Dev Anand: The eternal romantic hero

  • PTI, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 04, 2011 11:15 IST
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Dev Anand was the ultimate flamboyant and irresistibly charming silver screen star, whose romantic image and infectious zeal for life and cinema will outlive that of his contemporaries.

The charismatic star lived by the philosophy of Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya, Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udata Chala Gaya," a song from his movie Hum Dono (1961).

The 88-year-old versatile actor-filmmaker, who passed away in London last night, will be remembered for his swagger, which continue to find imitations till date.

When his contemporaries like Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar stopped playing the leading men in movies, Dev Anand did not lose his innate romantic spirit and continued to woo his young heroines with trademark puff of hair, his sloping walk and smile in movies like Johnny Mera Naam, Des Pardes, Hare Rama Hare Krishna among others.

The actor-director-producer was working till his last. His latest project Chargesheet is ready to release and he was planning a extention of his cult hit Hare Rama Hare Krishna.



But there will be no Dev saab, as he was popularly addressed as by friends and fans, to complete them.

In his last interview to PTI in September on his 88th birthday, Dev Anand said that he had still a lot to offer.

"My life is the same and I am at a beautiful stage at 88. I am as excited as I was in my 20s. I have so many things to do and I am looking forward to the release of Chargesheet.

"I am working on a fresh script titled Hare Rama Hare Krishna Aaj on audience's demand."



His films spoke of his modern sensibilities and desire to portray tomorrow's headlines today. The Bollywood legend always said that his films were expression of his world view and hence dealt with socially-relevant subjects.

His recent movies focused on the themes of present times like Awwal Number, Sau Crore, Censor, Mr Prime Minister and the latest Chargesheet where he played central characters.

Even though after Awwal Number, his movies did not do well at the box office, the evergreen hero's mantra was always to think positive. "I never give myself a chance to get depressed. I think ahead," he would say.

There has always been a hint of romance and intrigue in Dev Anand's personal and professional life which perhaps made him so popular.

In 2007, he released his memoirs Romancing with Life where he admitted he has never looked back in his life, always preferring to remain optimistic and confident about future.





Dev Anand co-produced the English Version of Guide with the Nobel Laureate Pearl S Buck (The Good Earth).

In 1993, he received a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award and in 1996 he received a Screen Videocon Lifetime Achievement Award.

Of late he was involved in the direction of a new all American film Project Song Of Life - a musical love story which was to be shot in the United States. He was to play the central character in the film which was to have a predominantly American star cast.

Dev Anand is the second of three brothers who were active in Hindi Cinema. His brothers are Chetan Anand and Vijay Anand. Their sister, Sheel Kanta Kapur, is the mother of renowned film director Shekhar Kapur.



His films spoke of his modern sensibilities and desire to portray tomorrow's headlines today. The Bollywood legend always said that his films were expression of his world view and hence dealt with socially-relevant subjects.

His recent movies focused on the themes of present times like Awwal Number, Sau Crore, Censor, Mr Prime Minister and the latest Chargesheet where he played the central character.

Even though after Awwal Number, his movies did not do well at the box office, the evergreen hero's mantra was always to think positive. "I never give myself a chance to get depressed. I think ahead," he would say.



On the sets of the film Jeet, Dev Anand finally proposed to Suraiya but her maternal grandmother opposed the relationship as they were Muslim and Dev Anand Hindu, and so, Suraiya remained unmarried all her life.

He was offered his first big break by Ashok Kumar. He spotted Dev hanging around in the studios and picked him as the hero for the Bombay Talkies production, Ziddi in 1948, which became an instant success.

Always the one to think ahead, Dev Anand decided to start producing films after Zinddi's success. In 1949, Dev Anand turned producer and launched his own company Navketan which till 2011 has produced 31 films.

His trademark style of dialogue delivery, an array of hats and a penchant for nodding while speaking became Dev Anand's style in films like Munimji, CID and Paying Guest.



His style was lapped by the audience and widely imitated. Taxi Driver (1954) and CID (1956) saw him portraying living in the urban underbelly.

He broke new grounds, playing a smuggler in Jaal, absconding gang member in Dushman, blackmarketeer in Kalabazaar and a murderer in Bombay Ka Babu.

Still, critics accused him of being more style than substance. But, Dev Anand proved his detractors wrong - first with a class act in Kala Paani (1958).

Then came Hum Dono (1961) and he finally sealed all doubts with a nuanced performance in Guide (1966).

In 1970s, his success story continued with Johnny Mera Naam. Jewel Thief, directed by younger brother Vijay Anand, was another feather in his cap.



Honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2002, Dev Anand had also been politically active. He led a group of film personalities, who stood up against the 1975 Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

He actively campaigned against her with his supporters in 1977 Parliamentary elections. He also floated a political outfit, National Party of India, which he later disbanded.

 

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