What happens when three great artistic talents get entangled in the intriguing web of emotions of a real life love triangle? I will tell you the answer. If they happen to be Guru Dutt, Geeta Dutt and Waheeda Rehman, then they don’t just remain three faceless, nameless persons facing a personal problem. They etch your memory and enrich your sensitivity with a stunning audiovisual odyssey of that pain and passion through a sublime song like Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam.
Now, years later, when one looks back at Guru Dutt’s film- Kaagaz Ke Phool - a tragic love story between a great film director trapped in a failed marriage and a budding actress, who is his protégé, the eerie feeling that one is watching a real life drama in Guru Dutt’s life is unmistakable. While making this film, his seemingly perfect marriage with Geeta Roy, a genius film-maker marrying an outstanding singer, was slowly crumbling and he was increasingly getting drawn closer to Waheeda – then just an aspiring actress who was his own find.
More than that movie, it is Waqt Ne Kiya, which has come to symbolize that complex, star-crossed relationship. Composer Sachin Dev Burman conceived a superbly soulful tune for this song and master lyricist Kaifi Azmi then put those heartfelt emotions into words- Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam, Tum Rahe Na Tum, Hum Rahe Na Hum. ("What exquisite crime the passage of time has committed, now you have not remained you and I have not remained I").
Geeta Dutt – that great songstress with silky, sensuous vocals, poured her heart out when she sang about the total helplessness and utter lack of any direction in life in the lines, Jaayenge Kahan Soojhtaa Nahi, Chal Pade Magar Raasta Nahi.
If this was a commentary on her own sad plight in that love triangle, a loyal wife seeing her beloved husband becoming estranged and snatched away, then when she said later,Kya Talaash Hai Kuchh Pataa Nahi, Buun Rahe Hain Dil Khwab Dum-Ba-Dum, she was also making a statement about those futile romantic dreams of the ‘other two’ passionate hearts thrown together by destiny; the hearts that did not even know what they wanted from each other, yet kept on walking the road that led nowhere.
The booming bass guitar, the soft piano, the tinkling triangle, the flowing strings – the orchestration of that song was mesmerizing. On screen, a stunningly beautiful Waheeda and a sombre, graceful Guru Dutt appearing in an exquisite light and shadow play of haunting black and white images then completed that masterpiece.
It remains a song for all ages – a song reminding us of seemingly unfathomable complexities of human relationships, a song bringing forth the tragedy in romance, a song telling us about inevitability of life in general!