I had seen Pyaasa few months back. Kaagaz ke Phool can be said as a loose sequel to it, in terms of content. Pyaasa ends with the the protagonist, a poet going into oblivion though his works are famous. Kaagaz ke Phool starts with the protagonist, a film-maker who is widely known and respected. The movie begins with the twilight period of the film-maker and it goes into a flash back. Some of the shots in the beginning sequence are too good. Like this one, where he is looking at the mascot of the studio, that he once gave shape, but now stubbornly stares at him.
There is a great use of light and shadows, in this beginning sequence and also throughout the film, as is in any Guru Dutt film. This man was undoubtedly a master of shadows.
The picturization of songs is extra-magnificient. Superb use of camera techniques and lighting, particularly in the song Waqt ne kiya...This song is an exercise in film making, with performances by Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt, the lyrics, the music, the light-shadows, the camera techniques including some novel styles like morphing. The combined effect is spell-binding. Waheeda Rehman is so good in this movie, I would not wink an eye to say that this is best performance by an actress I have ever seen, fetas off to her!
Guru Dutt, as in Pyaasa, plays the dejected, miserable man. But in Pyaasa, there is a happily ever after, in this there isn't. Its melancholic and almost autobiographical. In the film the protagonist, a film-maker, mentions that he would not direct any more films if the one he is making flops, and that happens. And that happened in real life too, Kaagaz ke Phool was the last film Guru Dutt directed, at least officially.
The film's music, by S. D. Burman is not as extra-ordinary as Pyaasa, this can be attributed to the fact that Pyaasa was a poet's story. Lyrics by Kaifi Azmi are deep, the two songs Dekhi zamane ki yaari, and Waqt ne kiya.. are part of history.