Dev Anand

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Dev Anand

Dinesh Raheja

Devdutt 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
Song Film Singer
 Jaaye to
 jaaye kahan
 Taxi Driver  Talat Mehmood
 Jeevan ke safar  mein rahee  Munimji  Kishore Kumar
 Chhod do  aanchal  Paying Guest  Kishore Kumar,
 Asha Bhosle
 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,
 Asha Bhosle
 Gaata rahe
 mera dil
 Guide  Kishore Kumar, Lata  Mangeshkar
 Yeh dil na
 hota bechara
 Jewel Thief  Kishore Kumar
 Phoolon ke
 rang se
 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 Helen.

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
Year Film Heroine
1951 Baazi Kalpana Kartik, Geeta Bali
1954 Taxi Driver Kalpana Kartik
1956 CID Shakila, Waheeda Rehman
1957 Paying Guest Nutan
1958 Kala Pani Madhubala, Nalini Jaywant
1961 Hum Dono Sadhana, Nanda
1963 Tere Ghar Ke Saamne Nutan
1965 Guide Waheeda Rehman
1967 Jewel Thief Vyjayanthimala Bali
1970 Johnny Mera Naam Hema Malini
1972 Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mumtaz, Zeenat Aman
1978 Des Pardes Tina Munim

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