Sahib, Animals aur Main

It seems that Guru Dutt was quite an animal lover. (I glean this from the several books and articles I have read about him in my rapid discovery of the film-maker and the man.) Ok, perhaps not in the all-encompassing vegan mould, for he would oft go fishing (to Powai Lake) and hunting, apparently, in the nearby forests. (The thought of there being forests around Powai Lake, but this was the ’50s.) In his youth, it seems he had got home quite a few animals, right down (up?) to a monkey, but his mom wouldn’t have much of it. Later, he wouldn’t have much time either, as he started working quite early, in ’46, at the age of 21 (first as a choreographer and then an assistant director in Pune’s Prabhat Film Company).

In later years, he had kept an incubator at home, where he would be watch a chick being born with utmost fascination – the way perhaps his fans (devotees?) watch his movies. He would even call over his long-time friends / collaborators, such as dialogue and screenplay writer, Abrar Alvi, and cameraman, V K Murthy, to watch a chick hatch. Wonder if they too would have none of it.

Guru Dutt with wife, Geeta Dutt, and a dog, most probably a Pomeranian Spitz puppyI have come across a few pix of him and his family (earlier, his siblings and cousins, and later, his wife, Geeta Dutt) with a dog in each pic. One fellow, a Golden Retriever, he named Tony after the name of the leading character in Jaal, played by Dev Anand. Wonder what SRK and Aamir Khan would have to say about that?

Animal love seems to be one of the many connections that has drawn me to GD, which go beyond his film-making side. Yes, hunting and fishing are the opposite side of animal love (and while vegetarian in his childhood, he did have non-veg later on), but then, those were times when, forget animal cruelty, people had barely woken up to human cruelty, which wasn’t British-led, that is.

But then again, GD’s greatest pull for me, film-maker and person(ality) alike, is his great humanism. But more of that in some other post. Until then, no doubt, he watches numerous chick souls hatch in some great incubator in the sky. With Tony’s soul barking in excitement as each chick takes their first balletic step.

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