Did You Know - What Deepika Padukone And Guru Dutt Have In Common?
Do you know what today’s cine queen Deepika Padukone has in common with Guru Dutt the legendary filmmaker of the ‘50s and ‘60s'?
Do you know what today’s cine queen Deepika Padukone has in common with Guru Dutt the legendary filmmaker of the ‘50s and ‘60s? It is the name “Padukone”, though they are not related to each other. Guru Dutt’s name was Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone. Initially, in Bollywood, he was known as Gurudatta Padukone. The name was considered inauspicious after he met with an accident. The name Padukone was dropped as he evolved as a film director, producer, actor, choreographer, and writer and he became Guru Dutt. The shorter, Dutt, became not only his identity but also that of his wife, Geeta, nee Roy Chowdhury, a leading playback singer of her time.
Remember the number “Babuji Dheere Chalna sung by her? All these decades before Deepika became famous as a model and actress, or even her father Prakash Padukone did as a world-renowned badminton player, it was the identity of Guru Dutt, one of India’s greatest filmmakers.
Did you know that Padukone is actually a small village located in the Udupi district of Karnataka? Both Deepika and Guru Dutt, also called Bollywood’s Orson Welles take their name from there.
Guru Dutt’s family had relocated to Calcutta from there and he spent his childhood in Bhowanipur, there was nothing ‘Bengali’ about the surname Dutt.
Dutt died, at barely 39 in 1964, leaving a distraught wife, small children, and several film projects incomplete. His was an incomplete story and that makes it fascinating. Almost six decades after his death, his life, work, and death continue to intrigue. He was an emotional man and is widely believed that he committed suicide. His cinematographer V K Murthy said that Dutt had attempted suicide “at least thrice.” Dutt’s brother Devi Dutt insists that Dutt died of a fatal combination of alcohol and sleeping pills. He drank heavily and had sleep issues.
For all his fame and success, he died an insolvent man. Many of his films had bombed at the box office, leaving huge debts to pay, plus taxes overdue. Days before he died, his legal advisor had warned that the tax authorities could raid his studio and his house. On his personal side his lucky mascot Waheeda Rahman, had left, amidst rumours of an affair between them. Waheeda denied it but his wife Geeta believed so.
The rift in their marriage never filled. On his professional side, Abrar Alvi and Murthy left him to make films elsewhere. Dutt said he felt like “an orphan” according to Murthy’s last interview given before he passed away.
Bad luck chased Dutt even after his death. Six top actors of the day who had worked with him refused to or helped complete his last film, “Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi”. Abrar Alvi says only Dharmendra helped as he never forgot that Dutt had boosted his morale when he was nervous at a talent contest that he eventually won. Dharmendra repaid his debt to Guru.
The film flopped, but the title survived to keep Dutt’s memory alive.