Dev Anand, fondly called ‘Dev Saab’, was the first really ‘cool’ hero of the Hindi silver screen.Known as the Adonis of Indian cinema for his charismatic personality, he cast his cinematic spell over generations of Indian women.
The late actor-producer-director left behind a legacy of very entertaining films. On his 100th birth anniversary, let’s celebrate the evergreen legend’s cinematic journey with eight little-known stories from his life.
Worked as a clerkBorn Dharam Dev Anand on 26 September, 1923, Dev Anand spent his early years in Gharota village of Punjab. At 20, he came to Mumbai to become an actor.
Before he got his first film ‘Hum Ek Hain’ in 1945, he worked as a clerk in an accountancy firm for a meagre salary of Rs 85 per month to make ends meet.
His screen idol was the one who gave Dev Anand his first movie hitA chance encounter with Shaheed Latif on a train took him to Bombay Talkies Studio for a meeting that changed his life.
There, he met Ashok Kumar, who offered him the leading role in ‘Ziddi’. When asked about his remuneration, Dev Anand gave an answer that sealed the deal for him: “My fee will be people saying that you have given the industry a star.”
‘Banned’ from wearing black suitsWhether it was the puff of hair on his crown, his bright scarves, or crisp white shirts teamed with loose, exquisitely-tailored pants, Dev Anand’s style had women swooning over him.
Impressed by his signature style, female fans started sending him letters in their blood and jumping off buildings, especially after seeing him in a black suit. He was then banned from wearing a black suit in public.
When love blossomed between Dev Anand and SuraiyaThe duo fell in love after a dramatic incident during one of the film shoots when their boat capsized and in true Bollywood hero-style, he saved her from drowning.
He proposed to Suraiya on the sets of Jeet but because of the inter-religious match, they could never get married.
The terrific troika of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev AnandDespite their professional rivalry, the trio shared a warm personal relationship and ruled Indian cinema in the 50s and 60s.
Even though Dev Saab was ill, one of his last wishes was to meet his peer Dilip Kumar on his birthday. Sadly, he passed away on 4 December, 2011 — just a week before Dilip Kumar’s birthday.
The first international collaboration of Indian cinema‘Guide’ was among Dev Anand’s best works ever. It was made in both Hindi and English.
The English version of Guide, written by Pearl S Buck and directed by American Tad Danielewski, was screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
When Dev Anand met Charlie ChaplinDuring his college days, Dev Anand had seen Chaplin’s film ‘The Great Dictator’ and deeply admired it.
In 1954, he got the opportunity to meet him in Switzerland where Chaplin had settled down. Dev Anand visited him as a part of an Indian delegation.
When he met the legend, he couldn’t help but raise his arms and exclaim, ‘Hail Chaplin!’ Chaplin burst into laughter before replying in the same spirit, ‘Welcome to my white house!’
Fostering new talentThe warm-hearted superstar launched many aspiring actors and directors to Hindi cinema including Zeenat Aman, Shekhar Kapur, Yash Johar, Guru Dutt, and more.