Bubbling with life

Cult Figure

Bubbling with life

Memorable Performance : Dev Anand in ‘Hum Dono’.

In 1962 , Uttam Kumar was watching Hum Dono with apt attention at Roxy Cinema, Kolkata. After the show, he commented spontaneously, ‘I will never compare my performance in Uttarayan with that of Dev Anand in Hum Dono. We both have our individual acting styles and never imitate anyone. Dev Anand is superb in Hum Dono.’

Bubbling with enthusiasm

The fact is that Hum Dono was actually a take off on Uttam Kumar’s Bengali classic, Uttarayan and the storyline was well conceived by writer Nirmal Sarkar. “I am glad to learn that an icon like Uttam Kumar spoke so highly about Hum Dono,” Dev Anand smiles sitting casually at his Navketan office in Khar West, Mumbai.

His most convincingly performed double role in Hum Dono earned him a lot of critical acclaim. The film also celebrated its silver jubilee in many centres across the country and was selected as the official entry to the Berlin Film Festival in 1962, where the likes of James Mason praised the film. Come December 17, the coloured version of the classic will be released internationally.

Octogenarian Dev Anand is bubbling with enthusiasm prior to the release of this experimental venture of his. He flashes his legendary smile and says, “This new version of Hum Dono has been worked upon by Legend Films of USA, frame to frame.

And I assure you the colours won’t distract the viewer as they match the texture and mood of the film perfectly. I am sure it will be accepted whole-heartedly again by the audience as its theme, music and cinematic values are evergreen.

There are brilliant performances by Nanda and Sadhna, haunting melodies by Jaidev and above all, an excellent script and direction by my younger brother Vijay Anand who directed almost all my memorable films including Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, Guide and Tere Mere Sapne.”

Close to Hum Dono, Dev Anand’s latest film Charge Sheet will also see the light of the day by this Christmas. Dev Anand says with determination, “It is a modern day murder mystery which also highlights corruption in the police force. It stars Jackie Shroff, Riya Sen, Naseeruddin Shah (as the mafia don), Amar Singh in an important cameo of a home minister and myself.

I perform the character of a retired CBI officer who is falsely convicted and thereby unfolds a breathtaking drama. Following the true tradition of Navketan, there are rich melodies by two new music directors and I have introduced three new actors in the film.”

Dev Anand till date remains the only active actor, writer, producer and director who has continuously carried on making films based on concepts he strongly believes in, in spite of repeated flops. The eternal optimist in him speaks with conviction.

“A flop can never dishearten me and stop me from making films the way I want to. No director can predict how his film will fare at the box-office. I am very hopeful that Charge Sheet will hit the bull’s eye as it is a well made film.”

Dev Anand, a cult figure formed the eternal trio of Indian cinema along with illustrious contemporaries, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar in the late 40s, 50s and 60s. His divine looks, smile and style made him the darling of millions, a sort of popularity the Khans today can never imagine of.

Under the guidance of efficient and sensitive directors, he performed a variety of characters in super hits like Bazi, Taxi Driver, Kala Pani, Hum Dono and Guide equally well as any leading actor of his times. He shifted to writing and directing with Prem Pujari in 1970 and gave memorable directional ventures like Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Des Pardes.

Discovering new talent

Dev Anand has performed with resounding success with almost all leading ladies of the Hindi film industry ranging from Suraiya to Tina Munim. How does Dev Anand analyse this 65-year journey in the industry?

He thinks for a while and answers, “It has been an interesting journey with so many happenings, anecdotes, ups and downs. Leading actresses like Geeta Bali, Madhubala, Nutan, Waheeda Rehman and Hema Malini have given their best opposite me earlier.

I am proud to have discovered Zaheeda, Zeenat Aman and Tabu as I always like to experiment with new faces and talent.” In fact, Guru Dutt, Raj Khosla, Vijay Anand and Amit Khanna all received their coveted breaks courtesy, Dev Anand.

Why does literature no more form the backdrop of his films as they did earlier?  Dev Anand has given his best when he has taken up a literary theme to be portrayed on celluloid.  He has a ready answer to the question, “I am an avid reader of literature even today. My inspirations have been Romain Rolland and Pearl S Buck.

I have recently concentrated on contemporary issues which interested me to film them. If a literary work of recent times inspires me, I may certainly film it after obtaining the rights of the book.”

Is he planning a sequel to Hare Rama....?  Dev Anand answers, “Two years ago when I visited the hotel in Kathmandu where we shot Hare Rama..., I was thronged by a huge number of enthusiasts, who performed on memorable numbers of my film to honour me.

This incident inspired me to think of a film with a contemporary backdrop in the same location with a father, daughter angle and my script is almost ready.”

Does he not remember his illustrious brothers who once gave their best for him? “Very much. Both Chetan and Vijay were highly dynamic and talented and my life story is incomplete without mentioning them,” he signs off.

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