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|Kaagaz Ke Phool|
|Directed by||Guru Dutt|
|Written by||Abrar Alvi|
|Music by||S. D. Burman|
|Edited by||Y.G. Chawhan|
Kaagaz Ke Phool (Kāgaz kē Phūl, transl. Paper Flowers) is a 1959 Indian Hindi-language romantic–drama film produced and directed by Guru Dutt, who also played the lead role in the film along with Waheeda Rehman. It is the first Indian film in CinemaScope and the last film officially directed by Dutt. It is widely considered to be much ahead of its time and marked a technical revolution in Indian cinematography.
The film was a box office bomb in its time owing to its heavy introspective theme which the masses could not identify with, but was later resurrected as a world cinema cult classic in the 1980s. The film's failure, both critically and commercially, severely impacted Guru Dutt, who never officially directed a film after this, and brought his studios on the verge of ruins. The film's music was composed by S. D. Burman and the lyrics were written by Kaifi Azmi and Shailendra (for one song "Hum Tum Jise Kehta Hain"). Today the film is a part of syllabi in many film schools worldwide. It is considered to be the finest self-reflexive film to have ever been made in India.
The film tells, in flashback, the story of Suresh Sinha (Guru Dutt), a famous film director. His marriage to Veena (Veena) is on the rocks because her wealthy family sees filmmaking as a job lacking in social status. He is also denied access to his daughter Pammi (Baby Naaz), who is sent to a private boarding school in Dehradun.
On a rainy night Sinha meets a woman, Shanti (Waheeda Rehman), and gives her his coat. She comes to the film studio to return the coat, unintentionally disrupting the shooting by walking in front of the camera. While reviewing the rushes, Sinha recognises her potential as a star and casts her as Paro in Devdas. Shanti goes on to become an acclaimed star. Shanti and Suresh, two lonely people, come together. Their liaison is hotly debated in gossip columns and results in Pammi's friends tormenting her in school. Pammi pleads with Shanti to leave Sinha's life and allow her parents' marriage another chance. Moved by Pammi's plea, Shanti throws away her career and becomes a school teacher in a small village. Pammi decides to live with her father, who fights his in-laws in court, but is defeated and is forced to let Pammi go with her mother. Losing his daughter and Shanti's departure drive Suresh to alcohol, a downhill slide in his career and consequent decline in his fortunes. Meanwhile, Shanti is forced to return to films since she has a contract with the studio. Her producer agrees to hire Suresh because of Shanti, but Suresh's self-respect will not let him return and owe his job to Shanti's star status; so she is unable to help him, as he is too far gone for redemption. [As he says in one of his dialogues during this scene - "Sab kuch khone ke baad, sirf ek cheez bachi hai mere paas...Meri Khuddari.."(After losing everything, I've only one thing left with me - My self-respect...)] In the final scene, remembering his glorious past, he dies in the director's chair in an empty film studio, a lonely and forgotten man.
The film is widely considered to be an autobiographical reflection of Guru Dutt's personality, his deepening disillusionment with the film world and on the widely written-about alleged relationship between Dutt and his protégé, Waheeda Rehman. Dutt was married to singer Geeta Roy Chowdhuri (later Geeta Dutt) at the time, and his heavy drinking and the rumours of his passionate romance with Rehman didn't help. Some others believe it to be an homage to Gyan Mukherjee (known for directing Kismet), whom Guru Dutt had joined in 1950.
The commercial and critical failure of Kaagaz Ke Phool was an intense disappointment for Guru Dutt. He had invested a great deal of love, money, and energy in this film. All subsequent films from his studio were, thereafter, officially helmed by other directors since Guru Dutt felt that his name is anathema to box office.
In the writing of Sathya Saran's book “Ten Years with Guru Dutt: Abrar Alvi’s Journey”, Alvi, who wrote the screenplay and dialogues of Kaagaz Ke Phool, told Saran that he believed the masses just couldn't identify with Suresh's trauma over his personal heartbreak and his lack of professional creative freedom, given that he was reasonably well off and he still had a job, while they struggled to put two meals on their table. He believed viewers couldn't feel for what they saw as the self-indulgent angst of a privileged man.
