MARCH 2012
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Mortal Men, Immortal Melodies: The Musical Memories of Dev Anand – Part II

Lavanya Dinesh

By Lavanya Dinesh

One among a mere handful of distinguished superstars of Indian cinema to pass away in recent months is the unique actor/moviemaker Dev Anand. Dev Saab leaves behind a priceless legacy of entertainment, a major part of which is lingering musical gems that continue to resonate in the hearts, minds and ears of a worldwide Indian population.

With a long career spanning 65 years, Dev Anand’s movie choices in his later years were not quite as eclectic as the golden era of the 1950s and ‘60s. The actor almost became a caricature of himself. The beauty, accomplishment, heartwarming and sometimes gut-wrenching performances of Dev Anand’s earlier work are etched into our collective psyche. My memories of Dev Saab have chosen to lounge purely in the black-and-white era. This particular craze is fashioned out of my artistic parents’ steering.

Dev Anand’s 1960 film “Bombai Ka Baabu” with heroine Suchitra Sen showcased some of the best melodies by sublime composer S.D. Burman. While listening to Mohammad Rafi sing ‘Saathi Na Koyi Manzil’ (neither companion nor destination) for Dev Anand, one can’t help but feel deeply sympathetic toward the protagonist’s plight in this poignant story where circumstances force him to give up the love of his life. Another tear-jerking melody from the film surprisingly sung ever so brilliantly by Mukesh is ‘Chal Re Sajani.’

In the actor’s 1961 classic film “Maya” co-starring Mala Sinha, Lata and Rafi croon an uplifting ‘Tasveer Tere Dil Mein’ while the hero belts out ‘Koyi Sone Ke Dilwala’ with carefree abandon. The 1950s movie “Nirala” with a young Madhubala inspired the cautionary song of love’s pitfalls ‘Mehfil Mein Jal Uthi Shama’ sung wistfully by the youthful nightingale Lata Mangeshkar.
The making of the iconoclast Dev Anand did not happen without a fair share of heartbreak. The young, shy actor madly fell in love with his first major heroine – singing star Suraiya in the 1940s. Though reciprocated, this was an impossible love and such early disillusionment shaped Dev Anand’s path of pensive, self-deprecating yet fun and enjoyable cinematic love stories. Dev Anand and the unrequited love of his life starred in 1948’s film “Vidya” and the 1949 film “Jeet.” The immortal melodies by Suraiya ‘Tere Nainon Ne Chori Kiya’ and ‘O Door Jane Wale’ are haunting. In the film “Ziddi” (1948), heroine Kamini Kaushal sang to a young elusive hero ‘Chanda Re Jaa Re Jaa Re’ in Lata’s innocent honey-dripping voice.

Bubbly actress Nutan and Dev Anand made a hilariously entertaining movie couple and starred together in several enjoyable films such as “Paying Guest” (1956) and “Tere Ghar Ke Saamne” (1963) producing supremely hummable songs. ‘Chod Do Anchal’ from the former movie sung by Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar picturized on the dynamic duo takes the sweet mischief and innocent playfulness of love to a whole new level. Dev Saab’s inimitable acting and Kishore Kumar’s uproarious yet masterful playback singing make ‘Maana Janaab Ne Pukaara Nahin,’ ‘O Nigahe Mastana’ and ‘Hai Hai Hai Ye Nigahe’ instant classics. The memorable scene where Dev Anand and Nutan hop down the stairs of the Qutab Minar belting out the song ‘Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukaar’ (Rafi) is so heartwarming. ‘Maane Na Mera Dil Diwana’ is yet another unforgettable, echoing melody.

Known as the ‘Gregory Peck’ of Indian Cinema, Dev Anand was beloved in equal parts for his distinctive style, class, good looks, charm, quirky mannerisms and acting chops. The thespian romanced three heroines in the movie “Teen Deviyan” (1964) and warbled ‘Aise Toh Na Dekho’. In “Nav Do Gyarah,” Dev Saab sang ‘Aankhon Mein Kya Ji’ as he played hide-and-seek with his future real-life wife Kalpana. The most recognized and eulogized movie of Dev Anand is “Guide” (1965) with enchantress Waheeda Rehman and is shot in techni-color. The story of friendship, love, loyalty, betrayal and regret has some of the most melodious, melancholic and magnificent songs. ‘Gaatha Rahe Mera Dil’, Tere Mere Sapne’ and ‘Waha Kaun Hai Tera’ are simply esoteric.

So gather around your partners, your elders, your progeny … have a viewing/listening/singing/humming party, take a trip down the memory lane of Dev Anand Saab’s soulful music, hopefully using my list as your guide. This is me signing off humming ‘Hai Apna Dil Toh Awara’ (my heart is a gypsy) sung by Hemant Kumar and ‘Jeevan Ke Safar Mein Raahi’ sung by Kishore Kumar. Until we meet again …

Lavanya Dinesh, an accomplished performer and teacher of Hindustani classical vocal music, lives in Tampa. She regularly performs at musical venues in India and the United States. The singer has three album releases to her credit. She can be reached at

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