evdutt Pishorimal Anand dreamt of becoming a film star; but even in his native Gurdaspur, Punjab, he realised Dev Anand would be more appropriate as a screen name. It had a starry, dashing, urbane ring that would soon reflect his own persona.
An Arts graduate from Lahore, Dev first came to Mumbai in 1943 to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor. Riding out of Bombay Central station in a tonga, he was struck by the dazzle of the city. Yet, he was confident he would soon be an ineluctable part of the elite circle of glamour. He stayed as a paying guest at inexpensive lodges and with obliging friends like Raja Rao, the famous novelist.
|Famous songs picturised on Dev Anand|
| Jaaye to
| Taxi Driver
|| Talat Mehmood
| Jeevan ke safar mein rahee
|| Kishore Kumar
| Chhod do aanchal
|| Paying Guest
|| Kishore Kumar,
| Jiya o, jiya kuch bol do
|| Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai
|| Mohammed Rafi
| Dil ka bhanwar
|| Tere Ghar Ke Saamne
|| Lata Mangeshkar
| Abhi na jao chhodke
|| Hum Dono
|| Mohammed Rafi,
| Gaata rahe
|| Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
| Yeh dil na
| Jewel Thief
|| Kishore Kumar
| Phoolon ke
| Prem Pujari
|| Kishore Kumar
| Pal bhar ke liye
|| Johnny Mera Naam
|| Kishore Kumar
Dev began his career in the military censor office at Churchgate, Mumbai, for a princely salary of Rs 160. He was soon offered a break as an actor by Prabhat Talkies to star in their Hum Ek Hain (1946).
While shooting for the film in Pune, Dev struck a friendship with fellow actor Guru Dutt. Soon, they were swapping shirts, double dating and sharing dreams. They made a pact: if Dev produced a film, Guru Dutt would direct it; if Guru Dutt produced a film, Dev would act in it.
Dev made the grade first. By a strange coincidence, Dev was offered his first big break by Ashok Kumar, his favourite star. Kumar spotted Dev hanging around in the studios and picked him as hero for the Bombay Talkies production, Ziddi, costarring Kamini Kaushal (1948).
Dev never looked back. He bought his first car, a black Hillman. His dream of working with his teenage idol, actress Snehprabha Pradhan, was also fulfilled.
In 1949, Dev and his elder brother Chetan Anand launched their home banner, Navketan, with Afsar. Dev fell head over heels in love with his heroine, star-songstress Suraiya. But Suraiya's strict granny nipped the romance in the bud.
As promised, Dev gambled on Guru Dutt as director for the crime thriller, Baazi (1951). The dice rolled in favour of this creative collaboration; the Sahir [Ludhianvi, lyricist] song, Tadbeer se bigdi huyee taqdeer bana de, proved prophetic and Dev became a true blue star. It also crystallised his image as an urban cowboy with more than his share of smarts.
At this stage, Dev was drawn towards grey-shaded roles and films with a noirish flavour, like Jaal (1952). He played a gambler, a smuggler, a blackmarketeer. The year 1954 was a crucial one. Dev was one of the earliest Indian stars to visit Russia. His starrers, Rahee and Aandhiyan, were screened there along with Raj Kapoor's Awaara.
In the same year, Taxi Driver was declared a hit. Dev's heroine was Kalpana Kartik again, and the two decided to marry in a quiet ceremony during a lunch break on the sets!
Marriage and the birth of son Suneil in 1956 did not affect Dev's draw. A rapidfire style of dialogue delivery, an
array of hats (remember Aye meri topi palat ke aa?), and a penchant for nodding while speaking became Dev's USP [Unique Selling Point] in films like Munimji, CID and Paying Guest.
Sure, he had style, but Dev's detractors cast aspersions on his acting abilities and questioned his inclusion in the hallowed Raj [Kapoor]-Dilip [Kumar] league. Dev made them eat humble pie with his class act in Kala Pani (1958), as the son who is willing to go to any lengths --- including sweet-talking a courtesan into believing he is in love with her --- to clear his framed father's name. He won the Best Actor Award for the film.
He followed it up with an interesting double role in Hum Dono (1961) as a mustachioed major and his clean-shaven lookalike.
Guide (1965), directed by younger brother Vijay Anand, silenced the staunchest of critics. Dev played Raju, a voluble guide who supports Rosy (Waheeda) in her bid for freedom; but is not above thoughtlessly exploiting her for personal gains. Combining style with substance, Dev gave an affecting performance as a man grappling with his emotions in his passage through love, shame and salvation.
Guide was Dev's creative acme. He reunited with Vijay Anand for the much-hyped Jewel Thief, featuring a bevy of beauties led by Vyjayanthimala Bali, including Tanuja, Anju Mahendru, Faryal and
With their next collaboration, Johnny Mera Naam (1970), Dev was worth his weight in gold. The film was released in the same year as Raj Kapoor's magnum 'flopus' Mera Naam Joker, and was a golden jubilee hit. Unlike Raj and Dilip who slowed down in the Seventies, Dev continued to be a romantic hero. His maiden attempt at direction, the espionage drama, Prem Pujari flopped, but Dev hit lucky with his sophomore directorial effort Hare Rama Hare Krishna. It talked about the prevalent hippie cult.
Zeenat Aman, who played the mini-sporting, pot-smoking protagonist Janice, became an overnight sensation. Dev also became known as a filmmaker of trenchantly topical themes.
The presence of his discoveries --- the zestful Zeenat and later, the elfin Tina Munim (heroine of Dev's last recognised hit Des Pardes in 1978) --- fuelled Dev's image as the evergreen star even when he was well into his fifties.
For the past two decades, however, success has been like a miffed mistress with Dev. But even at 78, exuberance races through Dev's veins. "Watch out for my next, Love At Time Square," he enthuses. Dev belongs to the rare race that subscribes to the dictum: Never say never.
|Dev Anand's Landmark Films|
||Kalpana Kartik, Geeta Bali
||Shakila, Waheeda Rehman
||Madhubala, Nalini Jaywant
||Tere Ghar Ke Saamne
||Johnny Mera Naam
||Hare Rama Hare Krishna
||Mumtaz, Zeenat Aman
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