Dev Anand was born to a Punjab lawyer on September 26, 1923 and he studied English literature and law. In his 20s, he moved to India's film capital, Mumbai, where he fell in love with acting. He made his screen debut in the Hindi films through Hum Ek Hain in 1946. With his good looks, melodious voice and success in romantic leads, Anand became a Bollywood superstar within just a few years.
During the shooting for the film Hum Ek Hain in Pune, Dev Anand struck a friendship with actor Guru Dutt. They had a mutual understanding between them that is when Dev Anand produced a film, Guru Dutt would direct it and when Guru Dutt directed a film, Dev Anand would act in it.
Dev Anand got an offer to star opposite singer-actress Suraiya, who was a bigger star than him at that moment. He paired with her in seven films like Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shair (1949), Afsar (1950), Nili (1950), Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951), which were all successful at the box office.
Supriya fell in love with Dev Anand after he saved her from drowning in a boat accident during the shooting of the song 'Kinare Kinare Chale Jayen Ge' in the movie Vidya. Later, Dev Anand proposed to Suraiya and gave her a diamond ring worth Rs 3,000 on the sets of the film Jeet. Her maternal grandmother opposed the relationship as they were Muslim and Dev Anand, Hindu. So Suraiya remained unmarried all her life.
In the sixties, Dev Anand acquired a romantic image with films like Manzil and Tere Ghar Ke Samne with Nutan, Kinaare Kinaare with Meena Kumari, Maya with Mala Sinha, Asli-Naqli with Sadhana Shivdasani, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai and Mahal with Asha Parekh and Teen Deviyaan opposite three heroines Kalpana, Simi Garewal and Nanda.
The veteran actor acted in several hit movies like Ziddi, Baazi, Aandhiyan, House No. 44 and Nau Do Gyarah, Taxi Driver, Pocket Maar, Munimji, Funtoosh, CID, Paying Guest, Solva Saal, Kala Pani, Kala Bazar, Baat Ek Raat Ki, Bombai Ka Baboo and Sharabi, Jaal.
The Jewel Thief star also began producing in 1949 and made his directorial debut in 1971 with the popular hippie cult film Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Dev Anand never gave up his career and he had released his latest film Chargesheet just a month ago. He was even working on another script when he died. His nephew and renowned film director Shekhar Kapur tweeted, "He was working one minute. Sat down and smiled. And was gone the next. So much to learn."
However, Dev Anand was also known for his political activism during the Emergency in the late 70s. He led a group of film personalities, who stood up against the Internal Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. He actively campaigned against her with his supporters in Indian parliamentary elections in 1977. He also formed a party called the National Party of India, which he later disbanded.
Dev Anand was often compared to the famous actor Gregory Peck, but he did not feel ecstatic bearing the tag line. Once he said, "When you are at an impressionable age you make idols. But when you grow out of the phase, you develop your own persona. I don't want to be known as Indias Gregory Peck, I am Dev Anand."
However, Dev Anand was a great artist, who entertained movie goers over five decades. He was an embodiment of long passion for acting and filmmaking. He was honoured with several national international awards. With the sudden death of Deva Anand created a void, which can never be filled again.
We, at OneIndia, express our heartfelt condolence to Dev Anand's family. May his departed soul rest in peace.
Story first published: Sunday, December 4, 2011, 16:20 [IST]