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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dev Anand: The Indian Actor Legend No More!

He was loved for his handsome appearance, he was loved for his stylish acting, he was loved for his rapid-fire style dialogue delivery, he was loved for his typical gait and he was loved for his unique dress code invariably consisting of a hat and a scarf wrapped around his neck. Dev Anand—the legendary actor of Indian cinema—passed away early morning today in London due to a cardiac arrest. He was ever young at 88 and was in London for a medical check up for the past few days. End of an era.
He was born in 1923 and till 1989 he continued to be the hero of Hindi movies beating in the race Raj Kapur and Dilip Kumar with whom the formed the famed trio ‘Raj-Dilip-Dev’ in the early fifties. He debuted as an actor in the Prabhat Talkies movie ‘Hum Ek Hain’ in 1946 and his active career spanned an incredible 65 years till his demise. His lasting image as a beloved romantic superhero started growing since the early fifties.

A romantic song sung by Mohd. Rafi for Dev Anand.





He established his very own and dear movie company called ‘Navketan Films’ in 1949 and went on to make more than 30 movies discovering new talents all the time till his last production ‘Chargesheet’ in 2011. As he continued to be the hero for his productions his search was always for talented heroines to fit the theme, the presentation style and of course, him. Zeenat Aman was one of his finest discoveries who was chosen for a hippie style girl for his ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’(1971) which along with his color film ‘Guide’ (1964) are regarded as cult films and major landmarks in Hindi cinema.


Dev Anand had two celebrity brothers—elder brother Chetan Anand and younger brother Vijay Anand—both of whom were distinguished filmmakers and award winning directors. In the early years of Navketan Films Chetan used to direct the Dev Anand starrers and later moving away to form his own film production company. Younger brother Vijay Anand then took up the reasonability of directing Navketan productions out of which the most memorable mega hits were ‘Kala Bazaar’ (1960), ‘Jewel Thief’ (1967) and ‘Johny Mera Naam’ (1970). He also directed ‘Guide’ which was his most critically acclaimed movie. Unfortunately both of Dev Anand’s brothers preceded him in death. 


A restlessly energetic and creative soul, Dev Anand took to direction too in the early seventies and went on to direct 17 movies till the end. Some of his movies were disasters in the box office, but that never dissuaded him from his constant search for newer themes and fresh talents.  Gregory Peck of Hollywood had been his idol and comparisons were always made calling him Gregory Peck of India. 
We saw this hero from our birth and grew up with his movies loving him for his stylishly different acting, dresses and get-ups and his singing sweet and delicate dancing around with his leading ladies. We witnessed this superhero comfortably crossing over from black-and-white to color frames and always adopting with the changing times, values and perceptions. And yet retaining his true-to-heart charms and frolicking antics. We called him ‘Devanand’ ignoring the separation between first and surname.


The legend leaves us now. But the legend remains forever in the silver screen and in our hearts. Tributes and prayers to Dev Anand. As he sings out ‘I’ve always gone ahead happily with life…’ (Song by Mohd. Rafi) 


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