Pyaasa — the struggle of a poet
It is a story of a poet trying to make his work known by readers. But, the materialistic world redicules him and refused him. Devestated by the rejection and exploitation by the selfish world, he escapes from the harsh world and tries to sucide but fails. He ends up at a mental Hospital.
Ghosh and Shyam, Vijay's close friend, refuse to recognise him and he is committed to a mental asylum since he insists he is Vijay and is thought to be mad. Vijay's brothers too are bought off by Ghosh not to recognise him and a memorial is held for the dead poet. Vijay with the help of his friend Abdul Sattar (Johnny Walker) escapes from the mental asylum and reaches the memorial service where he denounces this corrupt and materialistic world. Seeing that Vijay is alive his friend and brothers take side with a rival publisher for more money and declare this is Vijay. At a function to honour him, Vijay becomes sick of all the hypocrisy in the world around him and declares he is not Vijay. He then leaves with Gulabo to start a new life.
There was a debate between writer Abrar Alvi and Guru Dutt on film's ending. Abrar wanted the protagonist to accept and compromise with the prevailing material social reality; Guru Dutt insisted otherwise.
Guru Dutt and his movies, including Pyaasa, have a large cult following in France and Germany. It was a huge commercial success during its 1984 French Premiere, ironically something Guru Dutt never witnessed during his lifetime. Since then, the movie has been screened to huge mass appeal world over, like the recent screening at The 9th International Festival of Asian Cinema held in Vesoul, in February 2003.Is a Time top 100 movie of all times and when ask among readers, it has been voted as the most romantic film ever made in history.After a slow opening, Pyaasa went on to be a major commercial success of the year. This gave Guru Dutt the confidence to make a repeat on a grand scale. However, Kaagaz Ke Phool went on to be a commercial disaster. Ironically, the movie picked up a cult following world over in 1980s much after Guru Dutt died.
It is also surmised that the story is based on the life of film's lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi who had failed affair with poet and writer Amrita Pritam .