He was 88 years old but remained an evergreen hero to millions of his fans throughout the world. His films, spanning more than five decades, are still among the most watched on television, DVD, You Tube and other electronic media.
Born on September 26, 1923 in Gurdaspur (now in Pakistan) Dev Anand was a graduate in English Literature. His initials jobs were at the postal department of the Colonial Government and as an accountant in a private firm.
He entered the film industry with the release of ‘Hum Ek Hain’ in 1946. However, the box office success of ‘Ziddi’ in 1948 catapulted him to fame.
His Navketan International was a torchbearer in film production and distribution.
Dev Anand used the banner to introduce new directors and actors, among the first of who was Guru Dutt. He defied critics of being a ‘Gregory Peck Shadow’ and went on to establish his own brand of mannerism and acting.
His two brothers were also legendary producers and actors. Chetan Anand, who was the eldest of the three, directed a number of successful films such as ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Hanste Zakhm’ while younger brother Vijay (Goldie) turned out a number of hits including ‘Guide,’ ‘Jewel Thief’ and ‘Johny Mera Naam.’
After a much-publicised liaison with actress Suraiya, which was bitterly opposed by her family, Dev Anand married his co-star Kalpana Kartik (aka Mona Singha) in 1954.
A turning point
‘Guide,’ released in 1965 became an all time favourite of the Hindi film industry.
Based on a popular novel by R K Narayan, it was also made in English, directed by Pearl Buck.
Romantic heroes owe a great deal of their success to good music. Dev Anand was no exception; right from his initial films like ‘Kala Bazaar’ to ‘Des Pardes,’ nearly all his films boasted of soulful music, mostly composed by S D Burman and later by his son R D Burman.
Dev Anand turned director in 1970 with ‘Prem Pujari.’
‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna,’ was one of the most successful films under the Navketan banner. Released in 1971, it brought beauty queen Zeenat Aman to stardom and established his nephew Shekhar Kapoor as a promising director.
He also introduced Tina Munim (now married to business tycoon Anil Ambani) in Des Pardes in 1978.
An ageing Dev Anand returned to limelight in 2007 with ‘Romancing with Life,’ his biography.
Generations of cine-goers have grown up watching one of the most enthusiastic and positive stars in their lifetime.
His departure will undoubtedly create a void in the Hindi cinema.