A must-read for fans of Guide and of good cinema
New Delhi, September 19, 2021
"Perhaps no Indian book written in the 20th century has been discussed or written about more than RK Narayan's The Guide. The book was made into an extraordinary film called Guide, and not many doubt that it was this film that, in turn, catapulted the beautiful book into a higher orbit," writes Manek Premchand in the introduction to Guide The Film: Perspectives. It is a delightful tribute to a film with writings by Lata Jagtiani and others.
As claimed by the curators of the book, it is a "unique collaborative study" fuelled by lovers of cinema. The fourteen who have given us this delightful insight into the iconic movie are Lata Jagtiani, Manek Premchand, Deepa Buty, Ajay Kanagat, Antara Nana Mondal, Bobby Sing, Dharmakirthi, Gaurav Sahay, Kalpana Swamy, Monica Dar, MV Devraj, Pisharoty Chandran, Sundeep Pahwa and Vijay Kumar.
The Guide was a book ahead of its times. The movie was much ahead of its times. It dealt with a subject that was taboo and featured Dev Anand, one of the greatest romantics of Indian cinema, and the evergreen Waheeda Rehman in a bold role. They got into the skin of the characters they were to play and produced an act that is acknowledged as a classic portrayal of quality cinema with pristine music by SD Burman an integral part of the huge success of the Guide, which graced the screen in 1965.
For Deepa Buty, who contributes one of the most fascinating chapters of the book, the music was the striking factor of the narrative which caught the imagination of the nation in troubled times. "Music of Guide is the soul of the film. As Shailendra remains unparalleled when it comes to philosophy in simple words, SD Burman remains unparalleled when it comes to minimum music, maximum melody. Vijay Anand is flawless when it comes to picturisation of songs. He not only takes the story forward through a song but also has a parallel story running in the song itself," she told NetIndian.
The movie begins with Wahaan Kaun Hai Tera, a melodious song by SD Burman. Deepa writes, "For those who haven't seen Guide, you can get the gist of the entire film in the song at the opening credits." She describes this song in detail to capture the journey of the movie based on the life of a tourist guide. Music is at the heart of her narrative.
"My interest in music started through radio when I was about three years old and radio is still my best companion. Seeds of love for cinema were sown by my parents - my father, a Kishore Kumar fan, and mother, a Mohammad Rafi fan. Music in Indian cinema today has become very robotic. It is all about auto tuning and gadgets. There is no personal touch and hence it lacks soul." It is not surprising that Deepa founded the immensely popular TheSongPedia.com, an online music magazine.
Guide was close to Dev Anand's heart. A dashing hero, he looked the character, Raju guide, that he played with perfection. The guide who falls in love with Rosie, an unhappily married woman. There couldn't have been a better choice than Dev Anand to play the role. "His energy was infectious. His diction and style was unique. Guide is the best example of how wonderful teamwork can create timeless classics. It is the best film of not only Dev Anand but the best thing to happen on Indian celluloid," says Deepa.
The authors give us profound insights into the making of the movie, its subsequent success, with simple writing. Published by Blue Pencil, it is a must read for fans of good cinema, and especially Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman. The quiz by Bobby Sing in the last chapter marks the culmination of a riveting journey involving some of the stalwarts of Indian cinema. Vijay Anand was a colossus in film making and this book does justice to his work - Guide, an all time classic.'