- Guru Dutt as Suresh Sinha
- Waheeda Rehman as Shanti
- Johnny Walker as Rakesh "Rocky" (Veena's brother)
- Veena as Veena (Suresh Sinha's Wife)
- Baby Naaz as Pramila Sinha "Pammi" (Suresh Sinha's Daughter)
- Mahesh Kaul as Rai Bahadur B. P. Verma (Rocky & Veena's Father)
- Pratima Devi as Mrs. Verma (Rocky & Veena's Mother)
- Minoo Mumtaz as Juliet Singh
- Ruby Myers as Sulochna Devi
- Mohan Choti
- Tun Tun as Telephone operator
- S. V. Rau – Ramnord Research Labs
- Filmfare Best Cinematographer Award – V.K. Murthy
- Filmfare Best Art Direction Award – M.R. Acharekar
The music of the movie was composed by S. D. Burman. He had warned him not to make Kaagaz Ke Phool, which resembled his own life. When Guru Dutt insisted on making the film, S. D. Burman said that that would be his last film with Guru Dutt.
The song “Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam” became an evergreen hit and one of the most loved Hindi-film songs of all time. In 2006, it was ranked third in the 20 Best Hindi Film Songs ever poll of 30 leading music composers, singers, and lyricists.
Apart from the song's composition and lyrics, it is also considered one of the Best Photographed Songs of all time. The light-beam effect was produced using two large mirrors and natural sunlight.
|"Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari" - 1||Mohammed Rafi|
|"Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari" - 2||Mohammed Rafi|
|"Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari" - 3||Mohammed Rafi|
|"Hum Tum Jise Kehta Hai"||Mohammed Rafi|
|"San San San Woh Chali Hawa, Ruk Ruk Kaan Mein"||Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle|
|"Ulte Seedhe Dao Lagaye, Hans Hans Phenka Pasa"||Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle|
|"Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam"||Geeta Dutt|
|"Ek Do Teen Chaar Aur Panch"||Geeta Dutt|
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Yash Raj Films released a commemorative DVD of the movie. Included in the special features is a three-part documentary produced by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on the life and works of Guru Dutt. His close associates and some of his family members remember him, his life and work. There is also a tribute to Geeta Dutt by Lata, in which she sings "Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam".
In 2002, Sight & Sound critics and directors' poll, Kaagaz Ke Phool was ranked in Top 160 greatest films of all time. In 2013, it was ranked #62 in the list of all-time greatest films by A Potpourri of Vestiges. It was listed in British Film Institute's Top 20 Indian Films in 2002; NDTV's India's 20 greatest films, citing, ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool, Guru Dutt's most melancholic film ever, takes his deepening disillusionment with the world and its guardians to a new level of despair. The iconic actor-director plays a filmmaker on the skids. He is unable to get his point of view across to the people who matter and life is a constant struggle, both personally and professionally. The masses failed to connect with the film, but Kaagaz Ke Phool has lived longer than many money-spinners of the golden era of Hindi cinema.’; CNN-IBN's 100 Greatest Indian Films of all time in 2013. It was ranked #6 in Outlook Magazine's poll of 25 leading Indian Directors for Hindi Cinema's Best Films in 2003. It was also listed in Time-Out's Top 15 of Best Bollywood Movies in 2015 and numerous other such lists.
In 2019, British Film Institute named Kaagaz Ke Phool as the Greatest Musical of 1959, citing, “if proof were needed that Guru Dutt was no one-hit-wonder, it's right here.” It was ranked first in The Cinemaholic's list of Best Hindi Cult Films that were Flops, citing, “The last film officially directed by the legendary Guru Dutt. Often regarded as one of the greatest film ever made, the failure of Kaagaz Ke Phool severely impacted Guru Dutt.” In an article regarding the film, The University of IOWA, summed up, “Flaws and all, Kagaz Ke Phool deserves to rank—with Fellini's 81/2—among the all-time great films about filmmaking and life.”
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