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Dev Anand: Era of romanticism comes to an end with passing away of father figure of romance

December 5, 2011 05:01:59 PM IST
Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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For a man who epitomized the free spirit of the soul and never agreed to it being bound by rules and traditions, manifest from the cinematic repertoire of more than five decades that he has left behind for his fans, even god decided that his death should come at a place where it would be difficult even for his fans and well wishers to express their tribute to him. After all, he never took anything from the world but continued to give, whether it is in the form of talents, in forms of innovative locations or in form of immortal music that was created under his baton. So Dev Sahab, as he was popularly known, breathed his last in London, a city which formed an integral part of his cinematic oeuvre from PREM PUJARI, to LOOT MAAR and scores of subsequent films, and had a last laugh, the crooked smile, of leaving everything behind, seven seas away to march on to a new location possibly to shoot for a new film as now he would be with his original team comprising of Sachin Da, Rafi Sahab, Pancham, Kishore Kumar, Sahir Ludhianvi etc.


Migration was a theme of his cinema, migration from root to new moorings, so logically the migration from Gurdaspur, which began in early forties came to a befitting end in London, an important destination still, for those who dream of making their place in the sun, and in passing away in London, Dev Sahab underlined the spirit of Punjabiyat which now reverberates through all the nook and corners of London.

He was the man who could communicate romance through his eyes, and it was probably this innate ability, owing to which generations of the female type continued to eat out of his palms, if he decided to extend his elfin charm. It was the magic of his eyes on the silver screen that gave romance a new idiom, and romantic songs the eternity that still is a feat unachieved, and would continue to be his signature statement for all times to come. The magic of his eyes was the result that from the actors like Suraiya to Nutan to Asha Parekh to Mona (his wife) to Sadhana to Mumtaz, Zeenat Aman, Tina Munim, all drowned in those mesmerizing eyes.

Apart from being the romantic, he was the man who celebrated the city life, in particular the life of the average citizen on the streets of Mumbai, and the manner in which he interpreted the life as it panned out on the streets has no comparisons, be it TAXI DRIVER, CID, FANTOOSH, BAAT EK RAAT KI etc. He was the first director who weaved a miasma of magic for the streets of Mumbai and encouraged generations to come and try their luck on those streets.

Dev Anand was also one of the first actors who had the courage to bring those who are on the wrong side of the law as main character, and he always had a sociological interpretation for those who erred with law, be it JAAL, BAAZI, CID or KALA BAZAAR for that matter. He had the guts to etch out such characters in his films in the very beginning of his career and unconsciously created a tremendous fan following among the urban poor, down trodden and the unwanted, and this fan base continued to lap up Dev Sahab's creations for all times to come.

As a producer, when he set up his production house, Dev Anand, did the unthinkable. He started shooting in romantic locations around the world, and the feat that he achieved in the song, 'Phoolon Ke Rang Se' in PREM PUJARI would be the first such songs that spanned across countries in three stanzas and never failed to mesmerize, be it through the choice of location, the syncing of the accompanying paragraph or the visual element forming the landscape.

He also was the first director who consciously made it a point to include children from various locations where he shot around the world, sub-consciously underlining the fact that he still had zest for life like a child, and the inquisitiveness to continue to explore the world through his Panavision camera.

If one were to talk about his contribution in popularizing the richness of Indian ethos expressed through multiple colors across the country, he was the first actor who celebrated the vivacity of Indian life in all its colorful hues, through the garments that he selected for his films. Most of the clothes that he sported in his films, as also in his personal life had rich tone, a celebration of richness of life, for him the choice of colors represented his fascination for kaleidoscopic colors that the country represented. He oozed style, be it through the coats that he wore collars turned up, or the felt hats, the assortment of scarves that he wore and made it a necessary accompaniment of the wardrobe of a male or the corduroy trousers that he established as his leitmotif, Dev Anand was indeed the first fashion icon of the country.

Legends like him come once in a life time that are sent with the mandate to spread Anand, the eternal quest of happiness, which he continued to search through his films, and till the time the Indian cinema continues to flourish, name of Dev Anand would be a shinning beacon. May be as a fitting tribute to the yeomen contribution of this man, he ought to be conferred with posthumous Bharat Ratna award, as he single handedly celebrated India around the world for decades altogether which no one else has done till date. His soul would continue to smile, the buck toothy smile on the fans and aficionados of cinema, romance and for the zest of life.

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