Dev Anand

Dev Anand was born Devdutt Pishorimal Anand in Gurdaspur, Punjab, the middle son of a well-to-do advocate. He was very shy and was always bullied by girls. He graduated in arts in 1942 from the government college in Lahore and went to Delhi to work as a clerk for two months before he came to Bombay in search of a break in the film world. In Bombay, he stayed with his elder brother late Chetan Anand and took up a job in the wartime British censor office where he worked as a clerk for two and a half years. All through this period, he visited the studios and film offices of the city seeking the break which nobody was keen to give him.

His first acting assignment came with Prabhat's Hum Ek Hain (1946) but the film didn't do anything at all for his career. Ziddi (1948) at Bombay Talkies was Dev's first success. The following year he turned producer and launched his own banner, Navketan. Navketan's first offering was Afsar (1950) starring Dev and lady love Suraiya and was directed by elder brother Chetan. The film however flopped at the box office.

The Suraiya-Dev Anand romance was the talk of the town. The team emerged as the most sought after by producers and distributors and they starred in seven films together and almost all of them were successful at the box office. However their romance ended as Suraiya could not take a stand against her strict grandmother.

After Suraiya went out of his life, Dev met Mona Singha later remaned Kalpana Kartik and they fell in love. She became his heroine in Baazi directed by Guru Dutt. With Baazi Dev Anand shot to fame. The film, written by actor Balraj Sahni, was a trendsetter of sorts leading to the spate of urban crime thrillers Bollywood churned out in the 1950s.

Dev Anand married Kalpana Kartik on January 3, 1954, on the sets of Taxi Driver at Model studios. After her marriage Kalpana worked in two more films with her husband, House Number 44 and Nau do Gyarah.

In 26 years from 1950 to 1976 Dev Anand made 22 films under the Nav Ketan banner. His other notable films were Jewel Thief, Heera Panna, Prem Pujari, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Johnny Mera Naam, Sharreef Badmash, Tere Mere Sapne, Chupa Rustum, Ishq Ishq Ishq and Janeman. Dev Anand has starred opposite all the top leading ladies of the 40s and 50s including Suraiya, Kamini Kaushal, Nargis, Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nimi, Geeta Bali, Nalini Jayawant and Nutan.

Dev Anand won a Filmfare award for his superb performance in Raj Khosla’s film Kala Pani (1958). Hum Dono (1961) saw him excel in a double role and Guide (1965) saw a perfectly nuanced performance from him, perhaps the best of his career. The character of Raju Guide was yet another shaded character he played. Dev played him with just the right shade of grey - humanizing him with all his faults yet getting the audience to sympathize with him. It was a wonderful performance fetching him his second Filmfare Best Actor Award.

Dev Anand entered the 1970s on a high with Johnny Mera Naam (1970) and also took to direction with Prem Pujari (1970). His best efforts in this field were Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971) and Desh Pardes (1978). The film launched the career of Zeenat Aman. Other heroines he has launched include Tina Munim (now Ambani), Natasha Sinha and Ekta. He also tried to launch his son Suneil with Anand Aur Anand (1984) but was unsuccessful.

On January 26, 2001 Dev Anand was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Indian Cinema and the latest feather in the cap of this evergreen hero is the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Dev Anand continues to make films today and though his last few films haven't been successful he just keeps on going with amazing energy.

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