At 10pm on Saturday at Washington Hotel in London’s upmarket district of Mayfair, there was chaos all of a sudden. Outside, two ambulances pulled up. Two paramedics rushed into the hotel lobby. The receptionist shouted “Room 207”. The paramedics headed for the lift with their first aid equipment. But in suite 207, it was all over. The legendary Dev Anand had passed away after a massive heart attack.
Dev Anand was a man who truly knew how to live in the present, and work toward the future. Who, in his eighties, irrespective of hits, flops, criticism, even open mocking laughter at his latest ventures, still found the time, the energy and the inclination to make movies; whose irrepressible indomitable spirit probably never heard the word ‘impossible’. That was Dev Anand. Debonair, impeccable, handsome Dev Anand.
It is very easy to divide Dev Anand’s career – his “black and white” phase, where his directors (usually his brother Goldie) mostly reined in his tendency to go over the top; and his colour films, a majority of which were unbearable to watch, as the once nattily-dressed star gave way to his narcissist and became more and more flamboyant, and even garish. And while his later films only proved that he did NOT have a director’s vision, his plots, his themes, were topical and, more importantly, original.
It’s hard to believe that he is no more. His legacy will live on, in his films, his songs, our memories of a man who never said die. This post is dedicated to the spirit of that irrepressible, indefatigable, immeasurably charming man who embodied life.
These are songs, in my opinion, which embody the spirit of an actor who has given me countless hours of entertainment.
“Tadbeer se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer Banale”(Baazi)
Ever the gambler, this song is so typical of Dev Anand’s philosophy. This is what he did, as he continued to make films one after another, irrespective of their fate at the box-office. Baazi was Navketan’s first big hit, and it gave an impetus to the careers of everyone associated with it – Guru Dutt, Geeta Bali, Dev Anand, S D Burman, and Sahir Ludhianvi.
“Yeh Raat Yeh Chaandni Phir Kahan” (Jaal)
Hemant Kumar too, suited Dev Anand as his voice. The picturisation of this song is unique. Dev and Geeta Bali are in two different buildings, but Geeta’s reaction to the song is wonderful.
“Jeevan Ke Safar Mein Rahi” (Munimji)
Kishore Kumar was Dev Anand’s voice just as much as Mukesh was Raj Kapoor‘s. The first song of Kishoreda’s career was sung for Dev Anand, in the film Ziddi, which was a milestone in Devsaab’s career too. The song was “Marne Ki Dua Enky Unmangoon, Jeene Ki Tamanna Kaun Kare”. For Dev Anand, “Jeevan Ke Safar Mein Rahi” will always remain the ode to his deep friendship with his alter ego, who delighted in playing Dev Anand in the recording studio. “Aur De Jaate In Hain Yaadein, Tanhai Mein Tadpane Ko”. These lines could as well stand for how Devsaab’s admirers feel today.
“Hum Hain Rahi Pyarke” (Nau Do Gyarah)
Nau Do Gyaarah was Vijay (Goldie) Anand’s first film for Navketan. It was one of the earliest of road movies, as Dev travelled around the country in a ramshackle truck. This is another song that exemplifies Devsaab’s philosophy of life. “Dhoop Thi Naseeb Mein, to Dhoop Mein Liya Hai Dum, Chaandni Mili To Hum Chaandni Mein So Liye”. What a nice way to live life.
“Hai Apna Di Toh Awaara” (Solva Saal)
The lyrics are so typical of how Dev Anand liked to be perceived. Here he was, romancing the loveliest of ladies on screen; and off-screen, thousands of his female admirers were romancing him!
“Hum Bekhudi Mein Tumko Pukare Chale Gaye” (Kala Pani)
Listen to this just for the magic of Rafi’s voice. It is amazing how voice, tune and melody are so completely in sync that you almost miss the accompanying instruments. Unlike most kotha songs, this one is very quiet, very gentle on the ears, the music just there, depending mainly on Mohammed Rafi’s golden voice to provide the poignancy. It is almost as if Sachin da reserved his best compositions for Navketan. In my opinion, he gave the best Dev songs to Rafi.
“Uparwala Jaan Kar Anjaan Hai” (Kala Bazaar)
One of my favourite Dev Anand numbers, this one has him sighing for the impossible. Each line he sings is cloaked in unmistakable meaning. The girl in question is Waheeda Rehman. She is in the berth above him and he puns magnificently on “Uparwaala Jaankar Anjaan Hai”… The innocence in his expression when he sings that line is too good to be true.
“Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya” (Hum Dono)
According to Dev Anand, this was the underlying philosophy of his life. “Jo Mil Gaya Usiko Muqaddar Samajh Liya, Jo Kho Gaya Main Us Ko Bhulata Chala Gaya”. That was certainly how he lived his life – always looking forward to what he could do next. He certainly came to be associated with the lyrics, so evocatively written by Sahir Ludhianvi.
“Ye Aankhein, Uff Yumma” (Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai)
While “Jiya Ho, Jiya Kuch Bol Do” from the same movie, is a far more popular song, this one is my personal favourite. Because Rafi is at his playful best here. It is amazing how he could modulate his voice for each actor. And it makes me wonder why Dev Anand switched to Kishore Kumar instead.
“Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar” (Hum Dono)
.what else can I say? It’s what I first felt when I heard that he was no more.
“Tu Kahan Ye Bata” (Tere Ghar Ke Saamne)
This is not a philosophical song, but to me, this is the song that comes to mind when I think of Dev Anand and romance. A misty night, Rafi’s honeyed voice, Dev Anand’s charm and Nutan‘s glowing smile that lights up the night. This was Dev Anand at his romantic best. (The other song that brings romance to mind – in a quieter, more subtle fashion – is “Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kahan Ho Tum” from Patita.)
“Din Dhal Jaaye Haye, Raat Na Jaaye” (Guide)
One of Dev’s finest performances, the song expresses his conflicted emotions perfectly – regret for love lost, sadness for what will never be again, bitterness over seemed betrayal, and over and above it all, there is heartbreak – Tu Toh Naaaye Teriy Aad Sataaye… Add the picturisation, which cleverly uses the balustrade of the staircase to emphasise the emotional barrier between Rosie and Raju, and the sadness and desperation on Waheeda’s face as she listens to his evident distress, and you have a timeless classic on your hands.
“Ye Dil Na Hota Bechara” (Jewel Thief)
Only Dev Anand could make a plastic fish look cool. As he walks along happily in the middle of the road, not allowing Tanuja to pass. He finally ends the song, sitting on the bonnet of her car. SD based this tune on the Colonel Bogey March from “Bridge on the River Kwai”.
Dev Anand cannot die, because he refused to die, Even in death, he’s probably more alive than many of us who are still living. He definitely lived life better than any of us have, or ever will. Full of zest, full of enthusiasm, no regrets. He also went the way he would have wanted to: “I would, when the bell tolled for me, just want to vanish away, like a whiff of air into the breeze that blows, a flicker of the flame of the fire that burns, or like a drop of water in the stream that flows. I would never, never want to be seen dying… or dead.” (from his autobiography, Romancing With Life).
A Tribute to DevAnand…