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"One of the questions people ask all the time is why Dilip refused Guru Dutt 's 1957 classic Pyaasa. Well, if you study his films seriously you will see that he does not like to repeat himself as an actor. They all dealt with varied subjects. When Pyaasa was offered to him, he was already making Bimal Roy's DEVDAS  1955). As he stated in interviews before this, he thought it would be bad business sense to do two films, where he portrayed similar characters. "-Saira Banu
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Dilip sahab felt that the role of the anguished poet who faces rejection from all quarters and whose artistic efforts are accidentally discovered was almost an extension of his doomed lover in Devdas (1955). Dutt was convinced that he wouldn't be good enough to play the lead and some also say that he had managed to convince the thespian to step in.

There is a pervading sense of doom attached to both Devdas and Vijay but the latter is a far more nuanced role and this writer feels had Dilip sahab played Vijay the spotlight would have been solely on the character and not how the character interacted or responded to the world surrounding him, which separates Pyaasa from Devdas.

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