Whenever the history of Hindi cinema would be written Dev Anand’s name would emerge as the shinning beacon in the list. He is the personality that has always advocated about the issues concerning the youth of the country and has been at the forefront of spreading the spirit of youthfulness through his more than 100 films oeuvre that he has given to the world of Hindi cinema. It is altogether a different matter that he does not get the same adulation from the audience as he used to get earlier on, but he continues to persevere and ploughs his lone furrow.
His autobiography, “Romancing with life” is indeed the work where the spirit of romance pervades in its abundance. He also holds the view that no acting school can provide training to a person to become an actor; it is a by-product of inner talent. No wonder, he could provide the success to his son Sunil Anand, though he launched him twice over, may be, we all are Dhritrashtra in one way or other and Dev Anand cannot be faulted if he tried to do it for his son.
Though he might not have been able to make a success out of his son, but he has given so many luminaries to Hindi cinema that his contribution would continue to be etched in golden letters. Among the personas that he gave to Hindi cinema include, Guru Dutt, Kishore Kumar, Sachin Dev Burman, Raj Khosla, Saahir Ludhianvi, R D Burman, Zeenat Aman, Tina Munim, Tabbu, Richa Sharma, Jackie Shroff, etc.
When he had decided to leave his home in 1940s at the 19 years of age, he never looked back. Born in Gurdaspur in Punjab, when he had gone to Amritsar to buy medicines for his mother, and was having ice candy at the shop, the Sikh shop owner had predicted that “tere matthe chand haiga, tu vahut vadda banega”. Indeed the prophecy proved to be true.
Dev Anand is one film maker who keeps on changing the location of his films to entice his audience and keep them engaged through the novelty of the landscape. This could have to do with the love for philately that he had. He had an enviable collection which he had to sell off to buy food for himself in his days of pecuniary during his initial days in Mumbai. He had developed friendship with Guru Dutt in a rather strange manner. The washerman had exchanged their clothes and that is how they became acquainted to each other and Dev Anand had promised Guru Dutt in Pune that when he would launch his studio he would give Guru Dutt the chance to direct the film. Indeed, when Nav Ketan was launched (Dev Anand’s production house) Dev Anand invited Guru Dutt to direct Baazi and rest is history. Incidentally, screen play and dialogue of Baazi was written by Balraj Sahni.
The noire films that are considered an in-thing today was mastered by Dev Anand as all his characters had the share of noire in one form or the other and that could be the reason why he is affable. When his film Taxi Driver was released all the taxi owners of Mumbai lined up for its premier. The scene was never repeated again in the history of Hindi cinema.
Most of the films that Dev Anand made had an element of strong association and affinity with the road, a sense of vagabond so to say. It was reflected in the characters of a taxi Driver, a pick pocket, etc. He also made a film Nau Do Gyarah that launched his younger brother Goldie Anand, it was a film that was shot on road from Delhi to Mumbai through the eyes of a truck driver and it was really the first road film of Hindi cinema.
He was an urban man and all his characters reflected a distinct sense of urbanity. The songs in Dev Anand’s films were characterized by a longer gap between the prelude and interlude which was used by him to shoot the landscape in a vivid manner.
He was the first producer who went to Sikkim to shoot Jewel Thief, at a time when Sikkim still was an independent country. In the same manner he contributed in his own way for popularizing Nepal as a tourist destination in international circuit when he shot Hare Ram Hare Krishna. The greatest feeling of satisfaction came to him when a father from US after seeing Hare Rama Hare Krishna walked up to him and told him that he could find his daughter who he had thought had just vanished.
A man who is 146 films young still continues to make films with the same passion and may his passion remain unebbed. His life’s philosophy continues to be guided by the song from his film “Main Zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya”. Indeed this should be the motto of the life.
By: Suman Rai