DEV ANAND AND THE MANY BRANDS HE SPAWNED
The Peter Pan and Gregory Peck of Indian cinema Dharamdev Anand or just Dev Anand romanced the most gorgeous screen goddesses of the black & white era like Suraiya, Kalpana Karthik, Geeta Bali, Nutan & Waheeda Rehman before launching many a stunning face including Zeenat Aman, Tina Munim and Tabu in the Eastman Kodak colour era.
The evergreen, ever-young charmer that he was, Dev Saheb was an epitome of courtesy and old world manners. He knew that ladies would love to hold on to his hands, so he would put on moisturiser on his hands before going to any party. Dressed perfectly for the occasion, girls loved his pinks, oranges and yellows. A very smart shopper, he could select one out of a hundred caps in a nanosecond. His fans often wanted his cap as a memoir, and he would smilingly oblige.
Whatever else you may think of Dev Anand, or the films he took to making in his later years decades, his place in film history and popular culture is assured forever because of the movies he did in the black and white era, and even more so for the songs picturised on him.
Dev Anand’s demand as the lead hero had not decreased even in the 1980s, he decided that it was the right time to introduce his son Suneil Anand in films as the hero. He launched his son in the Kramer vs. Kramer inspired Anand Aur Anand (1984), which was produced and directed by Dev Anand himself and had music by R.D. Burman. He expected the film to do well but the film was a box office disaster and Suneil Anand decided not to act in films any more.
However, films with Dev Anand as the lead hero Hum Naujawan (1985), Lashkar (1989) continued to be box office success and was appreciated by critics. Awwal Number (1990), where Dev Anand co-starred with Aamir Khan became an average grosser. Aamir said in an interview that Awwal Number is the only film he signed without reading the script because it was being directed by his senior Dev Anand. Aamir quoted “Dev saab was an icon for many generations and entertained us throughout his life. He was already 60 years old in 1983 when he acted with Padmini Kolhapure in Swami Dada but looked half his age and shared a good on screen chemistry. In 1989, his directorial venture Sachche ka Bolbala was released. Though critically acclaimed, it was a commercial failure.
His directorial movie “Gangster” (1995) had a controversial nude rape scene of an unknown actress, even then the movie was released uncut. Since the 1990s except for Awwal Number, rest of the eight films directed by him were box office failures. But Sau Crore (1991) and Censor (2000) were critically acclaimed. His last film Chargesheet (2011) was panned by critics across the board. The only two heroes he acted with were Dilip Kumar in Insaniyat 1955 and with Dharmendra in Return of Jewel Thief in 1996.
He also starred in English films like The Evil Within(1970) where he was paired opposite Vietnamese actress Kieu Chinh and Zeenat Aman and Guide (English Version). Of the 114 Hindi films he appeared in 6 decades, Kahin Aur Chal (1968) had a delayed release in early 1970s and multi-starrer film Ek Do Teen Chaar (1980) remained unreleased and Shrimanji (1968) had him in guest appearance and 82 were box office hits and 29 were commercial failures. By 2011, he held the record for being the second actor from Hindi films who has played the central solo lead character in maximum films— 92 , with first being Rajesh Khanna who played author backed solo lead hero in maximum films 106.
Dev Anand is credited with giving actors like Zarina Wahab in Ishq Ishq Ishq, Jackie Shroff in Swami Dada, Tabu in Hum Naujawan and Richa Sharma (Sanjay Dutt’s first wife) a break into the film industry, discovered Zeenat Amaan, Tina Munim and encouraging music composer Rajesh Roshan. Amit Khanna started his career with Navketan as executive producer in 1971 and had been secretary to Dev Anand in 70’s. He adds, “The uniqueness of Navketan today is that it’s the only film company in the world still run by the one who started it.” Shatrughan Sinha disclosed in an interview that it was Dev Anand who gave him a break in films by giving a role in ‘Prem Pujari’ and since Dev had given Sinha a very small role in that film, he compensated for it by giving Sinha another role in his next film ‘Gambler’. Sinha quoted “Later on we worked together in ‘Sharif Badmash’ and it was really a privilege to work with him,”. And under Dev Anand’s Navketan banner Guru Dutt, Raj Khosla, Waheeda Rahman, S.D. Burman, Jaidev, Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Yash Johar, Shekhar Kapur, Kabir Bedi were given breaks into Hindi films.
And he also launched in his later years of his career, actresses like Zaheera, Zaheeda Hussain, Natasha Sinha, Ekta Sohini, Sabrina, Heenee and a host of others.
Dev Saheb’s commendable penchant of giving break to newcomers and whoever caught his fancy, launched many a brand in Bollywood, be it Suraiya, Zeenat Aman, Hema Malini…. Dev Anand became truly a launch pad for many successful cine careers and he continued to churn out movies even in the second decade of the new millennium…
Fridaybrands.com salutes this evergreen doyen of Indian cinema and world cinema. May Bollywood and India produce more such padma bhushans…