Launch Of Sathya Saran's book Ten Years with Guru Dutt – Abrar Alvi's Journey was replete with flashbacks of an era gone by

It was a trip down memory lane as author Sathya Saran came up with a novel idea to promote her book Ten Years with Guru Dutt – Abrar Alvi's Journey with a multimedia presentation of its content on Friday evening to packed hall at Hotel Radisson Blu, Egmore.

Using actors for recollections of Abrar Alvi (a noted film writer and a close associate of Guru Dutt), models standing in for Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rahman and Meena Kumari, the presentation by Chennai Diamonds served as time travel to the 1950s and 1960s of Indian cinema. Intercut with clips from Guru Dutt films, the show featured choreography of some of the most popular songs and scenes from the master's films as actors did the lip-sync, sporting Sabyasachi's creations that captured the essence of that era. “Na Jao Saiyan” and “Chaudhvin Ka Chaand” had the audience spell-bound and hit by nostalgia.

Sathya Saran's show featured Abrar Alvi's recollections of Guru Dutt's first meeting with Waheeda Rahman when he had gone down to Hyderabad to watch and consider remaking “Missiamma” in Hindi. It was by pure accident that he met her briefly, thanks to the distributor who had invited them there. Apparently, Guru Dutt did not like “Missiamma” and they went back largely unimpressed with the brief meeting with Waheeda and little they did know that they had just met their biggest star.

Alvi's recollections included Guru Dutt's role as a producer in his film “Saheb Biwi aur Ghulam” and directing Meena Kumari. Sathya Saran's book is full of anecdotes about the relationship Abrar Alvi shared with Guru Dutt over a decade and his insight into Dutt's personal crisis.

The session ended with Alvi recounting his last evening with Guru Dutt, the filmmaker's frame of mind and depression, and an enactment of how he found him the next morning. Alvi claimed that it was suicide. And that Guru Dutt had taken the sleeping pills after a long night of drinking.

Unlike regular book readings where the audience lose interest halfway listening to people reading out long paragraphs of text, the casual narration here kept the audience thoroughly hooked and convinced many to pick up copies of the book and get them signed by the author.

The conversations continued late into the evening over cocktails and dinner as some took home the box set of Guru Dutt films sold with the book at the venue.


Sudhish KamathMay 11, 2012