Where did classic Hollywood go when it died? To India, where the nation’s pop cinema (Bollywood to you) still attends to antique conventions of family fealty, personal integrity and, of course, all-conquering love. In this achingly lush tale of a poet whose one true friend is a prostitute, director-star Guru Dutt creates a musical drama as shimmering and ethereal as the poet’s verses, as sultry and earthy as Waheeda Rehman, the 20-year-old actress who became Guru Dutt’s mistress and muse. Pyaasa means “thirst”; if this film is your introduction to the glamour and heartbreak of Indian film, it’ll leave you parched for more.
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