Aar Paar

Aar Paar

I noticed that i had not reviewed a single film of Guru Dutt on my blog. In order to make amends, I decided to review one of his films. Kalu (Guru Dutt), a taxi driver who was sentenced to prison for speeding, is released two months before his term for good conduct . Wandering the streets, Kalu helps a young woman Nikki (Shyama) to fix her car.  He gets a job at Nikki’s father’s garage and love blossoms between Nikki and him.  When her father finds out, he kicks Kalu out.  An encounter with the mysterious Captain results in a brand new job for Kalu. Captain is planning a Bank robbery and thinks Kalu would be useful in driving the car.  Kalu joins with captain’s gang which includes a dancer (Shakila) and a guy named Rustom (Johnny Walker).  In Aar Paar, Guru Dutt took his talent for song picturisations to several notches above the commonplace.  Songs in his films often take place in locations occupied by the characters in his films. A fine example here is the romantic duet Sun Sun Sun Sun Zalima. The song is set in the stark and unromantic atmosphere of a garage with a car providing the centre-piece but the way two lovers circle around each other within this space is a brilliant piece of choreography.

The other song whose picturisation deserve a special mention is- “babuji dheere chalna pyaar mein zara sambhalna” (Shakila’s great entry).  Aar Paar was a major turning point in the life of composer OP Nayyar who went on to become an extremely successful music director.  Songs like Babuji Dheere Chalna, Yeh lo Main Hari Piya, Mohabbat Karlo, Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa, all sung brilliantly by Geeta Dutt, are remembered and hummed to this day. The plot of Aar Paar may now seem formulaic but scores in its treatment.  The narrative flow is pacy and engaging, merging the elements of thrills, romance, action and comedy rightly. Aar Paar is a noir film that is infused with humour. Dutt’s friend and collaborator, VK Murthy, was behind the camera as usual, and the Dutt-Murthy combination’s play with light and shade was nothing short of magical. Guru Dutt plays his part of the streetsmart driver with ease.  Shyama was ok.  Shakila is excellent as femme fatale.

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