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Pyaasa (1957)

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A talented but indigent poet Vijay struggles for love and recognition in this selfish world.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mala Sinha ...
Guru Dutt ...
Rehman ...
Mr. Ghosh
Johnny Walker ...
Abdul Sattar
Kumkum ...
Juhi (as Kum Kum)
Leela Mishra ...
Vijay's Mother (as Leela Misra)
Mehmood ...
Vijay's brother
Tun Tun ...
Maya Dass
Moni Chatterjee ...
Chatterjee (as Moni Chatterji)
Neel Kamal


Unemployed Vijay is the youngest in his family consisting of his widowed mom, and two brothers. His passion is poetry - frowned upon by his brothers - who want him to find gainful employment instead. Vijay's poems are quite radical in which he laments about the poor, the destitute, and the arrogance of the rich after the departure of the British from India. His efforts to get them published are in vain. He takes to drinking, gets in trouble with the law, is disowned by his brothers, ends up at a brothel and befriends a prostitute named Gulabo. Gulabo is sympathetic, listens to him as he pours his heart out, and decides to assist Vijay. Watch what happens when Gulabo approaches some of her affluent clientèle to assist Vijay and try and get his work published, without revealing that they are written by an alcoholic, disheveled, homeless man. Written by rAjOo (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Musical | Romance


See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 February 1957 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Thirsty  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the most favorite movie of the Bollywood actor Aamir Khan See more »


Vijay: Jab hum chalein toh saaya bhi apna na saath de; jab tum chalo toh zameen chale, aasmaan chale! Jab hum rukein, saath ruke shaam-e-beqasi; jab tum ruko, bahaar ruke, chandni ruke!
See more »


Referenced in American Desi (2001) See more »


Sar Jo Tera Chakraaye
Sung by Mohammad Rafi
Music composed by Sachin Dev Burman
Lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi
See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful, timeless movie
16 July 2003 | by (Irvine, CA) – See all my reviews

Pyaasa does show its age. There are a lot of things that would perplex or annoy the modern viewer such as jumps in continuity and a simplistic set of characters. However, if one looks past that, then the movie reveals a rich story and a deep message. This is even more astonishing considering that the movie was made in the 50s.

This film is a journey into the mind of Guru Dutt and shows the hurt that sensitive minds, such as those of poets', can feel in modern society. As such, its message transcends time and is still relevant today. Those with less sensitive dispositions, such as mine, will not feel left out and will surely appreciate the story too.

The dialogue is beautiful and the songs are sublime. This is a real pity for those who do not understand Hindi since the subtitles (although decent) rob the words of much of their beauty. I know from other reviews on this site that non-Indian viewers often rightly skip the much-disliked song sequences. I still recommend that they sit through them with the subtitles, of course, turned on. This will convey some sense of the beauty of the songs.

There are several moments when the movie seems idiosyncratic. On both occasions that Abdul Sattar (Johnny Walker) broke out into song, the sudden "change" in his voice seemed absurd. Similarly, several bits of dialogue were almost comical when they were meant to be serious, especially in the case of the first publisher. The video itself looks jaded and the sound leaves a lot to be desired. But as I stated earlier, one must look past this to truly enjoy this splendid movie.

One of the striking things about the movie that I must mention is how much India seems to have changed since 1957. Perhaps this is because of the way the movie was shot. The Indian city of the 50s seems very wide and open and even though it is shown teeming with people, there is certain spaciousness about the whole thing. This stands in stark contrast to the clustered urban environment of today.

In all, I would highly recommend this movie to film lovers, both Indian and otherwise.

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