Today you will see Dev Anand from 1961 in the colourised Hum Dono. And two months from now, in April- May, you will see the Dev Anand of today in Chargesheet. It’s a unique situation that no other actor in the world can boast of being in and I’m loving it,” beams the 87-year-old movie legend, even as he mulls over his next project that could be a story set in USA. It might be a sequel to Hare Rama Hare Krishna that may be filmed in Nepal, a film shot in Croatia or one in India itself. ‘The mind is young and buzzing with so many ideas,” he asserts.
Hum Dono was one of Navketan’s last productions in the black-and-white series, and gave the evergreen star his life’s philosophy in the song, Main zindagi ke saath nibhaata chala gaya, har fikr ko dhuyein mein udaata chala gaya… Anand was surprised and flattered when the Hyderabad-based Goldstone Technology approached him with the proposal of colourising and re-releasing the 50-year-old film.
Last September, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry was hosting a retrospective on the occasion of Navketan’s diamond jubilee year. Anand mentioned that he had a colour print of Hum Dono. “On the day Hum Dono Rangeen was first screened, there were 550 people in the Siri Fort auditorium and just as many outside who had to return home disappointed. Those who saw the revamped film loved it,” reminisces the actor.
He points out that the film’s theme of war is still relevant in today’s troubled times. His favourite cinematic moment is the one of Captain Mahesh Anand bemoaning his lost love and Major Verma talking about the futility of war over a drink. “In ’61, the film was way ahead of its time and not a single shot was cut,” recalls Anand, adding that when he saw the same scene from his first double role in cinemascope, in colour and with digital recording, he felt he was watching a better film.
Hum Dono director Amarjeet was nominated for the Silver Bear at the 12th Berlin International Film Festival. Anand and his two leading ladies, Nanda and Sadhana, accompanied him to Germany. Amarjeet lost the Best Director Award to Francesco Rosi who bagged it for Salvatore Giuliano. But Anand remembers meeting James Stewart at a dinner party and Stewart, who was adjudged Best Actor for Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation, admitted to having heard a lot of good things about the Indian film in competition. “That was my award, since for me James Stewart was Hollywood,” says Anand.
Fifty years later, Anand was the scene-stealer at the film’s premiere last night in Mumbai, given the absence of his leading ladies, Nanda and Sadhana, who he could not coax into coming out of self-imposed hibernation. He says, “They want their fans to remember them as they were 50 years ago but I have no such qualms. Why should I? Dev Anand is still competing with the world!”