Dev Anand – Tribute to the undying spirit

Dev Anand in "Jewel Thief"

I was told Dev Anand was one of the great actors in Indian cinema and I grew up with that understanding. Those days the only source of films, film songs’ videos was Doordarshan. And thankfully unlike current telecasting practice of playing only portion of the song, good old DD used to telecast the whole song in programs like ‘Chitrahaar’ and ‘Rangoli’, un-buffered. That was how I got to watch Dev Anand in action, swaying and lip-syncing to some of the fantastic compositions in Hindi cinema. Frankly at that age, I wasn’t impressed.

When in college, with the newfound interest in old Hindi film music and particularly of Kishore Kumar, I watched a lot of songs picturized on Dev Anand. “Phoolon ke rang se..” from “Prem Pujari” is one of my favourites. That is the period when I started watching Dev Anand’s movies. He might not be a brilliant actor or a film maker, but he did bring out movies with themes that were bold and unheard of for those times. His penchant for technology is visible in the excellent cinematography complemented by rich color tones in the movies like “Jewel Thief” and “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”. He also seems to have had a keen ear to music which has resulted in his movies having some of the best soundtracks in Hindi cinema. In collaboration with the likes of S D Burman and R D Burman he has delivered musical hits like “Guide”, “Jewel Thief”, “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”, “Prem Pujari” and “Ishk Ishk Ishk” to name a few. Even as late as 2003 his movie “Love at Times Square” had some wonderful compositions by Lucky Ali.

In "Guide"

The person in front of the camera was no less flamboyant than the one behind it. He had created his own unique style – a fast paced dialogue delivery with varying pitch, a slight tilt of the head and swaying of arms and designer clothes usually with a scarf or headgear. It was impossible to miss Dev Anand’s “mannerisms” in his films. He never tried too hard to do the latest fad of ‘getting into the character’. He played his emotions right and it worked even though you saw more of Dev Anand than the character. His distinction of choosing different themes for his films was also one of its drawbacks, with many storylines never developing beyond the basic premise and resulting in a hotchpotch screenplay. Classic examples are “Swami Dada” and “Awwal Number”. Though his last credit commercial success was “Des Pardes” the film maker in him never seems to have been perturbed by the failures. Till his death in December 2011 he kept making films under his banner ‘Navketan Films’ and talked about his future projects in his last interviews (published as a tribute after his death).

Dev Anand will be remembered always for giving Hindi Cinema some of its classic movies. He will also be remembered for the energy and excitement that kept him active in movies till the end. I had the fortune to watch the colorized version of his 1961 hit “Hum Dono” (titled “Hum Dono Rangeen”) in cinema in 2011 and I remember the song “Main zindagi ka saath nibhatha chala gaya…” in the film. I think the song in a way described the legend Dev Anand was.

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~ by Jayanthan Ravi on January 17, 2012.

2 Responses to “Dev Anand – Tribute to the undying spirit”

  1. Good.. You just liked as others would like him… Anything more than this would have branded you into a different group.. LOL.. Just kidding.. It was nice read..

  2. […] Image Source […]

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