‘Pyaasa’ Review: Guru Dutt’s Hauntingly Semi-Autobiographical Poem

✯✯✯✯½

NOTE: This is an archived review originally written last year.

Pyaasa (or Thirst in the English language) is perhaps the best-known film of director Guru Dutt, who also plays the lead role and serves as producer. Having already enjoyed a reputation as a classic Bollywood film, it’s not hard to see why the film has managed to make such a name for itself because this is the work that an accomplished artist could pull off, but I’m amazed already thinking about the many responsibilities that Dutt had in putting something of this sort altogether. It’s amazing just to think about that because Pyaasa is a film that feels made with the same sensibilities that reminded me of the films of Satyajit Ray, for even in moments that ring towards being what one would already recognize from Bollywood films such as the occasional musical number, you still find yourself in awe at how much more dimensions they add to the narrative – but there you also have one of the best qualities of a musical coming into play. And if someone with about as many big responsibilities behind and in front of the camera like Dutt can utilize all of this the way he did, then he truly has created a great film.

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