Monday is the 93rd birth anniversary of Bollywood actor-director Dev Anand.
The actor who charmed a few generations of fans with his style and energised co-workers with his enthusiasm, led a colourful life.
We take a look at 10 best films of Bollywood’s evergreen star, who died in 2011 aged 88.
1. Hum Dono (1961)
The dramatic film about look alikes, who were not twins (and that was unusual) and who swap lives. The film saw Dev Anand don a double role with much gusto. Yup, the moustache helped. But Dev Anand remained Dev Anand no matter what he played. And he seldom used disguises. His pairing here with Sadhana seemed blessed by divinity. Hard to say whom Dev Saab paired the best with -- Sadhana, Nutan, Waheeda Rehman, Raakhee or Hema Malini.
2. Kala Pani (1958)
Dev Anand as a man out to prove his jailed father’s innocence exuded so much intensity in his role that you wondered where and how he found the time to romance the very lovely Madhubala and Nalini Jaywant. Raj Khosla’s knew best how to tap Dev Anand’s arrogant romanticism.
3. Bombai Ka Baboo (1960): Directed by Raj Khosla, Bombai Ka Baboo, was one of the first films to portray an incestuous relationship in Bollywood. Dev Anand played a fugitive who ends up pretending to be the son of a couple but falls in love with their daughter (Suchitra Sen). Babu (Dev) is threatened to impersonate the son of this couple which is wealthy and is asked to steal from the house. In the end, Dev Anand plays the role of brother to the woman he loves and marries her off . The song “Chal ri sajni” still echoes in our hearts. A must-watch.
4. Rahi (1953)
One of Dev Saab’s unknown gems. Based on writer Mulk Raj Anand’s story The Wayfarer, the film about the relationship between British colonists and Indians was shot in a neo-realistic light by progressive intellectual director KA Abbas. Very seldom did Dev Anand step into the territory of the unwaveringly experimental cinema. He did so in Rahi. The film was internationally celebrated. Dev saab and his leading lady Nalini Jaywant went to Russia with the film. It blew the Soviets’ minds. Nowadays the film is hardy ever screened at any Dev Anand festival.
5. Paying Guest (1957): Nutan and Dev Anand were fantastic together. They did two lovely romantic comedies and Subodh Mukherjee’s Paying Guest scores over Vijay Anand’s Tere Ghar Ke Samne. Both the wonderful stars were younger and looked so much in love under the fake studio moon.
6. Guide (1965)
It is the film that defines Dev Anand’s career. Raju, the Guide who shepherds Rosy’s career into stardom and falls deep into the morass of corruption and damnation came alive as a real character, blemishes and all. This is the one film that would keep Dev Anand alive in cinema forever.
7. Jewel Thief (1967)
Vijay Anand loved casting his star brother in roles about dual personalities. In Jewel Thief, Dav saab played his own character’s double who didn’t exist. To find out just how that worked, you had to go through a bevy of gorgeous women - Vyjayanthimala, Tanuja, Helen, Fariyal ... and terrific songs climaxed by the breathless “Honthon mein aisi baat” where Dev generously allowed his leading lady to take centrestage.
8 Johny Mera Naam (1970)
With the film, he made a glorious comeback after the debacle of his directorial debut Prem Pujari. Johny Mera Naam was a compelling kitsch concoction about two long-lost brothers, several villains and a vamp who stripped for Premnath to an Asha Bhosle song Husn ke laakhon rang that to date remains the most suggestive song-and-dance ever shot in a Hindi film. Vijay Anand made sure every song highlighted Dev Saab’s ebullience and nonchalant attitude. Come to think of it, this was Dev Saab’s sexiest film ever.
9. Tere Mere Sapne (1971)
A year after the classic kitschy tale in Johny Mera Naam, Vijay Anand directed his star brother in this sensitive film about a doctor’s descent from nobility to corruption. Mumtaz, who stepped in at the last minute to replace Sharmila Tagore, was a revelation as one of Bollywood’s finest actresses. The film is suffused with the sounds of sorrow and romance, regret and nostalgia. Its failure broke Dev Anand’s heart.
10. Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)
Arguably Dev Anand’s best film, this was a charming tender story of siblings separated by squabbling parents (Kishore Sahu and Achala Sachdev). Shot in Kathmandu, the film has an aura of mystery and tragedy surrounding the plot and characters. Dev saab and Zeenat Aman were perfect as siblings, so perfect that all subsequent attempts to cast them as romantic leads collapsed.
With his vast filmography, we must have missed several gems by Dev Anand.
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