Devanand: The actor who romanced life, who was adored by three generations of women

 If the word style icon could be used for any one person in Hindi cinema, it was Devanand.

If the word style icon could be used for any one person in Hindi cinema, it was Devanand.

Speaking in a special way, walking with a crouch, tight trousers, a scarf around his neck, a baggy cap on his head and eyes looking into your eyes - this was Evergreen Devanand, a young man of 88 years.

He once said that he would remain young for cinema. He proved it too. Born in Gurdaspur in 1923, Devanand traveled from Lahore to Bombay in July 1943 by frontier mail with Rs 30 in his pocket.

He did not even dream that India would be partitioned within four years and he would have to wait 56 years to go to Lahore again.

Talking about himself, Devanand once told the BBC. 'I did BA Honors in English from Lahore Government College. I wanted to do masters but my father's financial condition was not good. He wanted me to do a job in a bank etc. I bought a third-class ticket for Frontier Mail and reached Bombay. I struggled for two years. In 1945, I signed my first film, which was called Hum Ek Hain. I was very new, but I had the intelligence, I had college education. I used to speak very well. People were very happy to meet me. When I used to laugh, people used to go crazy. When I got a break, I didn't look back.

Promise made to Guru Dutt

During his government college days, Devanand Hafeez used to hum a lot of ghazals of Jalandhari Abhi Toh Main Jawan Hoon. Mohan Churiwala, a close collaborator of Devanand, recalls, "When he made the film Hum Both in 1961, he requested lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi to write a song on the lines of 'Abhi To Main Jawan Hoon'. Sahir wrote the song in the same meter, 'Abhi na jaon chhod kar ki dil abhi bhara nahi', which became very popular.

Churiwala explains, 'Gurudutt was Devanand's earliest and closest friend in the film world. One day he promised Dev that if I become a director, you will be my first hero. Devanand also replied with equal enthusiasm that if I will produce a film, then you will be its director. Devanand remembered this promise and when Navketan Films decided to make Baazi, he gave the responsibility of directing to Guru Dutt. '


Lalitmohan Joshi says, if you watch Baazi, you will get an idea of ​​how they selected people for that film. This was Guru Dutt's first direction. Balraj Sahni wrote its script. Sahir Ludhianvi came there. SD Burman came, Zohra Sehgal came. Devanand had a vision. He could imagine how a big film could be made.

 Love Affair with Suraiya


Devanand and Suraiya's Ishq is one of the best love stories in Bollywood. Remembering this, Devanand told the BBC, 'From the very first day, both of us started liking each other. She was a big star. They had big cars... there was Cadlac, there was Lincoln and I used to go on foot. I was young. It was very presentable and I had a lot of confidence. Our friendship kept on growing.


Devanand and Suraiya's Ishq is one of the best love stories in Bollywood. Remembering this, Devanand told the BBC, 'From the very first day, both of us started liking each other. She was a big star. They had big cars... there was Cadlac, there was Lincoln and I used to go on foot. I was young. It was very presentable and I had a lot of confidence. Our friendship kept on growing.


But this friendship could not reach the stage of marriage. Devanand bought a diamond ring for Suraiya from Zaveri Bazaar in Bombay. But Suraiya's maternal grandmother Badshah Begum did not like this relationship.

Renowned film historian Raju Bharatan writes in his book 'A Journey Down Melody Lane', 'Suraiya took me to the balcony of Krishna Mahal, her home on Marine Drive, and told me how her grandmother had taken the ring given to Devananda by Marine. Was thrown into the sea of ​​drives.'


But Devanand gave a different description of it in his autobiography 'Romancing with Life' and wrote, 'Suraiya took my sent ring in front of the sea. Looked at her with love for the last time and threw her away into the waves of the ocean.'


The guide was ahead of time

The peak of Devanand's career was the guide film. The film, based on the novel by RK Narayan, received critical acclaim all over the world and was sent to India for the Oscar award.

Mohan Churiwala explains, 'The guide was made by Dev Saheb in two languages. First he wanted to give the responsibility of directing it to his elder brother Chetan Anand. But he was making reality in those days. Then he wanted to take Raj Khosla as a director. But there was some problem between him and Waheeda Rehman, so that idea also had to be abandoned.


Churiwala explains, "In the end, he chose his younger brother Goldie Anand for this. He said that the story would have to be rewritten, as the subject of the film was extramarital affairs. He rewrote this script. Made that, whose ending was different from the book of Narayan. That picture was way ahead of its time. After watching again and again, people understood what Dev Saab wanted to say in this film.


