I was in grade 7 when I visited my elder sister in Ambala during the summer vacation. My brother-in-law was posted there as a professor of Sanskrit at the local DAV college. My sister spent a good time with me taking me around the city, helping me do the school homework, etc. One day she asked me, ” Let’s go and watch a movie.”

Delighted, we hopped onto the rickshaw and headed to the theatre. The movie was Guru Dutt’s hit Pyaasa. Despite my tender age, I got absorbed in the story, a glimpse of life as seen and felt by Guru Dutt. There were emotions displayed on the screen by its hero, Guru Dutt himself, along with two main women characters played by Mala Sinha and Waheeda Rehman, and the superb performance by comedian Johny Walker who kept me entertained for the three-hour show.

Much later in life, I realized what a gem of production Guru Dutt created along with his close friend Sahir Ludhianvi, who penned one of the best lyrics produced by the Indian cinema. The story portrays the multi-faceted nature of society marked by greed and apathy. It shames the society and its leaders that Sahir Ludhianvi expresses in the ever-popular and relevant lines “jinhen naaz hai Hind par who kahan hain….”

Since I watched it, Paaysa has been etched in my mind, especially its songs composed by music maestro S.D.Burman. In my memory lane, Paaysa stands like a light post that reminds me of my late sister, with whom I saw the pure classic.

-Promod Puri

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