Guru Dutt is a name that evokes awe, intrigue, romance and tragedy. Besides being one of the pioneers among Indian filmmakers, his personal life also holds an endless appeal for filmmakers. Guru Dutt himself made Kaagaz Ke Phool based on his own life. Much later filmmaker Johnny Bakshi got Rajesh Khanna to play Guru Dutt in Khudaai, a clumsily fictionalized version of the legendary filmmaker's life.
For years now filmmakers have attempted to recreate the Guru Dutt mystique without much success. But now two filmmakers Rakeysh Mehra and Shivendra Singh are determined to bring Guru Dutt's life to celluloid. While Rakeysh's film will be based on Nasreen Munni Kabeer's biography of Guru Dutt, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur is going ahead full-throttle with his research on the life of Guru Dutt.
The mythic movie maker's son Arun Dutt is also collaborating with Shivendra in getting Guru Dutt's life on celluloid. As for Rakeysh doing his own take on Guru Dutt's life Shivendra shrugs, "It's a free world and Guru Dutt is part of public folklore. Anyone can make a film on his life. Why just Rakeysh, I welcome many others to do the same. There were so many films on the life of Bhagat Singh."
Shivendra who started his career making a shelved film featuring Karisma Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor and Chandrachur Singh fifteen years ago before gravitating towards ad films, is confident of his grasp over Guru Dutt's life. "I've spent many years researching Guru Dutt's life. Two years ago Anurag Kashyap was brought in to write the film. We're sure of what we're doing."
The title Guru Dutt has already been registered. And Shivendra who's the cricket aficionado Raj Singh Durgapur's nephew wants to cast Aamir Khan as Guru Dutt. Apparently, Aamir is also Rakeysh's first choice.
But the scales would be titled in Shivendra's favour because Guru Dutt's family is backing the project. In fact, Aamir is very fond of Guru Dutt's sister Lalita Lajmi who happens to be filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi's mother. Lalita made an appearance in Aamir's Taare Zameen Par.
Kalpana in fact was planning a film on her legendary uncle's life but backed out when she heard of Shivendra's plans.
Says Kalpana, "My mother told me Anurag Kashyap is scripting and Shivendra Singh Durgapur is directing the film. They've informed my mother that it won't be fictional but a bio-pic on my uncle. My uncle's only living heir Arun Dutt has also giving his nod to the project. So we're all for it.