Dev: the ultimate guide

 By Neena Badhwar

Dev Anand, the suave, debonair evergreen actor of Indian cinema is no more. He passed away in London at the age of 88 when he was there holidaying for a couple of weeks. Dev Anand died peacefully in his sleep of a heart attack. Dev Anand’s film career spanned six decades when he came to Mumbai in the mid forties as a young handsome man fresh out of college with stars in his eyes. He struggled yet reached heights that no one would ever even dream of as he got his first break in 1946 with ”˜Hum Ek Hain’.

His movie ”˜Guide’ in 1965 was a classic movie which withstood the test of time as Dev Anand said that the huge wave of clapping response he got when the movie was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 that the film still held huge appeal. The message on the essence of life, suffering and one’s total surrender to the divine was portrayed so well that Dev Anand carried the role and the dialogue in the culminating scenes of ”˜Guide’ made him immortal although he died in the movie.


“Mere Bachche dukh se ghabra mat”¦dukh woh amrit hai jis se paap dhulte hain”¦main tujhse door nahin hoon”¦tere andar, bahar, main hi main hoon”¦sirf main”¦sirf main”¦”,

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Dev spoke the dialogue with the divine light in the movie. A tremendous peace came upon his face”¦and he looked totally tranquil”¦having come face to face with himself”¦.and his divinity”¦

Dev Anand’s ‘Guide’ was my first experience of the journey of the self through a Bollywood movie.

I hadn’t read books on self discovery and hadn’t yet gone through the complexities of life. Still, ‘Guide’ made me search myself.

I saw it again”¦and yet again”¦and, of course, as life played its difficult cards on me”¦things which made me question myself. I still play ‘Guide’ now and again and do not miss when the TV channels like SBS play the movie they have acquired. It gives me an opportunity to self reflect and thus be guided.

The scenes are now permanently imprinted in the memory. But every time the film is played, a new meaning is discovered and new questions raised.

I want to see the scene again where Waheeda, who doubted Dev of forgery and swindling, goes looking for him along with thousands of villagers the so called Mahatma fasting to bring rain. As she walks to the village along with crowds she sheds in the process all her material possessions, one by one, pieces of jewelry she is wearing, as it is extremely hot. Then she lets go of her doubt and the ego as she approaches Dev”¦ and goes through   her own realization about her own follies.


Dev Anand stole our hearts from the time of Suraiya in ”˜Afsar’ as she sang the famous ‘Naina Deewane’. She, too, fell in love in real life with this tall, lanky, awkward looking guy who was even shy to put his arms around her (on the screen, I mean). Suraiya gave in to her dominating mother and threw Dev’s engagement ring into the sea that Dev had given her.

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Soon came Kalpana Kartik, a Simla beauty who crooned such excellent songs with Dev”¦’Aankho main kya ji’”¦ ‘Kali ke roop mein chali ho dhoop main’ as the audience traveled the whole of India with Dev singing ‘Hum hai rahi pyar ke’. Kalpana also fell heads over heels in love with this supreme debonair Dev Anand who was now very popular with his movies such as ‘Baazi’ and ‘Jaal’. She ran away with this prized guy to Europe somewhere to marry him.

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Dev played his charms in his own unique way – his smile with the gaps in his teeth”¦ ”¦the way he delivered his dialogues”¦his cigarette smoking devil-may-care attitude; he won the heroine’s heart without mauling or teasing her as a Shammi or Dilip or a Raj Kapoor would do. If I was Geeta Bali, I will feel the same for this handsome guy playing his guitar in the song ‘Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan”¦’ What memorable songs Navketan films produced between the three brothers, Chetan, Vijay and Dev Anand!

Dev’s reel journey took the movie lovers through 105 of his movies as he went from heroine to heroine – Kamini Kaushal and Suraiya in the forties; Mala Sinha, Geeta Bali, Geeta Rai, Nalini Jaiwant and Nutan in the fifties; Sadhana, Nanda, Waheeda Rahman, Tanuja and Vaijayanti in the sixties;   Hema Malini, Mumtaz in the seventies; Zeenat Aman, Tina Munim and Richa Sharma in the eighties”¦and so many new girls, gorgeous to the core ”¦.hung around Dev Anand”¦Natasha Sinha, Ekta”¦

Dev was never short of ‘deviyans’, not only ‘teen’ (three) but umpteen from around the world who went after him to get a break in Bollywood. Yet, he said in an interview, “I have faced so many losses in personal life and in this business people try to rein me in, if I listen to them”¦main khatam ho jaoonga”¦.”

“So I write”¦I create”¦my solitude helps me to pick up something of greater interest”¦ or I may travel abroad, meet new people, see new places”¦that gives me inspiration for creativity. ”˜Aise karke detachment develop ho gayi.’ The trick is to look forward with excitement; then you’re alive all the time”¦that’s the way to be perennially young,” he said.

This handsome, romantic hero whose career has spanned seven decades, yes seven”¦is no more.   Its unbelievable that he is not among us any more. He was there always with us young, youthful and energetic always creating, always thinking and moving ahead. He published his autobiography ”˜Romancing with life’ last year which was a sell out as he poured out about his life, his actresses and his movies.

I am sure that he is planning a bigger movie Up there. His creative spirit still working while here we are left with images and excellent repertoire of movies he left for us to see again and again and remember him always.

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