What comes immediately to mind when we think of Dev Anand? His youthfulness, yes. Also his flirtatious romances on screen. But most of all, Dev Anand, on screen and off, was all about cheerfulness. His persona was full of enthusiasm and a never say die attitude. He always believed in looking ahead with optimism rather than looking back with regret.
On the occasion of his birth anniversary – he would have been 92 today – the Wire’s team has put together a list of songs that are quintessential Dev Anand, spanning over 15 years.
Taxi Driver (1954)
A young Dev Anand played a cabbie in this Noirish film, which was extensively shot outdoors in Bombay. As the carefree but sensitive Hero, he lives hand to mouth but doesn’t hesitate to spend his last five rupees with his friends riding about in a jalopy.
Rich girl falls in love with poor son of her servant. The villain with an eye on her fortune does not like it. It was a typical romance, with great songs and yes, a long drive too.
Nau Do Gyarah (1957)
Possibly India’s first road film, it is about a lay about, Madan, heading from Delhi to Bombay to collect a fortune his uncle has left him in his will. Unknown to him, a stowaway, Raksha (Kalpana Kartik) is hiding in his ramshackle truck.
Kala Bazaar (1960)
Dev Anand loves Waheeda Rehman who loves someone else. Added complication—he is a small time black-marketer and she is a woman of high principles. Does that stop him from wooing him? No, and he does it with great élan.
Hum Dono (1961)
The song that exemplifies Dev Anand the best—carefree and unmindful of the vicissitudes of life. It is said that the star asked his friend Sahir to write this song for him and about him.
Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai (1961)
As Monto, Dev Anand wins the heart of Asha Parekh, by suddenly popping up whenever she remembers him. A typical mistaken identity story by Nasir Husain, this was among Dev Anand’s biggest hits.
Tere Ghar ke Saamne (1963)
One of the earliest true rom coms, this was set in Delhi, a sharply observed satire on the newly rich who were buying up land in the capital. Dev Anand is an architect who gets a commission to build two identical houses—one for his father and the other, next door, for the latter’s biggest enemy. Naturally, the kids are in love. The marvelous set of the interior of Qutub Miner, in which Dev Anand romances the lovely Nutan, was built in a studio in Bombay.
Jewel Thief (1967)
The rich heiress is off for a picnic to her shack in Powai, when she runs into this fishing enthusiast who refuses to let her car pass. A great caper film, Jewel Thief was full of memorable songs, this one perhaps the best remembered. Trivia enthusiasts will see shades of the theme song from Bridge on the River Kwai, which S D Burman was inspired from.
Prem Pujari (1970)
Dev Anand’s first (official) directorial venture. It didn’t do too well at the box office, but again, Neeraj’s songs and S D Burman’s music elevated the film. Too many great songs to choose from, but this one remains a great favourite.
Johny Mera Naam (1970)
Probably the biggest hit of his career, Johny Mera Naam owes its success to Vijay Anand’s sharp direction and to the music, by Kalyanji Anandji, who were an unusual choice. They rose to the occasion and produced a hit album, accurately catching the mischievous Dev Anand spirit. Hema Malini was the perfect foil.