Dev Anand, The Most Charismatic Actor of Indian Cinema

AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE By Surabhi Sunil

Looking back on his career in an interview Dev Anand says, “If I wanted, I could have ruled half of Bombay” His fame and stardom was such that this could not be considered as a mere exaggeration. Dev Anand enjoyed immense popularity throughout his lifetime, popularity that did not fade or lessen even in his later days.

Image by Mirrorpix, Courtesy Everett Collection
My life is the same, and I am at a beautiful stage at 88. I am as excited as I was in my 20s. – Dev Anand

Born Devdutta Pishorimal Anand, this legendary superstar is a holder of BA in literature who went on to work as a clerk in an accounting firm for a meagre salary of Rs.85 to make ends meet. He spent many years struggling in Mumbai before getting into acting. He also toiled hard at the Military Censor Office and earned Rs. 160.

The iconic Indian actor Ashok Kumar was Dev Anand’s inspiration to get into acting and he received his first break the Shaheed Latif directed film Ziddi. From there on started his journey to everlasting stardom.

Image by Amit Dave, Reuters
Motion picture making is a very, very involved affair. It is completely my baby. I’m a thorough professional. I plan films right from the conception of an idea to its final execution. – Dev Anand

Dev Anand made the news for his performances and excellent movies but also for his romantic encounters. His romantic journey with one of the most graceful actresses of that time, Suraiya blossomed on the set of their shared film Vidya. This journey however was put to an end by Suraiya’s maternal grandmother as she vehemently opposed the union.

Often called a star more than an actor, his irresistible appeal shone on the big screen and attracted followers nationwide. His charm was immense and made him acquire a reputation for being a ladies man through and throughout. Of course, he did have a substantial amount of male followers as well.

Image by Prashanth Vishwanathan, Reuters
Energy begets energy. If you are lazy, you will always be lazy. And if you retire at 60, you will die at 65. – Dev Anand

Dev Anand played a variety of characters in his six-decade-long career leaving no question of his versatility as an actor. His dedication to his roles and his natural talent made every character he played iconic and a pleasure to watch, be it a gambler, a cop or a poet. His style and way of talking is admired by people of all ages to this day.

The people in the industry, the audiences and even critics frequently regard Dev Anand as one of the finest and most charismatic actors the Indian film industry has had the pleasure to be acquainted with. The actor died in his room at The Washington Mayfair Hotel in London at the age of 88 on December 3, 2011, of a cardiac arrest. He will always be remembered for his passion and energetic nature.