It was around 1943 when India was still dreaming about freedom, this 19 years old young charming boy Dev arrived at the city of dreams with pockets full of 30 Rupees and eyes full of dreams! Dream of ruling the empire of Hindi cinema, which he definitely saw coming true. Born on 26 September 1923 in Gurdaspur, Dev followed his elder brother Chetan Anand’s steps and came to Bombay.
Prabhat Talkies offered him ‘Hum Ek Hain’ in 1946, but it was ‘Ziddi’ in 1948 which was offered by the actor he admired Dadamoni Ashok Kumar. This film gave him that ‘ big break’ in the industry and then there was no turning back. It was the first film of Kishore Da as a playback singer. Perhaps, he was a lucky charm for Dev Anand or vice versa. Because this duo later created a history together we all are aware of!
Born as Dharamdev Anand, he had already dropped ‘Dharam’ from his name. Religion did not really matter to him. We can get this indication from his love interests. Firstly, Suraiya whom he loved so intensely that he left no stone unturned to marry her despite Suraiya being a Muslim. But just like many, Suraiya’s family cut down the strings of their delicate bond and this story was buried alive. Mona Singha was Christian whom he renamed as Kalpana Kartik witnessed the success of films under ‘Navketan’ banner with him. They secretly got married on the set of ‘Taxi Driver’ (1954). This marriage made her quit films to become a homemaker.
This hero actually defined the meaning of word ‘hero’. He was urban identity, confident, immoral who smoked, befriended girls so freely. He was a person who always cared about his appearance. He always lived well-dressed. Carefully puffed up hair, formal shirts with blazers were his trademarks. He always used to spread cheeriness around him. He used to say “I don’t have time. I have many things to do. Speak fast!”
From Baazi (1951), Taxi Driver (1954), Kala Pani (1958), Hum Dono (1961) to Guide (1965), Johny Mera Naam (1970), Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971) he actually got younger with time. The excitement and hard working nature never let him sit quite. This made him introduce young talent to Bollywood. How can we forget the major discoveries Zeenat Aman and Tina Munim?
Somewhere people loved younger Dev Anand more than the other. But that did not make him stop. He actually breathed, ate and lived cinema. Just like his song ‘Main Zindagi ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya’ he kept flowing along with his life.
Written by Medini Kajarekar
Walking through the pages to find home in words.