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Dev Anand, the Immortal Legend

Dev Anand : Still from movie Hum Dono (1961)
Dev Anand : Still from movie Hum Dono (1961)

Yet another great loss to the Indian Film Industry, we lost Dev Anand today! Cannot believe that death can even touch a man with such a spirit. His life was an expedition and is an inspiration to the coming generations. Though there are not enough words to summarize his life and his work, we are trying to touch few milestones as a tribute to him.

Dev Anand, the 'evergreen romantic superstar' of Indian cinema, was born as Dharam Dev Anand  on 26 September 1923 in Shakargarh Tehsil of Narowal District, Pakistan. His father Pishori Lal Anand was a well-to-do advocate. Dev was the second of three brothers, older Chetan Anand and younger Vijay Anand born to Pishori Lal Anand. Dev's younger sister is Sheela Kanta Kapur, who is mother of Shekhar Kapur. Dev graduated in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore, Pakistan.

Dev Anand left his hometown and came to Mumbai in the early 1940s. He was soon offered a debut as an actor by Prabhat Talkies to star in their film Hum Ek Hain (1946). Dev Anand got a few offers to star opposite singer-actress Suraiya in woman oriented films, as the male lead during which he fell in love with her. Dev Anand finally proposed to Suraiya on the sets of film Jeet (1949) but since her maternal grandmother opposed the relationship, they never got married. 

Dev 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, costarring Kamini Kaushal (1948) which became an instant success. In 1949, Dev turned producer and launched his own company Navketan, which till 2011 has produced 31 films.

A rapid-fire style of dialogue delivery and a penchant for nodding while speaking became Dev's style in films like House No. 44, Pocket Maar, Munimji, Funtoosh, C.I.D. In the 1950s his films were of the mystery genre or light comedy love stories or were films with social relevance. In the sixties, Dev Anand acquired a romantic image with films like Manzil and Tere Ghar Ke Samne . His first color film, Guide with Waheeda Rehman was based on the novel of the same name by R. K. Narayan. He tasted success with his 1971 directorial effort, Hare Rama Hare Krishna which talked about the prevalent hippie culture. The presence of his discoveries in the 70’s— the Zeenat and later, the Tina Munim in films and his good chemistry with beautiful young stars like Rakhee, Parveen Babi, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman in various films boosted Dev's image as the evergreen star even though he was well into his fifties.

Dev Anand has directed 19 films and produced 31 films of which 7 directorial ventures and 18 films respectively were commercially successful at the box office. He wrote the story for 13 of his films. He is known to have been an active participant in the music sessions of a number of his films. His association with music composers Shankar-Jaikishen, O. P. Nayyar, Kalyanji-Anandji, Sachin Dev Burman and his son Rahul Dev Burman, lyricists Hasrat Jaipuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Neeraj, Shailendra, Anand Bakshi, and playback singers Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar produced some very popular songs.

Among the long list of awards given to Dev Anand features, the Padma Bhushan (2001), India's third highest civilian award and Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2002), India's highest award for cinematic excellence. In September 2007, Dev Anand released his own autobiography Romancing with Life at his birthday party.

Dev Anand Saahab's death has left a void in the heart of the Acting World. He will always be known for his positive attitude towards life and the great contributions he has made to the Indian Cinema. His work will always be the source of inspiration for the budding actors. May his soul rest in peace. You will be truly missed Dev Saahab!

One of very famous songs featuring Dev Anand and Madhubala - Achcha ji main haari


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