Waheeda Rehman always said that there is no better film for her than this. Initially, RK Narayan Sahab was also angry about the filming of this film but when he was shown this film, he was very giddy. He said that you have definitely changed my story but this too is a masterpiece in itself.


 Objection to saying Dev Saheb

Waheeda Rehman worked with Devanand in her first film CID. Both worked in a total of seven films. Waheeda Rehman said while talking to BBC. 'He told me Waheeda, you will call me only Dev. I said how can this happen?

"You are older than me, so senior, such a big star. He said that I cannot work with my leading ladies if they call me sir, Mr Anand. But it was my habit that whenever I used to go on the sets, I used to say good morning Mr. Anand to him. He used to look here and there and ask who is he? I used to say that I am talking to you. He used to say that I am Dev. After a few days I also got used to calling him Dev.

Discovered many talents

Devanand gave unmatched talent to the Indian film industry. Devanand introduced Shatrughan Sinha, Jackie Shroff, Tina Munim, Tabu and Zeenat Aman.

Lalitmohan Joshi says, 'It was responsible for this in him to experiment and walk out of the box. He wanted to make a film on drugs, Hare Rama Hare Krishna. For that he sometimes used to go to London, sometimes Nepal and sometimes Delhi. There was a curiosity in them. He used to spend a lot of his time on his subject. For the first time when he saw Zeenat at a party, she was smoking a cigarette. When Dev Saheb went and said hello to him, he also said hello and offered him a cigarette. Dev Saheb told that when he saw Zeenat Aman for the first time, then he felt that this girl would work in his film.

 Got Entangled with Zeenat Aman also

Later Devanand had his heart on Zeenat Aman. He wrote in his autobiography 'Romancing with Life', 'One day I realized that I have fallen in love with Zeenat. I booked a table at Taj Hotel's 'Rendavu' restaurant to let him know. Before that we had to go to a party together. There, Zeenat was first welcomed by a drunken Raj Kapoor.

Zeenat bent down and tried to touch his feet. But I felt that there was too much closeness between them. Raj reprimanded Zeenat in front of me, 'You have not kept your promise to always wear white clothes.'

From then onwards, Zeenat was no longer the former Zeenat for me. I told Zeenat you enjoy. I'm leaving. Zeenat said, we had to go somewhere else. I said no problem. I got up from there and came out. After this Devanand never looked towards Zeenat Aman.



Devanand's meeting with Nehru

After 1947, three actors dominated Hindi films. Raj Kapoor, Tragedy King Dilip Kumar and Devanand, who ruled the hearts of people with romance and romance. The interesting thing was that the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru once called all three to his place.

Devanand wrote in his autobiography Romancing with Life, 'When we reached his study, Nehru hugged the three of us. He was walking ill but soon got into the mood. Taking advantage of this, Raj Kapoor raised the question, 'Panditji, we have heard that women used to run after you wherever you went.'

Spreading his famous smile, Nehru said, 'I was not as popular as you guys are.' I also asked, 'Your wonderful smile had won Lady Mountbatten's heart. Is this the right thing?'

Nehru's face turned red but he enjoyed my question and said with a laugh, 'I enjoy hearing these stories about myself'.

In between, Dilip said, 'But Lady Mountbatten herself admitted that you were her weakness.' Nehru laughed and said that 'people want me to believe these stories'.

Dev liked 4711 cologne

India's famous stock market expert Mohan Churiwala was very close to Devanand. Mohan Churiwala says, 'I have put a big picture of Devanand in my bedroom. I bow down in front of it and go to my work. There is also a picture of Devanand on the cushion kept in my bedroom. A few days before Devanand's death, I bought his favorite perfume 4711 for him. He loved that cologne very much.

Churiwala recalls, 'Once both of us were going to London by Kingfisher Airlines. 4711 cologne was kept in his first class toilet. Dev sahib was very happy to see him. I told him should I ask the airhostess if we can buy that cologne?

Dev Anand said no, he will not feel bad. We will buy it in London. But in London that cologne was not found even after searching a lot. After coming to Mumbai, I had ordered that cologne for him from someone. He left this world before I could give it to him. I have kept that cologne with me till today in his memory. I have not even opened its lid till today.'

