shankar Chaudhry. In 1966, he produced ‘Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi’ posthumously. He was supposed to star in the film but due to his unfortunate death in 1964, he was replaced by Dharmendra as the lead.
Allegedly had an affair with Waheeda Rehman which ruined his personal life
Waheeda Rehman was part of the ‘Guru Dutt Team’, which consisted of members who frequently worked with Guru Dutt. The frequent contribution of Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt and their excellent chemistry on screen gave birth to rumours that they were in a relationship. The rumour caused a big strain on the personal lives of Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt which resulted in their temporary separation. Yasser Usman, an award-winning journalist who wrote ‘Guru Dutt: An Unfinished Story’, talked about this issue in an interview and said,
I call Geeta Dutt the trump card of Guru Dutt’s cinema. Without her contribution, the films would not have been what they became. She was the star when they got married while he was a struggling filmmaker. This equation changed. Also, Guru Dutt did not want her to continue singing outside his film company. It was a major flashpoint, and harmed their relationship a lot. Then, [because of] his association with Waheeda Rehman, there were constant fights with Geeta. But when Guru Dutt came out of coma after his second suicide attempt, all he asked for was Geeta. She remained the love of his life.”
There is a long-standing controversy that Guru Dutt directed Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962), and not Abrar Alvi. Guru Dutt’s brother, Devi Dutt who often worked with him talked about who directed the movie in an interview and said,