Collated by: Shomini Sen
New Delhi: As the news of evergreen star Dev Anand’s demise trickles in, the nation is gripped with shock and grief. With the persona of a Hollywood star, a career spanning over six decades, the actor was in the true sense a superstar.
Multi talented, Dev Anand was born as Dharam Dev Anand on September 26, 1923 in Gurdaspur district of undivided Punjab. After graduating in English literature from Lahore University, Anand came to Bombay and began his career in the military censor office at Churchgate. Around the same time he joined the Indian People`s Theatre Association (IPTA).
The legendary star got his first break in 1946 in Prabhat Talkies’ ‘Hum Ek Hai’. The film did average business but it got Anand, few very interesting roles opposite a much established actress Suraiya. The duo starred in some very popular films later like Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shair (1949), Afsar (1950), Nili (1950), Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951). It was also rumoured that the actor was in love with the beautiful actress but due to difference in their religion - he was a Hindu, she a Muslim - the families opposed the alliance. Suraiya remained unmarried for the rest of her life.
Interestingly, Dev’s big break came from that era’s biggest star Ashok Kumar. Ashok Kumar offered him the lead in ‘Ziddi’ opposite Kamini Kaushal. The film catapulted Dev Anand in the big league. Post the success of the film, Dev launched his own production house ‘Navketan’ which till date continues to produce films.
Under the banner of Navketan, Dev Anand gave his fans some of the most memorable films starting from Baazi to Guide to Dum Maaro Dum. All these films made Dev Anand a flamboyant but an earnest actor who knew his craft well.
Dev met his wife Kalpana Kartik on the sets of ‘Baazi’ and the couple got secretly married on the sets of their other film, ‘Taxi Driver’ in 1954.
The actor tried different genres of films in his career, from a happy go lucky guide in ‘Guide’ to a detective in ‘Jewel Thief’ to a loving brother in ‘Dum Maaro Dum’.
Dev saab was also instrumental in launching some of the most well-known actresses in the Hindi film industry. From Hema Malini to Zeenat Aman to Tina Munim to Tabu, they all were his discovery.
The actor who was often compared to Hollywood legend Gregory Peck was conferred the Padma Bhusan in 2001 and honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2002.
As the legend himself crooned in ‘Hum Dono’ - “Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, main fikr ko dhuen mein udata chala gaya”, he surely lived his life on his own terms and lived life to the fullest.
Rest In Peace Dev Saab. We all will miss you.