HOME  |  MOVIES  |  FEEDBACK

Dinesh Raheja

Flawed characters are always interesting in our cinema, which is full of morally-superior martyrs and righteous behemoths.

Vijay Anand's Guide is a celluloid tone poem which gently leads us through the story of a passionate soul, Raju Guide, imbued with his fair share of venalities --- ambitions, insecurities and jealousies -- and his journey towards his eventual redemption.

Producer Director Music Director Stars
 Navketan  Vijay  Anand  S D Burman  Dev Anand, Waheeda  Rehman, Kishore Sahu
This odyssey is mainly prompted by the rupture of Raju's relationship with his grey-shaded-as-well love, Rosie; and the portrayal of this tempestuous love affair is a major plus point for the film.

Based on R K Narayan's novel, The Guide, the film has as its protagonist Raju (Dev Anand), a glib-talking tourist guide. He meets Rosie first when she is already married. Her much-older, archaeologist husband Marco (Kishore Sahu, noted actor-director of the 1940s who also directed the Meena Kumari hit Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi) hires Raju as their guide while on a holiday.

The rather dried-up Marco is shown more comfortable with his explorations in a cave than with his beautiful trophy wife. Not surprisingly, an attraction soon develops between Raju and the repressed-by-her-husband (he won't let her cultivate her dancing abilities), but full-of-vitality Rosie.

Raju's love and support gives the unfulfilled Rosie the courage to make bold and defy societal norms by leaving the oppressive atmosphere of her husband's house and moving into Raju's abode. Her sheer exultation in her new freedom is beautifully captured in her crucial song --- Kaaton se kheench ke anchal, chhod ke bandhan bandhe payal. It is evident in her dancing on the edge of a ledge in keeping with her dangerous new desires; in her riding in a cart and breaking a pot, thereby metaphorically breaking all conventions.

Raju even defies his mother (Leela Chitnis) for his unconventional love. Rosie flowers because of his strengths. Does she have the heart to forgive his weaknesses too?

The film takes you beyond the happily ever after. What happens after a love match fructifies?

With Raju's glib managerial skills, Rosie becomes a dancing star. But insecurity soon manifests itself. Raju takes to drinking and gambling. His fear of losing his love makes Raju forge a cheque in Rosie's name. She finds it hard to forgive him, and he is sentenced to prison.

When he emerges from prison, he rejects his earlier life. He is mistaken as a holy man by some villagers and goes along with their belief.

Misery, it is said, can lead to sublimity. Circumstances make Raju go on a 12-day fast to propitiate the Gods for rain, and leads him to ponder over and seek answers to the ultimate spiritual question. In the end, the Guide finds the path to his own emotional salvation.

Dev Anand in what is probably his most famous role is never less than convincing as the guide with all-too-human failings, but also blessed with a higher self.

Waheeda Rehman effectively conveys her character's repressed energy and desires through her many breathtaking dances. She's subtle as ever, and her expressive eyes flash fire as well as frighteningly cold rage.

Director Vijay Anand handles the complex subject with maturity and flair. He adopts a largely non-judgemental stand, interestingly evident in this musically-blessed film's two back-to-back Point Of View songs. When the lead couple have an acrimonious fall out, the heroine sings Mohse chhal kiye jaaye while the hero counters with Kya se kya ho gaya bewafa. It is almost as if the director presents both the sides and lets you make up your mind.


* Guide was not a blockbuster; it was more of a prestige film. It won the Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress Filmfare Awards for Vijay Anand, Dev and Waheeda respectively.

* The English version directed by Tad Danielski was released beforehand. It left little impact.

* For director Vijay Anand it was an early peak. His trendsetting thriller Teesri Manzil was also released within a year. Incidentally, Chetan Anand was to direct Guide first; then Raj Khosla was considered, but Waheeda and Khosla had fallen out during Solva Saal so Vijay Anand ended up directing the film.

The Music:
Famous songs from Guide:
  Song  Singers
  Kaaton se kheech ke
 Lata Mangeshkar
  Piya tose naina laage  Lata Mangeshkar
  Mohse chhal kiye jaaye  Lata Mangeshkar
  Gaata rahe mera dil  Lata Mangeshkar, Kishor Kumar
  Din dhal jaaye  Mohammed Rafi
  Tere mere sapne  Mohammed Rafi
  He Ram  Manna Dey
  Megh de  S D Burman
  Wahan kaun hai tera  S D Burman

* S D Burman, who had drastically cut down his work in the early 1960s due to health problems, made a thumping reaffirmation of his enduring talent with Guide.

* Lata and Rafi got a lion's share of the film's eternal classics. While Aaj phir jeebne ki tamanna hai remains one of Lata's biggest hits, Rafi smoothly articulated Din dhal jaaye and Kya se kya ho gaya with much pathos.

* And with the film having philosophical overtones, lyricist Shailendra wrote some deeply-felt lines in Wahan kaun hai tera.
Kehte hai gyaani, duniya hai faani
Paani pe likhi likhayi;
Hai sabki dekhi, hai sabki jaani
Haath kiski na aayi;
Kuch tera na mera,
Musafir, jayega kahan?

You might also want to read:
Awaara: The language of love

Design: Uday Kuckian
1996 - 2002 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.