The legend Dev Anand was born as Dharam Dev Anand on 26th September 1923 and left for his heavenly abode on 3rd December, 2011. However most people still decline to believe that the legend has really passed away; to most Dev Anand lives on. The novelist Shobba De posted on twitter “Can hear Dev Anand crooning ‘Gaata rahe mera dil’ to a 16-year-old apsara in heaven. Great location, Dev saab. Get ready for yet another close up!” The zest and love that this man had for life and its various facets is truly impeccable. He indeed knew enjoying every fleeting moment of life. Dev Anand had a career spanning more than six decades with his first release Hum Ek Hain in 1946. Ever since then he has been an enigma all over the Indian Cinema fraternity.
With his God gifted looks often compared to that of Gregory Peck’s, Dev Anand had always been successful in setting the screen ablaze. His brand of intellect and style had revamped the entire Indian Film Industry and helped him earn the hearts of many. Dev Anand has given us some wonderful memories in terms of his films. He has excavated all genres of modern cinema be it crime, drama, thriller or comedy. Out-performing himself with every film, he had romanced women like no one else. Some of his films which shall always occupy a special position in our heart are as follows:
- Guide: Directed by the respected Vijay Anand Guide was a milestone film in its era. Considered to be based upon the novel ‘Guide’ by R.K Narayan this film took the level of Indian cinema to a different height all together. The film had one of the best screenplays of all the time. It proved to be a box office blockbuster. The film bagged seven Filmfare awards for the Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actor, Best actress, Best Story, Best Cinematographer and best Dialogue. This film explores the emotional bonding that develops between Raju, a freelancer tourist guide played by Dev Anand and Rosie, the wife of an archaeologist on a research work. How the relationship degenerates because of Rosie leaving her husband and becoming a popular star? And how the innocent Raju has to bear the brunt of it all? The intricate plot design coupled with the soulful music of S.D. Burman is a treat both to the eyes and the ears. “Aj phir jeene ki tamaana hain” by Lata Mangeshkar is a personal favorite.
- C.I.D, produced in 1956 was another blockbuster movie of its time. The movie was directed by Raj Koshla and produced by Guru Dutt. Waheeda Rahman was a debutante in this movie. Dev Anand plays the role of Inspector Shekhar in this film. He tries to uncover the murderers responsible for the death of his friend Shrivastav, a newspaper editor. Kamini, Waheeda Rahman doesn’t have a very meaty role but she does her best in whatever little she is offered. The music of O.P. Nayyar seems to be the best link in the movie. “Kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana”by Shamshad Begum is a classic.
- Johny Mera Naam produced in the 1970’s is an out and out action packed film. The plot or the storyline seems a little too weak in today’s setting and does not appeal to my sensibilities. However there is no denying the fact that it is regarded as a classic Dev Anand movie. In fact it was the highest revenue grossing Bollywood movie of the 1970s.
- Jewel thief was produced in 1967 by Navketan flms which is Dev Anand’s home production house. It was directed by his brother Vijay Anand. Dev Anand plays the character of Vinay in the film. He is the son of a Police commissioner who is constantly mistaken for being Amar, a perilous thief. Vinay in order to help the police decides to impersonate Amar. The plan however falls straight on the face, and Vinay is struck. He is dragged into a devious plan by Amar. This makes him lose his memory, sanity and identity. He becomes the eye sore of every police officer and gets a life of rejection. The film has a very gripping story line which keeps you tied to the edge of your seats. It also boasts of some top notch performances by Vyjayanti Mala, Ashok Kumar and Tanuja Faryal. The film proved to be a major box office hit. Soulful music by S.D Burman is still fresh in our minds. Songs like “Yeh dil Na hota becharaa” by Kishore Kumar, “Rula Ke Gaya Sapna mera” by Lata Mangeshkar are the best till date. And there are no words to describe the sheer genius of Asha Bhonsle in “Raat Akeli Hai” or Lata Mangshlkar in “Hothon pe aisi baat”. Such soulful renditions were the only reason why the film bagged the Filmfare Best Sound Award. Tanuja also received the Fimfare nomination as the Best supporting Actress for this film. All in all this was a path breaking film of those times and I do enjoy it thoroughly even to this date.
