Happy Birthday Dev Anand! A Dozen Reasons I Love You!

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! (this is an updated and reposted post from last year)

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. (and inspired a 4 part series from me)

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 94, 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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3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Dev Anand! A Dozen Reasons I Love You!

  1. There are a lot of things I read about Dev Anand that reminded me ShahRukh. He started to direct his own movies at the age of 46 (the first one had been a flop and is cult now, he also wrote it). The second one he wrote, produced, acted in and directed was a success…he was 54 when he worked on it…so, maybe, in two years…and Dev was also one who gained in charisma at that age.

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    • That’s interesting! Generally Dilip Kumar is the comparison people use. But I don’t think Dilip ever started his own studio, and he switched to doing character roles at a comparatively young age, so Dev might be a closer fit now.

      On Tue, Sep 26, 2017 at 4:13 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • There is indeed a deep connection between Dilip saab and ShahRukh as ShahRukh filled two voids in Dilip’s life: the son he never had and the younger brother who died in 1974…and for ShahRukh, Dilip is a bridge to the only tentative offer his father has got to work in Hindi movies (1959) which was for Mughal-E-Azam. Like so many things his father professionally tried, he did not pursue this possibility although he had the looks and also support in the industry.
        Personally, I think that this failure, ShahRukh’s resemblance to Dilip saab and his mother’s affection for Dilip saab triggered the wish in his mother that he became a star and infused ShahRukh with the positive energy and the inner fire he needed to become one. When he got to know Gauri and fell in love with her, he also got to know that Barry John and his TAP rehearsed in Gauri’s school, so…well, the rest is history, isn’t it?

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