Re’cap’ With Dev Anand
From being Dharam Dev Pishorimal Anand to becoming Dev Anand, he had quite a few struggles. His mother called him Dev while his father called him Dev-aan, lovingly and his friends called him DD. Dev Anand in his autobiography says – “But those I am closest to, those who like and love me and I them, call me ‘Dev’, just ‘Dev’, short and sweet and possessive, godly and sexy, and intimate to the extreme, in bedrooms, in drawing rooms, in the streets and in public squares. I enjoy being owned by them thus, being possessed by them, loving me, admiring me, hating me, disliking me, making fun of me, throwing bouquets or brickbats at me in the same measure, sometimes raising me to the skies, at others pulling me harshly down to earth, tearing me apart viciously, only to raise me to the skies again… but never, never banishing me from their innermost thoughts”. Waheeda Rehman, in one of her interviews has said that he always insisted on calling him ‘Dev’ and he just ignored her if she called him Dev Saab!! He loved being called Dev. He chose just 2 words from his long name for his future life and became Dev Anand, which he says literally translates to God of Happiness. Isn’t he the God of Happiness in a real sense? Giving joy and happiness to his fans, to people around him, to his associates. His songs give us happiness, his films give us happiness, even his fashion gives us happiness. There’s no second thought on his fashion statements back then. He started the trend of puffs, hats, scarves, jackets, mufflers. Carried everything in such a style that people started to follow his style. A connoisseur of fashion on and off screen. His fans still discuss his caps, jackets and scarves, especially the caps and hats. What more, he also has a song about the cap being his sweetheart and buddy. Listen to him shout Meri topiiiiiii in Funtoosh (1956) followed by –
Ae meri topi palat ke aa
Na apne Funtoosh ko sataa
Ae meri dilbar, idhar nazar kar
Na jaa bichhad kar na ja na ja….
With Dev singing Ae meri humjoli to the cap, the song was as if was prophesying about his close association with caps and hats. The trend of Dev wearing caps and hats must have started from Baazi (1951). That’s the movie from where he started charming his audience with style and flamboyance. Baazi also saw the first coming together of the delightful combination of Dev – Kishore Kumar – S D Burman. Dev wearing a reversible Beret became a phenomenon which he also wore for the premiere of Baazi and tossed it as a souvenir for his fans.
The happy-go-lucky Dev whether on foot or in a dilapidated mini-truck became an eye candy and the audience just loved this carefree, young man who brought in a lot of attitude on screen. Wearing a Panama hat and singing Hum hain rahi pyar ke….Dev went from Delhi to Bombay in Nau Do Gyarah (1957) travelling through highways, bridges, muddy pathways and even the dacoit infested ravines.
It wasn’t that he always wore a headgear while he was travelling or serenading his ladylove. He sported a Fez hat for an intoxicating club song in Asli Naqli (1962). His formal wear complemented that Fez hat beautifully. That now is called a style statement. Hasrat Jaipuri’s lyrics and Shankar Jaikishan’s music added to the chic style of club culture.
The Navketan banner flew high with Tere Ghar Ke Saamne (1963). Dev, Goldie, S D Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Rafi all of them were riding high triumphantly. They knew the pulse of the audience. Here again Dev sported a Golf cap!! This time he was placating a brooding and angry Nutan and S D Burman being inspired by the Bangla devotional Kali Kali Bol Rasana, changed its mood to a romantic one with Dekho rootha na karo!
Jahan baithun meri mehfil wahin pe – says Dev in Teen Deviyan (1965). If he looked like a fashion portrait in western outfits, he looked spectacular in a traditional sherwani and the fur cap, singing in a mushaira. Enamouring the entire audience, men , women alike. Not just with his style but the crisp and clear Urdu pronunciations with feel and zeal. It was his mehfil for sure. He looked dapper and commanded attention, though it was during the filming of Teen Deviyan that he had 2 huge personal losses, his father and his best friend, Guru Dutt.
Along came Jewel Thief (1967). Sikkim, landscape, Tibetan colours, fun, mystery, romance and suspense and Vijay Anand at the helm of it. Success was already announced. Then there was Dev, Vyjayantimala and her dance and Ashok Kumar as the villain. If this was less, there was that highly intelligent music by the Burmans. Dev’s tweed felt cap became an iconic one and it is still considered as a style statement.
Dev wore the director’s hat (hat again!) for the first time for Prem Pujari (1970). Prem Pujari highlighted that Dev’s character was that of a peace loving man who adored nature and life and was still a child at heart while catching butterflies. He is court martialed for refusing to pick up a gun. Prem Pujari that he is! Off screen he wore the director’s hat, on screen he wore the Military tactical hat completing the army look. Similar to what he wore earlier in Hum Dono – Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya.
His next directorial and much loved venture, Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), radiated the devil-may-care attitude with the rebellious youth and the drug den. During the shoot of the film in Nepal, Dev had forgotten his script on the mountain top 8000 ft above and by the time he realized, no helicopter was available and it was at that time Prince Gyanendra gave him his helicopter!! Such was his relationships with people around him, wherever he went. The film of course had a scintillating soundtrack by R D Burman with one song bringing out the essence of Nepal – Kanchi re Kanchi re…..Here too, Dev is flashing a Frayed straw hat.
With all these styles and fashions, Dev ruled the tinsel town like none before or after. He had both style and substance. One can buy fashion but not style. But Dev in his flamboyant way made all those style statements by dressing up his mind and that’s what makes the difference!