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Dev Anand: Iconic blend of style and exuberance

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Mumbai:Legendary romantic superstar Dev Anand enthralled the cinegoers over five decades with his inimitable rapid fire dialogue delivery and nodding mannerisms, that has become a cult style statement.

Born on September 26, 1923 in Gurdaspur, now in Pakistan, Dharam Dev Anand was the second of three brothers who were active in Hindi Cinema.

A Hindi cinema actor, director and film producer, Dev credited many feathers to his cap.

His brothers Chetan and Vijay Anand were well known directors of their time and sister Sheel Kanta Kapur, is the mother of renowned Hindi and English film director Shekhar Kapur.

Dev was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2001 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2002 for his contributions towards Indian cinema.

Dev graduated in English literature from the Government College, Lahore, (now in Pakistan).

He began his career in the military censor office at Churchgate, Bombay, for a salary of Rs 200. Later he joined his older brother Chetan as a member of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA).

He was soon offered a debut as an actor by Prabhat Talkies to star in their film Hum Ek Hain (1946). While shooting for the film in Pune, Dev struck a friendship with another fellow legendary actor Guru Dutt. They had decided between themselves that if one of the two becomes successful first in film industry then they would help the other to be successful. It was a mutual understanding between them that when Dev Anand produced a film, Guru Dutt would direct it and when Guru Dutt directed a film, Dev Anand would act in it.

In the late forties Dev Anand got a few offers to star opposite singer-actress Suraiya in woman oriented films, as the male lead.

Dev Anand considered himself to be lucky to get a chance to star opposite such an established actress and accepted the offers.

While shooting these films, he became romantically involved with Suraiya. The two of them were paired in seven films together – Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shair (1949), Afsar (1950), Nili (1950), Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951), which were all successful at the box office.

Dev was offered his first big break by Ashok Kumar. He picked him as the hero for the Bombay Talkies production, Ziddi, co-starring Kamini Kaushal (1948) which became an instant success.

In 1949, Dev turned producer and launched his own company Navketan (which mean newness), which till 2011 has produced 31 films and continues to produce movies even today.

During the making of film Taxi Driver, he fell in love with the leading actor Kalpana Kartik, to whom he married later.The couple had a son, Suneil Anand and a daughter Devin.

Dev became a style icon in films like House No 44, Pocket Maar, Munimji, Funtoosh, C I D and Paying Guest. He tasted every genre in his career from mystery, thrill to romance.He won his first Filmfare award for Best Actor for film Kala Pani(1958).

His first colour film, Guide with Waheeda Rehman was based on the novel of the same name by R K Narayan won special accolades.

The presence of his ‘discoveries’ in the 70’s Zeenat and later, the Tina Munim in films and his good chemistry with beautiful young stars like Rakhee, Parveen Babi, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman in various films boosted Dev’s image as the evergreen star even though he was well into his fifties.

Dev Anand has also been politically active. He led a group of film personalities who stood up against the Internal Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. He actively campaigned against her with his supporters in Indian parliamentary elections in 1977. He also formed a party called the National Party of India, which he later disbanded.

His successful run at the box office continued in the 1980s with Man Pasand, Lootmaar(both opposite Tina Munim), Swami Dada(1982) being both critically acclaimed and box office hits.

Dev Anand has directed 19 films and produced 31 films of which seven directorial ventures and 18 films respectively were commercially successful at the box office. He wrote the story for 13 of his films.

Dev Anand’s films are well known for their hit songs. He shared a special rapport with singers and musicians of his time.

In September 2007, Dev’s own autobiography “Romancing with Life” was released at a birthday party by the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

In February 2011, his 1961 black and white film Hum Dono was digitised and colourised and released. (UNI)

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