HAARIYE JAAI – GURU DUTT’S LIFE?
Shoma A. Chatterji
- Banner: Channel Eight Motion Pictures
- Producer: Ashok Surana
- Director: Joy Mukherjee
- Music: Soumitra Chatterjee
- Lyrics: Chiranjit Basu
- Story: Anjana Das
- Screenplay and dialogue: Lovely Mukherjee
- D.O.P.: Deva
- Editor: Supriyo Saha
- Art: Samir Chanda
- Cast: Abhishek Chatterjee, Nibedita, Gargi Roy Choudhury, Santana Bose, Shankar Chakraborty, Kushal Chakraborty
- Rating: 02/10
Joy Mukherjee is a talented telefilm maker and scriptwriter who had to wait for ages to make his first full-length feature film. But the script let him down. It is the age-worn story of the tragic life of filmmaker and actor Guru Dutt that has been done for the small screen in Bengali many years ago. The serial featured Arjun Chakraborty as the character depicting Guru Dutt while Shibo Prosad Mukherjee played his grown son. It was appropriately called Ghoom Nei suggesting the chronic insomnia Guru Dutt suffered from that led to his sudden suicide in October 1964.
Haariye Jaai – “Let me lose myself” is the suggestive title of this film. There are two major glitches that stretch the liberty one can take with a real life story a bit too far. One is in showing the dancer-turned actress Kanchan/Shabnam as belonging to a kotha backdrop which is not at all true of Waheeda Rehman who was a trained Bharat Natyam dancer. She was picked up for her first Hindi film C.I.D. (1956) by Dutt when she was shooting for a southern film. She was already an established actress in Telugu films. Gving the character of Kanchan a kothabackdrop is downright insulting to three real-life celebrities – Guru Dutt, his wife Geeta Dutt and Waheeda Rehman.
The second glitch comprises of the suspicious nature of Neeta (Gargi Roy Choudhury) filmmaker Sundar (Abhishek Chatterjee)’s wife that shows her suspicions were unfounded and that there was no affair between the director and the actress. Hsitory spells out a different story. The film also weaves in the Kaagaz Ke Phool story to underscore the real-life-reel-life parallels that should have been left well alone. Playing a role that is supposed to be modelled on a superb actress like Waheeda Rehman is a very big burden for a debutant actress like Nivedita to carry. She collapses under the heavy weight and one cannot quite blame her for this. Abhishek is a very good actor per se, but in Haariye Jaai, his heart seems some place else. Gargi is convincing as the wife.
Not much can be said in favour of the rest of the team. Like all Channel Eight Motion Picture Productions, total lack of promotion, publicity, press show or premiere killed Haariye Jaai when worse productions can pull through at least for a week! It is indeed sad to see a talented director’s first film fall flat on its face like this! His telefilm Judgement stood the testimony of his talent. One wonders what happened.