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“EVERGREEN” DEV ANAND
For post-independence India, the name Dev Anand evokes images of a debonair, dashing & convincingly handsome Hero from the make-believe world of Bollywood. These qualities of crushing good looks and histrionic talent were God-given gifts, Dev Anand believed. It was his character & persona that were of greater importance to him.
He was educated in the elite Sacred Heart School (Dalhousie) and later at Govt College Lahore, where he completed a B.A.degree in English Literature during British Raj. It was a privilege reserved for very few then. He made Literature the bedrock of his fast evolving thoughts, helping to shape his life. A life that reflected his growing benevolence, positivity and the total ostracism of the Age factor from his consciousness.
Thus "EVERGREEN" became synonymous with his name. He converted his privilege of education into something of a crusade for launching young actors. Guru Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Richa Sharma, Zeenat Aman, Tina Munim & Tabu being some of the prodigal talents he fostered. That the world will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the "Evergreen" DEV on 26th Sept., is almost like Nature's paradox.
For he was a man who epitomised the maxim "we are not our age, we are our energy".
Inspite of his dominating stellar light on the silver screen, he always coveyed his deeprooted messages in the story lines. For instance, even in his very first movie, "Hum Ek Hain" (1946) he conveyed the message of Hindu-Muslim unity that is more relevant today, than it was 77 years back !!
He was the earliest movie maker to give women the prominence that was missing in male-dominated scripts.
Never daunted by the approaching last scene of his life, he remained joyful and eager for the sound of the clapboard till his last day !!
To mention his 100 plus movies, dozens of awards, including Best Actor & Padma Bhushan, will shift the narrative away from factors he really yearned to be known for. He wore his celebrity status lightly and his political contacts even more so. Dev Sahib's crusade was to take away the depressing & debilitating shadow of age from the lives of struggling masses and give them hope.
His irrepressible vitality and 'joie de vivre" was immortalised by his mesmerizing portrayal of the song :
“हर िफ़ को धुएं म उड़ाता चला गया, बबािदयो का ं जशन मनाता चला गया” !! .........Dev Sahib, आप कहीं नही गए !! You will live in our midst for eternity!!