On Dev Anand’s 90th birth anniversary today, his wife, Mona Anand, remembers her life and time with the legendary showman.
His 1961 black and white film Hum Dono was digitised and colourised and released recently.
I was just out of St. Bedes College, Simla, in the early 50s when Chetan Anand’s X-ray eyes spotted the talent in me. I made my debut as a leading lady, Kalpana Kartik (my screen name) in Navketan’s Baazi, (1951) opposite the debonaire Dev Anand.
In Baazi my character was that of a doctor with a noble mission who falls in love with Dev. Initially shy, Dev took time to open up, but we slowly built a good rapport. Never did I feel a stranger on the sets. Baazi was a rip-roaring success. My second film with Dev was Aandhiyan. It bombed at the box office, but I have very fond memories with him.
However, it was Taxi Driver (1954) which actually changed the course of my life. In one scene of Taxi Driver I had to dress as a male. Dev actually cut my long hairs with a car repairing tool and I cried, “Mera Baal.!” The shot was canned in one take by Chetan Anand. We got married during the shooting of Taxi Driver. Ours was a midnight marriage on the sets and it was a homely affair.
Taxi Driver was a super hit and Dev and I formed the first ever husband-wife pair of the Indian screen. We later acted in two other hits, House No 44 and Nau Do Gyarah which was the debut of Vijay Anand as a director. Countless memories flock my mind about Dev. His joy at Suneil and Devina being born, our photo session together with Alfred Hitchcock and our umpteen foreign tours. If he was alive he would be 90 today. Dev is always there in my heart and mind, just as only he can.
(As told to Ranjan Das Gupta)