Dev Anand, Bollywood’s evergreen star, who swayed generations of fans as debonair hero and later as a filmmaker in a Bollywood career spanning 65 years, died in his sleep on Sunday, leaving behind a legacy of classics like Taxi Driver, Hum Dono, Kala Pani, Guide, Jewel Thief and Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
For his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, Dev Anand was honoured with the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2001 and Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2002.
Born as Devdutt on September 26, 1923, in the Punjabi-speaking Anand family, son to Advocate Pishorimal, younger and older brother to Chetan and Vijay respectively and one sister, who was subsequently married in the Kapur family, and gave birth to actor/film-maker, Shekhar Kapur, two daughters, Neelu, who was married to actor Navin Nischol, and Aruna who was the wife of Ajay/Parikshat Sahni, son of renowned Balraj Sahni.
His sheer longevity in the industry is remarkable. Dev Anand came to Bombay in the early 1940s, a graduate from Lahore’s prestigious Government College, hoping to make it into films like his idol Ashok Kumar. The elder Anand brother Chetan was already here on the fringes of the emergent industry. The Anand brothers were suave and educated and soon fell in with an intellectual crowd. The younger Anand got a job as a censor in the military post office but his heart was in the movies.
He was offered a role in the 1946 flick ‘Hum Ek Hain’. This is where he stuck a friendship with Bollywood legend Guru Dutt, a young assistant director – Guru Dutt who was to direct him in his first venture Baazi. Ashok Kumar introduced Dev as a leading man opposite Kamini Kaushal in ‘Ziddi’. Thereafter there has been no looking back for the ‘evegreen’ Dev Anand, who went on to star in over 110 movies, spanning from 1946 through to 2005.
In the 40s Dev Anand got offers to star opposite singer-actress Suraiya in woman-oriented films, as the male lead. They fell in love and together gave seven hits Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shair (1949), Afsar (1950), Nili (1950) Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951).
Suraiya’s maternal grandmother opposed the relationship as they were Muslim and Dev Anand Hindu, and so, Suraiya remained unmarried all her life. Dev Anand married Kalpana Kartik and had son Sunil and daughter Devina.
Anand has won two Filmfare Awards – India’s equivalent of the Oscars – in 1958 for his performance in the film “Kala Paani” (Black Water) and in 1966 for his performance in Navketan International Films’ “Guide”. “Guide” went on to win Filmfare Awards in five other categories including ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Director’ and was sent as India’s entry for the Oscars in the foreign film category that year.
Along with bothers went to create a production house Navketan, this production company that went on to make well known films like Baazi, Taxi Driver, Kala Pani, Nau do Gyarah,Hum Dono, Guide, Jewel Thief and Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Each of this films reflected the modern idiom of the day and often the subjects and treatment were ahead of their times. Navketan introduced many actresses to the Hindi screen, from Kalpana Kartik to Zeenat Aman to Tina Munim. It was his company that gave a platform to S.D. Burman and Sahir Ludhianvi and Navketan was where Guru Dutt and Johny Walker debuted.
Dev Anand introduced actresses like Zeenat Aman, Tina Munim, Mumtaz, Jackie Shroff and Tabu to Bollywood.