By the way, he also liked Polo Green perfume very much. I have his cap, scarf, jacket, wristwatch, mobile and his pen all kept safe. I also bought his used car Ford Icon 524. She is very old but for me she still has emotional significance.

I still have that car in mint condition. That car is a temple for me. Whenever I sit in it, I feel them in it. When I bought my new Mercedes car, the first thing I did was put Devanand's cap in his glove box. I keep a copy of his autobiography 'Romancing with Life' in every car.


Fitness Freak Devanand

Devanand used to take great care of his health. Sanjeev Srivastava, who once worked for the BBC, told me that once Devsaheb had come to his house in Mumbai to give an interview and even at the age of 76, he did not take the elevator but the stairs to reach his flat on the ninth floor. was used.

Mohan Churiwala says, 'Doctors used to say that Devanand's health report should be kept in the frame. He used to drink 11 glasses of lukewarm water throughout the day. Breakfast was heavy. There was porridge in it. Used to add some honey to the tea. Sometimes I used to eat omelet. But they used to skip lunch. He used to walk for a while after dinner. He used to like vegetarian more and he loved brinjal ka bharta very much. He neither used to drink alcohol nor cigarette.

Churiwala explains, 'The names and numbers of actors were not recorded in the telephone directory of Bombay. But Dev Saab's name definitely used to be in the category of A letter, Anand Dev, 2 Iris Park Juhu, Bombay and his number was written. He used to pick up his phone himself.

No operator or secretary used to ask what is the work? The reason for this he used to tell is that he wanted to know who wanted to contact him. He was strongly against giving age on anniversaries and used to say 'Aging is a state of mind.' He worked 18 hours a day till the end of his life.


Friendship with Nawaz Sharif

Maharaja Mahendra of Nepal, former Defense Minister of India Krishna Menon and Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif were close friends of Devanand. His first meeting with him was when Atal Bihari Vajpayee took him to Lahore in a bus with him.

Before the bus journey started, Vajpayee had asked Nawaz Sharif what he should bring from India, to which he replied that the bus should take Devanand with him. Later, when Devanand used to go to London, Nawaz Sharif also used to reach there to meet him.


Mohan Churiwala recalls, "Nawaz Sharif used to have his own villa in Hyde Park. There he used to invite Devsab for a banquet. He used to ask me 'What did you guys do today?' When I used to tell him that we drank hot chocolate at Harred's, he used to say, 'Take me there again with Dev Saab.' His wife Kulsoom was still alive when we went to eat at his place. He asked Nawaz sahib at the dinner table, should I tell Dev Saab an act of yours?

Nawaz Sharif started forbidding him to do so. When I inquired, he told that the DVD of the film CID that we have with us has been spoiled by Miyan Saheb. Whenever that song comes, the song 'Leke Pehla Pehla Pyaar' comes and the way Dev Saab moves around, he watches it again and again in slow motion.'

Hussein painted a picture of Dev

Dev Sahab also liked MF Hussain very much. Once he made a sketch of Devanand lying on the office chair and presented it to him in 15 minutes. Mohan Churiwala recalls, once for a Filmfare Awards ceremony, an invitation came to Dev Sahab with a picture of Hussain Sahab printed on it. Seeing him, he remembered Hussain sahib.

He called them at the same time and said that Hussain saab, you are missing. I want to kiss your hand. Hussain Saab had come to Mumbai from Indore the same night to meet Devanand and went back to Indore the same night after meeting him.

Very popular among women

Devanand's inner vivacity never allowed him to grow old. Lalit Mohan Joshi says, 'Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Devanand these three were different personalities in themselves. Dilip Kumar's acting had great seriousness, great depth. Worked in only one film at a time. For the first time, Raj Kapoor gave international status to Indian films. But the person who became popular from house to house was Devanand.

 'My aunt, who lived here and studied in Lucknow, was equal to my mother, but she confessed to me that she had imprisoned Devanand. Even the girls of our age were admirers of Devanand and his fans were no less in the generation after that. The one who was identified as Devanand, I don't think he was in Dilip Kumar or Raj Kapoor. Both of them were great artists but Devanand's identification was from a common man. That's why people liked him to an insane extent, especially women.'

Secondly, the themes of his films were urban themes like Kaala Bazaar was on black marketing, Tere Mere Sapne was on the medical profession why doctors don't want to go to the village. Des Pardes was created on the problem of overseas Indians. He always went with an idea. The aura that he had was a shadow among cinema lovers for at least forty years.