Dev Anand – The Bashful Boy
Dev Anand, hear this name and a cinema lover will immediately relate with words like Evergreen or Romance. Then there are a few adjectives which have become synonymous with him – Debonair, flamboyant, dapper, handsome, charming, stylish etc. Dev Anand fans will also relate philosophy with him, his films and his songs. Many of his songs though appear light hearted and blithe, have a deeper, philosophical meaning. Hum hain rahi pyar ke hum se kuch na boliye….being the best example. If his songs and scenes oozed romance, they also conveyed philosophy in the most stylish manner. He charmed his way into people’s hearts. But what was more charming was that he never preached anything, instead he practised what he said. His real life was not very different from his reel life. He carried the same energy everywhere he went and rubbed those positive vibes on whoever he met. Always on the go and never sitting still. Restless to bring forth something new to the world. Music was his forte. Conveying happiness, joy, romance, philosophy, sadness, through his wonderful songs. We can very well say that he has lip synced some of the best songs of the industry. His energy was palpable throughout those songs, especially the solos! If we go through his career graph, Baazi (1951) was the game changer. He was seen as carefree, happy-go-lucky, stylishly dressed in it for the first time and the image stuck with him. So his career can be divided into 2 – pre Baazi and post Baazi. One of his early co-stars Kamini Kaushal describes him as a shy and quiet boy. In one of her interviews she says that amongst the trio – Raj, Dev and Dilip, Dev was the most quiet and obedient sort of person. Less talkative and shy. And rightly so, we can see the glimpse of this shy, bashful boy in his pre Baazi days. With negligible (typical Dev) mannerisms even in the songs. He also had a lesser number of solo songs compared to his career later.
Let’s have a peek into some of the songs from his pre Baazi days and for a change get accustomed with Dev Anand, the bashful boy. We will also be chronicling his many firsts from his initial career.
Making a debut in 1946 with Hum Ek Hain, he didn’t even have a song for himself in the movie. In fact, most of them were female songs. His 2nd film Mohan came in 1947. The songs again are not known and the videos not available. Considering that Dev was the main lead in this film, the male solos must be picturised on him and the playback has been given not by Rafi, not by Kishore or even Hemant or Mukesh or Talat, it was by Jawahar Kaul.
Dev Anand got Rafi as his playback singer for the first time in his 3rd film Aage Badho (1947) and it wasn’t a solo but a duet with Khursheed under the baton of Sudhir Phadke. It is a romantic number but one can hardly recognize Dev standing in one place and singing.
Vidya (1948) had quite a few firsts of his career. His first film with S D Burman, Suraiyya and Mukesh as his voice. The film also saw the beginning of his long romantic relationship with Suraiyya. Here again, Mukesh singing for a quiet Dev.
Along came Ziddi in the same year. Written by Ismat Chugtai, the film has the first Dev-Kishore solo. It was Dev’s first film with Kamini Kaushal who was an established star by then while Dev was still a struggler. It also had the first Lata Mangeshkar – Kishore Kumar duet. Music was by Khemchand Prakash.
1948 saw the 3rd release of Dev Anand directed by Phani Majumdar. It had 2 music directors H P Das and Manna Dey. Hum Bhi Insaan Hain became the first movie where Manna Dey sang for Dev and lyrics of this song are by G S Nepali.
Namoona (1949), his co-star was once again Kamini Kaushal. Music by C.Ramchandra but again Dev gets just one song that too a sad duet.
Jeet (1949) was another Dev-Suraiyya film where he gets to sing only duets, no solos. Music of this film was given by 2 music directors again – Anil Biswas and Shyam Babu Pathak. This particular duet was composed by Anil Biswas and rendered by Suraiyya and Shankar Dasgupta.
Nirala (1950) was his first film with Madhubala but surprisingly Dev did not get any song in the film. In fact, all the male songs were picturised on Mumtaz Ali. There are a few more films which were released during this period but sadly no print of those films is available including Afsar which was the first film to be produced under the Navketan banner.
Sanam (1951) which again had Suraiyya as his co-star and Meena Kumari in a supporting role. It was also one of the last films of the Dev-Suraiyya pair. Sanam had some beautiful songs by Husnlal Bhagatram. Sanam also gives us some glimpses of the charm and impishness of Dev. It saw the metamorphosis of a shy boy slowly turning into a flamboyant charmer.
Nadan (1951) had music by Chic Chocolate and it was this film where Talat Mahmood sang for the first time for Dev. It was his 3rd film with Madhubala.
A mannerism-free Dev Anand slowly but surely made his way to the top and stayed there. He swam against all odds to reach that evergreen place and defined celluloid prowess.