Saturday, 26 March 2011

Leonid Gaidai - Biography

Gaidai Leonid Iovich (January 30, 1923 – November 19, 1993), Russian film director and scriptwriter.

The humor of great Gaidai is timeless. His comedies are free from edifying or obtrusiveness, he easily managed to avoid hackneyed cliches and smutty jokes. Phrases from his comedies have become winged and are widely used in Russia till date.

‘A cinema comedy should have as few words as possible, and those words must be laconic, sharp-cut and take an unerring aim’ – Gaidai said, and he was as good as his word.

Leonid Iovich Gaidai was born on January 30, 1923. From 1941 he was in the army in Mongolia. When the war began he was transferred to Kalinin front as a scout, as he had learnt German at school. After a severe wounding he got ‘unfit-for-duty’ and had to return home. In fact he never completely recovered after that wound which actually made him suffer till the end of his life; no one knew about it but for his family. He did not like to complain.

From early age Gaidai was dreaming of stage. In 1947 he graduated from a theatre studio in Irkutsk regional theatre and for several years played on the local stage. Though a shy and clumsy person having difficulties in pronouncing sounds ‘r’ and ‘l’, he was a good actor beloved by the public. In 1949 he entered the film direction faculty of VGIK (The All-Union Institute of Cinematography) where he met actress Nina Grebeshkova to become his wife and spend all life with him.

Though at the beginning of Gaidai’s creative life he was supported by well-known masters of Soviet cinema, such as Ivan Pyriev and Mikhail Romm, his way in cinema was far from simple. ... more

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