Saturday, November 7
Castro Theater, San Francisco
Director: Mohammed Sadiq
Country/Year: India, 1960
Running Time: 168 mins
Language: Urdu with English subtitles
Arun Dutt, son of Guru Dutt, will be attending the screening
In Urdu poetry, the full moon is a metaphor for beauty and Guru Dutt, the consummate poet, takes this metaphor to tragic dimensions in this classic melodrama directed by Mohammed Sadiq for Guru Dutt Films. Adapted from the story Jhalak (A Glimpse) by Saghir Ushmani, the film is built around the tradition of purdah, or veiling, which forbids women to be seen by men outside their immediate family. One such glimpse and Pyare Miyan (Rehman) is enchanted by Jamila (Waheeda Rehman). A series of well-placed misunderstandings and mistaken identities leads to a comedy of errors. However, this comedy quickly turns to tragedy when Pyare Miyan unknowingly convinces his friend Aslam (Guru Dutt) to marry Jamila.
Setting the film amongst the aristocracy of Lucknow, a center of Muslim culture, gave Dutt the chance to produce a richly detailed film. The architecture of the city and the costumes are captured beautifully by Nariman Irani's camera. In this other-worldly setting, Dutt deals with epic themes of sacrifice, friendship (dosti), and love.
The story goes that color stock arrived in India just after the film had been finished in black and white, and Dutt wanted to reshoot the entire film in color. The compromise was two songs, which show Dutt's unmistakable directorial influence. Coupled with Urdu poet Shakeel Badyuni's lyrics and Ravi's heartfelt music, the effect is transcendental.
Chaudhvin ka Chand went on to become Guru Dutt’s biggest box-office hit, and his first to have an international audience at the Moscow Film Festival in 1962.