On His Birthday September 26, Subhash K Jha Selects 10 Favourite Dev Anand Starrers
Bambai Ka Babu(1960)—An absolute knockout of a movie directed by the very gifted RajKhosla. Khosla directed Dev Anand in a number of films from CID in 1956 to Shareef Badmash in 1973. Bambai Ka Babu portrayed a subtly incestuous relationship. Dev Saab played a fugitive on the run who pretends to be the son of a rich wealthy couple and falls in love with the daughter(Suchitra Sen). In the end Dev Anand had to send off the woman he loves to her sasural as his sister ! The song Chal ri sajni still echoes on our hearts. A must-see.
Hum Dono(1961)—The dramatic film about look-alikes who were not twins(and that was unusual) who swap lives . The film saw Dev Anand don a double role with much gusto. Yup, the moustache helped. But Dev Anand remained Dev Anand no matter what he played.And he seldom used disguises. His pairing here with Sadhana seemed blessed by divinity. Hard to say whom Dev Saab paired the best with Sadhana, Nutan, Waheeda Rehman ,Raakhee orHema Malini.
Johnny Mera Naam(1970)—Another double role for Dev Anand.And what a glorious comeback he made after the debacle of his directorial debut Prem Pujari. Johnny Mera Naamwas a compelling kitsch concoction about two long-lost brothers, several villains and a vamp who stripped for Premnath to the sound of an Asha Bhosle song Husn ke laakhon rang that to date remains the most suggestive song-and-dance ever shot in a Hindi film. Vijay Anandmade sure every song highlighted Dev Saab’s ebullience nonchalant attitude to matters of the loin. Come to think of it this was Dev Saab’s sexiest film ever.
Tere Mere Sapne(1971)—A year after the classic kitschy tale in Johnny Mera Naam VijayAnand directed his star-brother in this sensitive film about a doctor’s descent from nobility to corruption Mumtaz(who stepped in at the last minute to replace Sharmila Tagore) revealed herself to be one our finest dramatic actresses. The film is suffused with the sounds of sorrow and romance, regret and nostalgia. Its failure broke Dev Saab’s heart.
Hare Rama Hare Krishna(1971)—By far Dev Saab’s best film,this was a director was a charming tender story of siblings separated by squabbling parents(Kishore Sahu and AchalaSachdev). Shot in Kathmandu, the film has an aura of mystery and tragedy surrounding the plot and characters.Dev saab and Zeenat were perfect as siblings, so perfect that all subsequent attempts to cast them as romantic leads collapsed.
Rahi(1953)—One of Dev Saab’s unknown gems . Based on litterateur Mulk Raj Anand’s story The Wayfarer the film about the relationship between British colonists and Indians was shot in a neo-realistic light by progressive intellectual director K A Abbas. Very seldom did Dev Anand step into the territory of the unwaveringly experimental cinema. He did so in Rahi. The film was internationally celebrated .Dev Saab and his leading lady Nalini Jaywant went to Russia with the film. It blew the Soviets’ minds. Nowadays the film is hardy ever screened at any Dev Anand festival.
Jewel Thief(1967)—Vijay Anand loved casting his star-brother in roles about dual personalities. In Jewel Thief Dav Saab played his own character’s double who didn’t exist. To find out just how that worked you had to go through a goldmine of gorgeous girlsVyjanthimala, Tanuja, Helen,Fariyal… and terrific songs climaxed by the breathless Hothonpe aisi baat where Dev generously allowed his leading lady to take centrestage.
Paying Guest(1957)—Nutan and Dev Anand were fantastic together. They did two lovelyrom-coms. I prefer Subodh Mukherjee’s Paying Guest to Vijay Anand’s Tere Ghar KeSamne. Both the wonderful stars were younger and looked so much in love under the fake studio moon.
Kala Pani(1958)—Dev Anand as man out to prove his jailed father’s innocence exuded so much intense determination that you wondered where and how he found those gaps in his mission to romance the very lovely Madhubala and Nalini Jaywant. Raj Khosla’s new best how to tap Dev Anand’s arrogant romanticism.
Guide(1965)—Finally the film that defines Dev Anand’s career. Raju the Guide who guides Rosy’s career into stardom and falls deep into the morass of corruption and damnation came alive as real character, blemishes and all. This is the one film that would keep Dev Anandalive in cinema forever.