Anand marked the first of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's three historic collaborations with Rajesh Khanna, the other two being Bawarchi and Namak Haraam.
Anand is without a shred of doubt Rajesh Khanna's career's finest performance.
Just how he got the role is story of its own, reveals Subhash K Jha.
Anand released 50 years ago, March 12, 1971.
1. Anand was based on the friendship between Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Raj Kapoor.
Hrishida told me he was so close to Rajsaab that not a day passed when they didn't meet at least once.
So close were the two that Hrishida would often get morbid thoughts about the two of them being separated by death.
That's how Anand was born.
In fact Hrishida wanted to make it with Rajsaab playing the role that Amitabh Bachchan finally played.
Hrishida got to work with his best friend Raj Kapoor only once in Naukri which was a fiasco.
2. After Raj Kapoor as Anand didn't work out Hrishida's choice for playing Anand was Kishore Kumar.
But we all know how eccentric Kishoreda could be.
So Hrishida went to Shashi Kapoor to play Anand.
That too didn't work out.
It was Rajesh Khanna who offered to step in as Anand at the peak of his career.
The rest as they say is hysteria.
3. Lalita Pawar, who was cast in vampish roles, played the stern but soft-hearted Nurse D'Sa.
This was not the first time that Hrishida had cast the powerful Pawar as a kindly Catholic.
She had played one in Hrishida's Anari as well.
This director liked casting vamps in sympathetic roles: Shashikala in Anupama, Bindu in Abhimaan and Arjun Pandit.
4. Real-life couple Ramesh Deo and Seema Deo played husband and wife in the film.
Anand Sehgal grows very fond of Seema Deo's character.
On her birthday he says the immortal line on mortality, 'Main toh yeh bhi nahin keh sakta ki meri umar tumeh lag jaye.'
5. The Manna Dey song Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli was to be played in the background with the opening credits.
When Rajesh Khanna heard it he asked Hrishida, "Why do you want to waste it in the background?"
The songs was shot on Rajesh Khanna at Juhu beach and became a hit.
Songs used as part of the background score were known to flop.
6. Rajesh Khanna had no leading lady in Anand (or in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Bawarchi).
Sumita Sanyal was cast opposite Amitabh Bachchan.
Though there was no song situation for her, Hrishida created one, as he wanted at least one song by his favourite Lata Mangeshkar in the film.
That's how Composer Salil Chowdhary composed the timeless Na Jiya Lage Na for Anand.
7. Anand was spun off many times by many film-makers.
The most notable of the spin offs was Karan Johar-Nikhil Advani's Kal Ho Na Ho in 2003 with Shah Rukh Khan playing the do-gooder who dies of cancer.
The most famous dialogue in Anand was Maut tu ek kavita hai which Gulzar wrote.
Anand remains the most vibrant comment on life's ephemerality.
It's not the size that matters.
It's how you use that thing that matters. Life, silly.