Shabana Azmi remembers the legendary Guru Dutt: ‘He was very shy and I used to find him extremely attractive’

Veteran actor Shabana Azmi is hailed as one of the finest in Hindi cinema. Having grown up witnessing the golden era with her father and noted lyricist of that time – Kaifi Azmi, the actress has known Hindi cinema icons very closely.

Shabana Azmi remembers the legendary Guru Dutt: 'He was very shy and I used to find him extremely attractive'

In an interview with Film Companion’s Anupama Chopra recently, Shabana Azmi spoke about the legendary Guru Dutt, sharing he was a ‘very shy’ person off camera while narrating inside stories about the actor on a special series titled ‘Golden Era of Hindi Cinema’ (1948-1965) presented by Google Arts and Culture. Shabana Azmi also discussed the making of the iconic song ‘Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam’ from Guru Dutt’s film ‘Kagaz Ke Phool.’

Talking about Guru Dutt, Shabana Azmi shared, “He was very shy and would speak very little. I used to find him extremely attractive but I would just sort of in and out of the room.”

She further added, “My father said something really amazing. It’s very strange in those days, and in fact, it has started happening now again, you would imagine when a song is being written, a song as beautiful as ‘Waqt Ne Kia Kya Hasi Sitam’ or ‘Bichhre Sabhi Bari Bari’, you would imagine that the words would have been written first and then after that, it would be set to tune. But it wasn’t like that. First, the tune would be made, and then the words would be written. It would be written to the tune. So my father Kaifi Azmi always said it was like ‘as if you first dig a grave and then find a corpse that can fit into that grave. So sometimes the legs come out. Sometimes the head comes out. But people started giving me work because they felt that I was able to dig. He could fit it. I was able to fit corpses into the right grave.’ So that was the thing.”

Shabana Azmi also talked about Guru Dutt and the making of the Kagaz Ke Phool song ‘Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam’, composed by SD Burman, sung by Geeta Dutt and penned by Kaifi Azmi. She said, “Guru Dutt fell in love with the song and he said that I really want this song. So they said, ‘There is no situation in the film.’ He said, ‘You can make the whole song, and I will create the situation. And that’s how this iconic ‘Waqt Ne Kia Kya Haseen Sitam’ was made. Abba said that Guru Dutt had a very, very keen ear for music. See he didn’t know the language (Urdu) very well. There was something quite magical about what he wanted. It’s very interesting because SD Barman is also not known for his understanding of the Urdu language. Neither is Guru Dutt. But then look at the wonderful thing that came out of that era.”

Meanwhile, on the work front, Shabana Azmi was recently seen in ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’ and ‘Ghoomer’.


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