Writer director Abrar Alvi passed away on Wednesday at the age of 82 due to a stomach complication. A very notable figure in the fifties and the sixties, it was Alvi’s association with the late Guru Dutt, which catapulted him to fame and gave rise to some of the most noteworthy films of those times, films which still rank among the top favourites even in today’s times.
Alvi joined Guru Dutt as a writer and together they collaborated on films like ‘Mr. and Mrs. 55’, ‘Aar Paar’, ‘Chaudhavin Ka Chand’, ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’, ‘Pyasaa’ and ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’, the last of which he also directed. It is said that Guru Dutt was so heartbroken by the fact that ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ was rejected by the audiences that he relinquished the direction of ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ and Alvi stepped in. If for nothing else, then Alvi will always be remembered for ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’, an all time classic, which surprisingly became a big hit. One still remembers the film for the heart rending performance by the late Meena Kumari as the ill fated chhoti bahu. The film had other terrific performances as well, by Guru Dutt as Bhootnath and Rehman as Chhoti Bahu’s husband. The film won many awards, which included the President’s silver medal for the Best Film of the year, the Bengal Film Journalists Award as well as winning Alvi the Filmfare Award for Best Director in 1962. ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ traveled to the Berlin Film Festival in 1963 and was also the Indian entry to the Oscars that year. Unfortunately, Alvi never received full credit for ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’, which had all the hallmarks of a Guru Dutt movie. There was always a controversy regarding the real director of the movie. It was often unkindly said that Guru Dutt ghost directed the movie. After Guru Dutt’s death, Alvi continued to write for films like ‘Professor’, ‘Bairaag’, ‘Manoranjan’, ‘Biwi O Biwi’, ‘Laila Majnu’, ‘Hamare Tumhare’ and ‘Sabse Bada Rupaiya’.