There are some films which are iconic, Navketan's Baazi released in 1951 is also such film which gave the Hindi Film Industry many legends. The film is notable for two reasons: first, being the directorial debut of Guru Dutt and second, it was the film which inspired many urban crime thrillers in the fifties. This was the second film of Dev Anand's production house Navketan Films, and as per a commitment was given by Dev Anand to Guru Dutt in their days of struggle, the movie was directed by Guru Dutt.
The movie begins with hands being shown gambling, just in case if we viewers missed the point. A look at the credits makes you feel that the ‘who is who’ of the remaining years of the 50s are represented there. First of all this film gave us the Star Dev Anand who in the years to come to become the Style Icon of Bollywood. The second person to become Legendary Director of Bollywood was Guru Dutt.the third legend in making was S D Burman the great composer of Golden Era of Bollywood. Next legendary personality was Kalpna Kartik who later married Dev Anand made her debut with this film.
Balraj Sahni, who had just returned after a stint with the BBC was entrusted with the story, screenplay and dialogues. Zohra Sehgal was brought in to choreograph the dance sequences. A young poet named Sahir Ludhianvi was given a chance to pen lyrics for the songs who later became a Legendary Lyricist and poet.
Raj Khosla served as an assistant director who became a legendary Director. A bus conductor who Sahni had seen entertaining passengers was called in for a cameo, to play a drunkard, and while the film credits him by his real name Badruddin, after Baazi, the world knew him as Johnny Walker.
The other Legendary personalities were the Cinematographers V Ratra and his assistant V K Murthy who gave memorable cinematography of all Guru Dutt’s films, (including Pyaasa, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulamand Kagaz ke Phool) has earned Murthy a place in the history of Hindi cinema. He was awarded a ‘lifetime achievement award’ by the Indian International Film Academy in 2008. This came as belated recognition by the Bombay film industry for the contribution made to its evolution by technicians such as V.K. Murthy.
In his autobiography Romancing with Life, Devsaab reminisces: “Baazi gave me an image that stayed in the minds of people, and made a genuine star out of me. For the first time, I felt and saw what stardom was in terms of adulation and fan following. I became a phenomenon after the release of Baazi.”
Songs of Baazi 1951