Mumbai: He was one of the earliest superstars of the Hindi film industry, long before the term was officially coined by the Bollywood press. With a career spanning over six decades, Dev Anand has earned unconditional love from the audience with his romantic roles, and a dapper image that earned him the sobriquet ‘Gregory Peck of India’. Popular as the stylish loverboy, Dev Anand also dared to play the antihero at a time when most mainstream heroes would not dare doing so.
Saturday was the 97th birth anniversary of Dev saab, as the industry loved to call him. Born in Shakargarh Tehsil, in a part of Punjab that is now in Pakistan, on September 26, 1923, Dev Anand made his debut as an actor with the film “Hum Ek Hain” in 1946. Over the decades, he would venture into screenwriting and filmmaking. One of the Hindi film industry’s greatest actors of all time, Padma Bhushan recipient Dev Anand shares space along with Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor as one of the Triumvirate that ruled Bollywood in the fifties and the sixties.
It is impossible to define Dev Anand in a limited list of films. Still, here is a chronologically arranged list of Dev Anand roles you should check out, if you must understand what the magic was all about:
After “Afsar” (1950), this is the second film backed by Dev Anand under the banner of Navketan Films. He essays a gambler in the film co-starring Geeta Bali and his wife Kalpana Kartik.
Directed by Guru Dutt, the film cast Dev Anand as a character shrouded in mystery. The film, which left the audience impressed with his acting prowess also stars Geeta Bali, Purnima and KN Singh in key roles.
TAXI DRIVER (1954)
Dev Anand plays a taxi driver in the film directed by his elder brother Chetan Anand and produced by their banner Navketan Films. The film also stars Sheila Ramani, Kalpana Kartik and Johnny Walker.
Dev Anand stars opposite Nalini Jaywant in this film directed by Subodh Mukherjee. His character leaves you guessing right till the end of the film. “Jeevan ke safar mein rahi” is a memorable track from this film.
The Raj Khosla-directed crime thriller is one of the highlights of Dev Anand’s career, where he plays Inspector Shekhar. “Aankhon hi aankhon mein” is a popular track from this film.
PAYING GUEST (1957)
Dev Anand plays a lawyer in this Subodh Mukherjee directorial, also starring Nutan. The film is still remembered for its melodious songs “Chhod do aanchal” and “Maana janaab ne pukara nahi”, composed by SD Burman.
NAU DO GYARAH (1957)
In this film, inspired by the American romantic comedy “It Happened One Night”, Dev Anand stars alongside Kalpana Kartik, Madan Puri, Shashikala and Jeevan. This film marked the directorial debut of Dev Anand’s younger brother Vijay Anand.
KALA PANI (1958)
This Raj Khosla directorial is a remake of the Bengali film “Sabar Upaarey”. The film stars Dev Anand alongside Madhubala and Nalini Jaywant.
KALA BAZAR (1960)
Directed by Dev Anand’s younger brother Vijay Anand, “Kala Bazar” casts the actor as a cinema ticket blacker. The film also stars Waheeda Rehman. The film has the iconic number “Khoya khoya chand”.
BOMBAI KA BABU (1960)
The Raj Khosla thriller stars Dev Anand alongside Bengali superstar Suchitra Sen. The film is loosely inspired by O. Henry’s short story, “A Double-Dyed Deceiver”.
HUM DONO (1961)
Produced by Navketan Films, this film stars Dev Anand in a double role alongside Sadhana and Nanda. Melodious songs “Abhi na jao chhodkar” and “Main zindagi ka saath” gained immense love from the audience.
TERE GHAR KE SAMNE (1963)
Dev Anand plays an architect in the self-produced film. Directed by Vijay Anand, the film stars Nutan as female lead. “Dil ka bhanwar” and “Tere ghar ke samne” are popular numbers from this film.
TEEN DEVIAN (1965)
Directed by Amarjeet, the film narrates the story of a poet who falls for three women. The film stars Dev Anand alongside actresses Nanda, Kalpana Mohan and Simi Garewal. “Khwab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat”, “Arre yaar meri tum bhi ho ghazab” and “Aise to na dekho” are a few of the popular numbers from the film’s hit soundtrack.
One of the most widely acknowledged Dev Anand films, “Guide” was produced by the actor and directed by his brother Vijay Anand. The film also starring Waheeda Rehman is adapted from RK Narayan’s novel, “The Guide”. “Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai” and “Gaata rahe mera dil” are a few evergreen numbers from this film.
JEWEL THIEF (1967)
Another iconic Dev Anand film directed by his brother Vijay Anand, and a must-watch for all Bollywood buffs. The film, produced by Dev Anand stars him alongside Ashok Kumar, Vyjayanthimala and Tanuja. “Yeh dil na hota bechara”, “Aasman ke neeche”, “Dil pukare” and “Raat akeli hai” are iconic songs by SD Burman in this film.
PREM PUJARI (1970)
Despite being a massive box office failure, no Dev Anand list is complete without this film, because it contains probably the most romantic song ever filmed on the actor. SD Burman scored “Phoolon ke rang se” on the lyrics of Gopaldas Neeraj and the song was brought alive by the sheer genius of Kishore Kumar. The film, also starring Waheeda Rehman, Shatrughan Sinha and Ashok Kumar, cast Dev Anand as an Army Lieutenant and tried creating drama using a war backdrop.
JOHNY MERA NAAM (1970)
Dev Anand as the hero is a CID officer who poses as the thief Johny to get himself jailed so that he can nab the villain! If that’s not enough for masala entertainment, he also finds time to romance the heroine (Hema Malini) and sing songs (Kalyanji-Anandji) that have stood the test of time.
“Dil aaj shayar hai, gham aaj nagma hai”… SD Burman’s mellifluous score sung by Kishore Kumar defined the dapper Dev Anand at the zenith of his romantic image. The crime drama cast Dev Anand as a local goon and ace card sharp who falls in love with the daughter (Zaheeda) of a top cop.
HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA (1971)
Few films that are a blockbuster at the box office also attain a sort of cult status. Dev Anand’s self-directed, written and produced romantic musical drama saw him return with Zeenat Aman and RD Burman’s superhit score. Anand and Zeenat played siblings in this drama that highlighted the era’s hippie culture and emerging drug menace.
HEERA PANNA (1973)
The self-directed romantic drama cast saw Dev Anand reuniting with Zeenat Aman. He played Heera, a lovelorn photographer, and she was Panna, a jewel thief, in the film that had some priceless musical gems by composer RD Burman.