Pyaasa – A Gurudutt Film


That artists and writers don’t earn enough is social scandal that is centuries old. The film ‘Pyaasa’ takes inspiration from life histories of innumerable artists and writers who have died in penury to illustrate the point.

Produced and directed by Gurudutt, the movie also stars him as the protagonist. Vijay is a struggling poet who is trying to get social acceptance and recognition. His verses are considered useless by his 2 brothers and is sold off as waste. While Vijay’s mother argues the case of her youngest son and urges his elder brothers to take care of him, they are ruthless in their treatment and throw him out of the house.

Vijay rummages the shop of the old man who sells waste paper in search of his precious poems or ‘nagma’. The note books in which he had scribbled his poems have been bought by a prostitute, Gulabo, who sings the songs enchantingly. While sleeping in the park, Vijay listens to her songs and follows her. Gulabo, however, turns him away rudely, when she realises he is not a worthy customer.

She regrets this soon as she finds a few lines of his poetry that fell from his pocket and realizes that Vijay is the poet whose lines she had been singing all the while.

In the meanwhile, Vijay meets his ex-girl friend who is now married to a successful publisher, Mr. Ghosh. Ghosh hires the services of Vijay as a servant. At a party at Ghosh’s house, Vijay renders his poetry with elan and is well received by the public. Dejected at his fate, Vijay wanders aimlessly to the railway tracks where he gives his coat to an old beggar shivering in cold. The beggar is then run over by a train and it is believed that Vijay has been killed.

Mr. Ghosh in the meanwhile discovers the potential of Vijay’s poems from the note books that Gulabo gives him to preserve the memory of the great poet and publishes his works. His poems are a great hit and receive great public acclaim. A recuperating Vijay realises that his poems are a rage and asserts his identity. Influenced by Mr. Ghosh who does not want to share the profits, Vijay’s friends and family refuse to accept who he is.

Vijay then reaches a grand memorial service purportedly organized in his honor.  Vijay is hurt by the hypocrisy of the society and in front of the whole crowd accepts that he is not ‘Vijay’, the poet.

He decides to start a new life with Gulabo, his only true friend and lover.

Hailed as a classic,the film though melodramatic strikes a chord with the audience even today.  Though a few scenes look contrived,the film sends a powerful message across and forces the viewer to introspect upon the deteriorating values in the society.

It’s my body

“It’s my body,” she said angrily. “Its been months now years even, since I allowed my husband to touch me.He barely tolerates me otherwise. Why should night be any different? I hate to be used by anyone.”

“He calls me useless because I refuse to sleep with him. Yes, I refuse to sleep with my husband and it’s my decision. Do I still enjoy sex? Perhaps I do. Not for perfunctoriness of the act, not as a conjugal duty but as an act of love, yes, may be.” As she spoke, lines of worry creased her otherwise beautiful visage.

She’s, 43 and looks half her age. Her perfectly coiffured hair sets off her brown eyes brilliantly, the colored lips and the wide smile makes her a warm inviting person. Yet, she said, “Its a cold life, rather too cold. I am threatened that I will be left back home. Oh, yes, I said do it. I will be delighted to be on my own. That’s exactly what I want.”

Married soon after her graduation, Anu barely had time to make sense of what was happening in her life. At her marriage, she said, “I am not very beautiful, perhaps there cannot be a better guy for me. My parents are insistent and I just agreed to their demand. ”

The birth of her little boy and the joys of nurturing him kept her engaged. It helped that her husband was well-placed monetarily. “Yes, we did have our share of fun.”

After coming to Bangalore, Anu wanted to explore work like other ladies in her apartment. Her friends urged her to find some work and get out of the confines of her home. Anu was keen, her husband did not agree. “What will you do outside? Who will employ you? You are pretty stupid.” He said to her,killing whatever self esteem she had.

When her husband got a transfer to another place and with her only son in college, Anu took her friend’s help to get a job, a decent one, an administrator in an educational institution.

