Happy Birthday Dev Anand!

I know, he’s dead.  But that’s no reason not to celebrate his life!  Especially because Dev himself seems like someone who was always down for a celebration.  So, here are 12 random reasons to celebrate!

1.1. He became friends with the brilliant director Guru Dutt because they used the same laundry service and their shirts got mixed up.  They formed a pact that whoever made it big first would help the other, Dev requesting Guru to be his director or Guru casting Dev as his star.

2. He had a romance worthy of film with the singing star Suraiya.  A much bigger star than he when they were first cast opposite each other, they fell in love after he saved her from drowning when the boat on which they were filming a love song capsized.  After secret notes and meeting rendezvous, culminating in a 3,000 rupee diamond ring and a proposal, Suraiya’s grandmother forbade the match because Dev was Hindu, and Suraiya never married.

3. He started the classic crime trend of the 1940s/50s with his films like CID and Baazi (both with Guru Dutt, keeping their friendship pledge).

4. Of course, we have to watch the song that lead to the Suraiya love affair!  The boat does look very tippy.

5. Baazi also had the luminous Geeta Bali, who had her own film-worthy life, showing off her charm and spunk in songs like this.

 

6. But CID had the best songs, including this classic which Karan Johar pays tribute to in the title of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

 

7.  In 1948, Dev founded his own studio, and made 35 films over the next several decades.  While Dev may have been a brilliant actor, his brothers were no less talented, joining him as director and screenwriter and stories that have stood the test of time in depth and complexity.

8.  The greatest, and most groundbreaking, film that Dev produced was Guide.  A US-Indian co-production, filmed simultaneously in Hindi and English, it was not only a great artistic achievement (very deep story with themes of feminism, rural versus urban India, and all sorts of other cool things), but it was a huge industrial leap forward.

9.  And he just kept acting!  While his fellow heroes of the 40s, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor, changed to character parts, Dev was still the hero.  With his distinctive scarf and smile and loose-wristed gestures, he made girls swoon well into his 50s.  And, were he still alive at age 93, I am sure they would still be swooning today.

10.  I first saw Dev in Jewel Thief, and I fell in love with him in this song.  Sure, he doesn’t have much to do, but he has a kind of Cary Grant-ish way of being suave and flustered at the same time.

 

11. And years later that charm is still in place with Hema Malini in Johnny Mere Naam.

 

12. And all of this is why, in both the song from Rab Ne Bana Dil Jodi and in life, Dev Anand is second only to Raj Kapoor in creating big crowdpleasing cinema.

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