- Hare Rama Hare Krishna is a 1971 Indian film Directed by Dev Anand himself. The film is loosely based against the backdrop of the International Hare Krishna Movement of the 1970s. The film shows a Montreal based family of four. However due to some irreparable differences between the husband and wife, the family breaks apart. The wife comes back with her son, Prashant to India, whereas the father and daughter stay back. Prashant grows up to be a pilot. He later receives a letter from his father informing him of his sister’s escape to Kathmandu to join the hippies. The film shows how Prashant retrieves his sister from the addiction to the hippies and drugs. The act earns him a lot of enemies and the film shows how Prashant successfully combats all of them. This film was instrumental in making Zeenat Aman a star overnight and helped her earn a huge fan following. Two songs “Phuloka taro ke sabka kehna hain” and “Dum Maaro Dum” are eternal classics and still played on till today. Asha Bhonsle infact had received The Fimfare Best Female Playback Award for “Dum Maaro dum”.
- Prem Pujari is a 1970 film both produced and directed by Dev Anand. The film shows a peaceful and quaint Dev Anand who loves being with the nature. However his father sends him off to the Indo-Chinese border to fight for his country. Dev Anand is initially reluctant but as time passes by he realizes his patriotism for his country and gets involved. The film revolves around this invocation of the patriotic feeling. Though this film did not do exceedingly well at the box office, some songs like “Rangeela Re”, “Shokhiyon Mein” and “Dil ki Kalam Se” have kept the film alive in our memory.
- Heera Panna is again a film under the banner of Navketan Films produced, directed and written by Dev Anand himself. The film has a simple plot. Heera (Dev Anand) loves Reema (rakhi) but she dies in an airplane accident. Heera is left with nothing but his photography. During one such shooting, a Costly diamond is stolen by Pann (Zeenat Amn) and hidden in Heera’s car. Heera while trying to handover Panna to the police gets to know that she is Reema’s younger sister and the story unfolds. The song “Panna Ki Tamana Hain” by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshker was a chartbuster. Though not a very big hit, it had a good collection at the box office.
- Gambler can be categorized under the genre of being a Bollywood thriller. It released in the year 1971 and was directed by Amarjeet. The character of Raja played by Dev Anand is abandoned by his biological mother at a very tender age. Raja grows up with a master from whom he learns about the tricks of gambling. Later when acquitted for the murder of the same Master there is a final showdown at the court room. Raja gets to know about his family. The film has a power packed performance by Dev Anand. He succeeds in getting into the skin of the character. The film was quite a success.
- Hum Dono is a 1961 film written by Vijay Anand and directed by Aamrjeet. The plot is that Mahesh Anand is a look alike of the dead Major Verma both played by Dev Anand. Mahesh Anand is mistaken as Major Verma by his mother and sick wife, which puts Mahesh in a moral dilemma. The film is was a major box office hit. The music is composed by Jaidev in the film is incredible. The music was probably one of the biggest USP’s of this movie. Dev Anand had also received the Fimfare Best actor nomination for this film.
- Taxi Driver is a 1954 movie directed by Chetan Anand with Dev Anand and Kalpana Kartik in the lead. The film has the beautiful Mumbai of the 1950s as the backdrop and Managal as a taxi driver. The film harps on the romantic feeling that Mangal develops for the lead actress. It doesn’t have a very good plot or storyline compared to the films of today. However it was a success in that era, and earned S.D. Burman the Film fare Award for Best Music Director.
This basically is a list of the ten best movies of Dev Anand. And watching even one of these will make you realize what a great loss we have encountered in the form of this versatile actor.