By Denzil Fernandes
Dubai, Dec 4: Popularly known as the “Evergreen Romantic Superstar” of Indian cinema is no more. He breathed his last following a cardiac arrest at the ripe old age of 88 in London where he had come for a medical check up.
When one goes back into Dev Saab’s non stop foray into Indian cinema one can only appreciate his energy wherever he was involved in the film making. At the prime of his career, he established his won film production company called ‘Navketan International Films’ in 1949 and brought out at least 35 movies.
But the movie which made everyone wear that fancy hat and hum those tunes was surely ‘Guide’ which went on to win the Filmfare award in 1966. In fact, ‘Guide’ also went on to win in five other categories including “Best Film” and “Best Director” awards. Earlier too Dev Anand had bagged the prestigious Filmfare award as early as 1958 for his great role in ‘Kala Paani’.
Dev Anand never rested in his attempts to give a romantic mood to all his films. He time and again found new stars and in a way had his own style of making films which were accepted by the masses. Films like "Jewel Thief ", "CID", "Johny Mera Naam", "Amir Garib", "Warrant", "Hare Rama Hare Krishna”, "Des Pardes", “Paying Guest” are clear testimony to his ability to come out with super hits that are even seen today.
Awards never stopped coming his way in recognition of his brilliant work in Indian cinema. He received the Filmfare “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 1993 and the Screen Videocon “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 1996. Later in 2001, Dev Anand was honoured with the prestigious the 'Padma Bhushan' and 'Dada Saheb Phalke Award' in 2002.
Coming from a family involved heavily in cinema making, Dev’s other brothers Chetan Anand and Vijay Anand are also active in Indian cinemea. This apart, famous film director Shekar Kapur happens to be his sister’s son.
Even at the ripe old age of 88 Dev Anand was active in film making. At the time of his death, he was preparing to direct and act in a new All American musical love story called “Song of Life” which was to be shot in the United States with an American star cast primarily.
Just as he was getting ready to release his new murder mystery “Charge Sheet” in September earlier he shared some parts of his secrets of his long life. He said, "I hold myself, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't over-eat, I am not a glutton. I have light breakfast, I try to skip my lunch, I love chicken though. I am a lot into fruits. I love papaya, custard apple, litchi, but I eat only when I am hungry." He continues, "I have never done yoga asanas or any other exercise but my life has been very yogic because I am fit when I am projecting myself. I have been working for so many years but even today when I go to bed I am thinking, 'Oh, I should have given that shot this way'."
There was never a lull in his life. As some said, he was an incurable romantic all the way. When asked what kept him going he quickly said, “I am a loner. I am not in the crowd all the time. I socialize to meet new people and write about them. But you have to isolate yourself from the world when you're writing. I like to be all by myself. Mujhe maza aata hai. Padta hoon, likhta hoon, picture banata hoon. Picture banane ka maza hi kuch aur hai. (I like to read, write and make films. Filmmaking is a drug in itself).
There will never be another one like Dev Anand. He lived life in his own way deriving huge joy in all that he did. Blessed with that trademark smile and slanted style of walking the great ‘jewel’ of Indian cinema will be pleased that he achieved much more than he expected. As Amitabh Bachchan said, “An era has come to an end”. Anupam Kher called him “An institution of optimism”.