Sunday, December 04, 2011

Tribute : Dev Anand

A legend who celebrated life By Vidya Bhushan Rawat None of us can believe that Dev Anand is no more. Dev Anand is going to live for ever as long as there is music in life as art transcends cultural boundaries, nations and generations. In this age of stolen stories, corrupt practices to promote films and communalised mindset to gain patronage from political groups, Dev Anand was refreshing challenging to the system without mincing so many words. He was never hypocrite even when his films were banned by Sanjay Gandhi and his brigades during the emergency for not toeing the ‘official line’. While we can remember lot of his films and songs which will always make us feel younger, Dev Anand’s life gives us many new insights for living. That one can never be a legend in hatred. We all have suffered in our lives. Some suffer more and some less. That happiness and sorrow are part of lives. Dev Anand and his generations of artists particularly Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar hailed from undivided Punjab. The partition had created animosity and a sense of despair. Major States of India like Bengal and Punjab witnessed communal disturbances. Even today, the popular psyche remains communal in these states despite all pretensions of secularism. Similar things have been witnessed in Pakistan too. Yet, the most fascinating part of it is that the legacy that these legends left on us was not of hatred or communalism but of secular values, of love and compassion. Dev Anand proudly carried that legacy which actually transcends everything, hatred and despair. He was an eternal optimist, a life giver, a man who believed in his principles of life and never tried to get them justified. Often, we live according to society and try to get fixated in the norms of society. Dev Anand broke that tradition. He lived on his conditions of life. He challenged the norms of life without making loud noise. Whether it were his films which despite poor business, could never made him depressed or his own personal life which was linked to so many beautiful stars of his time. How can a man be of so much energy in this age of 89. Well, I could say having lived a small part of my life with Dr Mulk Raj Anand that for the legends, it is romancing with life, spreading love and eschewing hatred and prejudices, which make people into legends. The day we are able to overcome these, a Dev Anand will emerge inside us. It is important to understand the cinema of that period when India was passing through change and its political leadership was still swearing to basic principals of secularism and socialism. If Raj Kapoor could bring Shri 420, Awara and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti hai, which reflected the political statement of the film maker, his belief in democratic secularism, then film like Paying Guest, Guide, Teen Deviyaan, Prem Pujari made by Dev Anand showed eternal optimism of young India. Film maker like B.R.Chopra created magic with Naya Daur and Waqt. Even when India’s polity could not completely turn secular yet it were the films and lyrics in the cinema which reflected how India’s destiny was in living together spreading love and overcoming hatred. Naushad, Dilip Kumar, Sahir, Shailendra, Mazrooh Sultanpuri, S.D.Berman, Mohammad Rafi and many like them with deeply nationalistic secular socialist principals entertained us. The entertainment was not just symbolic but their belief and values as well as part of their life and culture. They showed that despite partition of India, the division of the heart and minds of people was difficult and the people of India as well as that of Pakistan loved them. These songs and lyrics not just entertained us but provided healing balm to many broken heart. It is a fact and I want to admit that despite my reservations to orthodoxy in the films, there were very few at least of that generation, who influenced the psyche of youngsters like me and help us build our ideals. It is important to see how these icons succeeded in their lives. Partition uprooted many and yet when they came to India and moved to Mumbai to make their attempt in the film industry, it was not an easy task. Their films and depictions had the close reflections of our life particularly that of rural India. Each film had dynamism and films like Guide are epitome of love and life. At the time, when most of our films were making people cry, many narrating stories of pains in the life of good people, Dev Anand suggested that there was life beyond pain. Life is not just Dukha dukha, it was happiness too. Among all the stars of his time, he reflected the urbane young face of our films. Cinema of the 1950s and 1960s is nothing without wonderful lyrics and entertaining music. Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand were the three iconic figures of that period and yet the generations even loved them. None of them tried to copy and yet all the three had wonderful partners. Mukesh, Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar flourished that time. Who can think a Raj Kapoor with out Shankar Jaikishan, Khwaza Ahmed Abbas and Mukesh, Dilip Kumar without Mohammad Rafi, Naushad as music director and Sahir as the lyric writer and then Dev Anand, without S.D.Berman and Mazrooh Sultanpuri. It is not remarkable that Mazrooh’s romantic numbers of Dev Anand remain unmatchable even today and can be seen being played at the radio more than ever. Dev Anand gives us message of living life to the fullest even in most disturbing time. That life is not to be legitimised by your popularity or acceptability as despite being an iconic figure his films did not do well in the past thirty years. One does not know which his last hit films were yet the passion which he made them showed us the way. Even if he were not making any films, his life remained an example. In today’s time, when we try to find the outcome in the beginning, when we look that film makers, writers compromise with their perceptions and are ready to go to any extent to make their film successful. He never believed in so called remixing terming that those who are making them have run out of ideas. He never thrived on his past glory and continued with working. That I am still working is the best award, he opined in an interview with Star News. Love of people is the best award and ‘ I enjoy life he had said’. It is this energy in him that inspired me a lot. Do your work with complete conviction and do not get bothered about comments and ‘acceptability’. We all know ours is a huge country where to gain popularity and acceptability we do all kind of tricks. Dev Anand was an unIndian that way. He never believed in that hero worshipping which we are habitual of. He broke many myths including that only sadness would make you hit. Ofcourse, during his period Dilip Saheb was the ultimate Devdas yet Dev Anand would never be a devdas, instead he would make another attempt to a romantic life and would not accept failure. He would not drink to celebrate his failure but make another attempt to live a better life and romance with it. Today, it was sad day. I know many of my friends with whom, I passed some of the most fascinating moments of my life, are sad today. How they would jump on every action of Dev, his style, dresses and songs of his films. All of them will always be part of our life to celebrate life and romance with it. Life is not just to cry and weep but to enjoy. Life is to do something in deepest struggling moments. And today, when Dev Anand breathed his last in London, his story will always reminds us the power of love and power of romance. His face, smile and untiring work will always provide energy to all of us who believe in positive energy of life. ‘ The biggest love he says is getting engaged to your work without expecting too much of it. The ‘Guide’ whose ‘Gata rahe mera dil’ is committed to his love and promise her to be with her in happiness as well as difficult moments of life, who dare to dream despite all adverse situation. It was a movie much before its time. The songs, lyrics or acting, the films for Dev Anand were not just entertainment but mission of life with his convictions which has become a rare commodity today. The biggest casualty in today’s entertainment industry is its honesty and marketing of hypocrisy. In his films, Dev Anand rarely used religious symbolism to promote his values; instead he remained far more progressive and liberal democrats. That is why despite differences on remixing and remaking of old films and songs, he defended the rights of people to make it, though he never believed that any body could recreate Guide. Dev Anand is physically no more yet his life and films will always inspire us and entertain the people and his values of life would be more than ever relevant in today’s world. Thank you Dev Saheb for entertaining us and making us believe that romance of life is the best award that anybody could get. It is to make ‘ pyaar ka jahan’ every where in complete harmony with nature. Life is romance and romance is not just love and sex but engagement with work. Definitely, as long as we live we will always get inspire from ‘ main jindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya…

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