Publication Date

2010-01-01

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Motion Pictures (Communication)

Date of Defense

2010-04-13

First Committee Member

Dr. William Rothman - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sumita Chatterjee - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Dr. Christina Lane - Committee Member

Abstract

Guru Dutt was one of the most important filmmakers in India, who worked for a little over a decade starting in 1951. He died prematurely in 1964. In those few years, he made some of Indian cinema?s most memorable films. Song and dance sequences are an integral part of the narrative structure of popular Indian cinema. Guru Dutt, working within that paradigm, devised innovative methods of using song sequences. In his films, the song sequences were not a distraction, but they served the purpose of carrying the narrative forward, expressing the inexpressible, and replacing scenes. He achieved this by his creative use of locations, lyrics, music, camera angles, and placement of the song within the narrative. This study critically analyzes song sequences from five of his films ? Aar Paar (Through and Through, 1954), Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955), Pyaasa (The Thirsty One, 1957), Kaagaz ke Phool (Paper Flowers, 1959) and Saahib Biwi aur Ghulam (Master Mistress and Slave, 1962). Guru Dutt?s style of song direction focused on realistic depiction and the quality of storytelling. He used each feature of the song to his advantage never losing control of the larger narrative. This study also brings to the fore Guru Dutt?s conflicted views as an artist on the issues of tradition and modernity, and the position of women in the emerging nation.

Keywords

Guru Dutt; Pyaasa; Aar Paar; Mr. And Mrs. 55; Kaagaz Ke Phool; Saahib Biwi Aur Ghulam; Indian Cinema; South Asian Cinema; Post-independence; Tradition; Modernity; Bollywood; Song And Dance Sequences

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