After joining, after earning her first salary, Anu was thrilled to bits.” They absolutely adore me at my work. They have only compliments to shower on me.” Soon Anu was driving herself to work.

The work, the appreciation,the admiring glances of her colleagues worked wonders. Anu was all aglow when her husband came home for a short vacation. And the fight broke out.

“What is it with him?”,Anu cried, “Why can’t he take no for an answer?”

As her disgruntled spouse threatened to divorce her and find a new partner for himself, Anu cried in delight, “I want just that!”

Anu’s spouse has returned to where he is posted.He has assured her that he will get himself transferred back to the city. ” I want to see how long you will enjoy, once I am here”, he added menacingly.

Anu sighed. Until he returns….peace!

Of teachers,today and tomorrow

I was listening intently to a young girl, a teacher, a college lecturer, one who lived to teach. ‘It is my passion’, she said simply. ‘To teach’. And then she recounted her experiences in the classroom. Its not always that I am able to listen without butting in, but here I just sat my ears tuned in,my eyes glued to her expressive face. I could see how she would have been in the classroom, with utterly no pretense about her. There’s no air. She is simple. Down-to-earth, practical, sorted out.

She was more than what I would normally expect from a 25 year old. I laughed heartily, felt her emotions, saw what happened in the classroom. I saw the joy she brings to a class room in her eyes,neatly kohled, now tearing up in laughter.

I see a teenager at home engaging a 8 year old in her classes. Intent, concerned, pain-staking in her efforts to explain, the teacher wins a grudging admiration from the pupil. The student’s constant questions like ‘So what?Then what? But why?’ keep the teacher on her toes.

A student in my BBA session expressed his desire to teach. When I pointed out that teaching is a job for only those who have the passion, he  seemed bent on proving his dedication to the cause. From the next day after this conversation, there was a definite change in his demeanor. He submitted his assignments and politely asked for feedback. The future educator seemed to be preparing for his role.

Not many youngsters openly admit their love for teaching.

Is it because it is not a well-paid job? Or is it the social hypocrisy that entrusts teachers with responsibilities to take care of its most important asset and neglect them altogether?

A lot has to happen to restore the teacher’s faith in his role in the society.

In recent years, it was only APJ Kalam who reiterated the role of the teacher in the making of a good tomorrow thus giving a major boost to the plunging self confidence of the teaching community.

Towards happy hours in teaching, towards a better tomorrow.

Julie & Julia – The Movie

Julie and JuliaJulie and Julia is a classic. A story spanning the lives of two women rescued from the drudgery of life by their love for food.

Julia played by the incomparable Meryl Streep smirking, throwing off her shoulders in gay abandon, sniffing the air and closing her eyes in orgasmic joy even before she takes her first bite is a real treat for the eyes.

It is impossible  to forget Julia’s delightful mannerisms which prompt Paul her husband to say that ‘to watch Julia in the kitchen is to be present at an orchestra’ or something to that effect. Paul is that adorable man who stands firmly by his ladies side even when she literally towers over him.

Scene change to Julie, the young, newly married assistant at the LMDC, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s call centre where all she can do is to listen politely to the grievances and abuses hurled at LMDC by the aggrieved residents. Julie is tormented by the guilt of not being able to complete any task, especially writing the novel in which she invested a lot of time. In order to  restore her self confidence, she decides to cook 524 recipes of Julia Child’s famed ‘Mastering the art of French cooking’ in 365 days, challenging herself to take the task to its fruition. She records her experiences in blog which becomes wildly popular. The complete self-absorption of Julie  in her task causes matrimonial discord but her husband returns to support her after a brief period of alienation.

More than the individual journeys of two self willed and competent women to fulfill their personal goals, the movie is also about the men in their lives who bask in the glory of the success of their loved ones.

True relationships are spaces where individuals grow with the support from each other.

Neither Julia’s nor Julie’s journey to professional success would  have materialized with out the support by their respective spouses.

There are no self scripted stories of success. There is always the prayers and good wishes of some special people in every rags to riches story.

More power to Meryl Streep, you are a true legend!