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Dev Anand: The man who provided glimpse of different foreign countries through his cinematic oeuvre

June 10, 2010 06:05:29 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Whenever the history of Indian cinema would be written with particular reference to the injection of urban elements, or the metropolitan noire on the screen, Dev Anand's name would be included as the front runner. From the time when he made his banner of Nav Ketan films, he was the first man who portrayed the urban issues in a subtle manner on the silver screen. He should also be given credit for having introduced as diverse locations from around the globe that can be provided to the Indian audience. Leafing through the pages of his autobiography, ROMANCING THE LIFE is indeed a store house of information about the manner in which Dev Anand took the Hindi cinema to all the big places and in his own imitable manner opened the platform for Indian cultural exchange.

Dev Anand and Guru Dutt, who honed his teeth under Nav Ketan banner and directed some of the most urban films that Hindi cinema ever produced, became pals when the washer man exchanged their shirts. Right from the first film produced by Nav Ketan, AFSAR, directed by Chetan Anand, Dev Anand focused on urban issues. AFSAR was the first film that brought the issue of corruption in the offices. BAAZI and JAAL followed in the same vein and urban issues of the youth of the times became the hallmark of Nav Ketan films, and it still continues to reverberate with the same ethos, though Dev Anand has lost the touch but the issues continue to be focused on the youth. TAXI DRIVER was the first super hit produced by Nav Ketan and it was followed by FUNTOOSH.

Around this time Dev Anand gave to the world of Hindi cinema new director in the form of Vijay Anand, after his elder brother Chetan Anand left the Nav Ketan to start on his own. Goldie also made a strong debut with NAU DO GYARAH. It was really the first road movie made by Hindi cinema as the film captured the journey from Delhi to Bombay. In fact now is the time to recreate the magic of the road through a modern version of NAU DO GYARAH, one does not know whether ROAD, MOVIE was inspired by the spirit of NAU DO GYARAH, but the basic timber remained the same.

Shooting foreign countries began in a big way with PAYING GUEST which was shot in Switzerland. Innovativeness was the hallmark of Dev Anand's films so the opening scene of KALA BAZAAR was picturised on the premier of MOTHER INDIA. Which film star of the present times would be able to do it today? With JEWEL THIEF he entered into Sikkim, which still was an independent country and it is still the only film that captured the magic of this hill state.

It was with PREM PUJARI that Dev Anand really took on the foreign countries in a big way and it became the underlining feature of his films subsequently. Nepal also emerged as one of the tourist centres of the world after Dev Anand shot HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA and it gave to the world of Hindi cinema Zeenat Aman.

DES PARDES was the first film that brought out the angst and anguish of the immigrants and Dev Anand did the encore of the issue with LOOT MAAR which was shot in the pubs of London. It was probably his last successful film and though he still continues to make movies and shoots them outside the country, the chord that he could establish with his audience earlier is not there. But one thing is for sure, it was owing to Dev Anand that the Indian audience could have a glimpse of the foreign countries in their splendid regality. He never focused on one country, but continued to go to hitherto unexplored locales and for his sheer reason he would be remembered by his fans across generations.

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