Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dev Anand the Eternal Hero

I am sure most of us wish Dev Anand's filmography - at the bottom of this page - stopped with Des Pardes that came out in 1978. Dev Anand was begining to look old and his mannerisms were getting too pronounced, even so, no mean achievement for someone who was close to 60 then. It was the right time to hang up his boots, a phrase that Dev Saab never knew.

I looked through his filmography and tried to tick the movies I had seen, and found my memory playing tricks with me. Some of this movies I have seen on Doordarshan in bits and pieces and find I cannot remember entirely. I can remember the songs of many of these movies and associate them immediately because I can recollect the drone of the announcer on AIR saying 'Ab suniye Afsar film ka gana, Suriya ki awaz me jise likha hai ... ne, sangeet nirdeshak hain ... ' After a tiresome list of sunnewale, the melodious voice of Suriya would sing - Man mor hua matwala. What songs they are. I am tempted to list them right here, but I think they should come after some movie talk.

The first movie on the list that I have seen is Baazi, a romatic thriller made by Guru Dutt. But alas, do not remember much. I remember Jaal very well. It is not a movie one can forget in a hurry. In Jaal Dev Anand played a tough crook bent upon cheating and looting. Geeta Bali is drawn to him and falls for him helplessly, she realises that when she is roused from her sleep to the sound of him singing - Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan, sun ja dil ki dastan. This song alone is worth the price of the DVD, though the movie is good too, a classic. There is some wonderful play of shadow and light in this song. You can see why Geeta Bali was so special here. You can also see how devastatingly handsome Dev was then.

Patita with Usha Kiron was another movie with some social message, she was (or pretended to be) an unwed mother here. I dont remember how the movie ended, I think the Mother of the boy - Lalita Pawar was the one who threw spanner in the works, but the songs were to die for.

"Kisine Apne Banaake Mujko Muskurana Sikha Diya"
"Andhe Jahaan Ke Andhe Raaste Jaayen To Jaayen Kahaan"
"Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kahan ho Tum"

and the toppers

"Mitti Se Khelte Ho Baar Baar Kisliye"
"Hai Sabse Madhur Woh Geet Jinhe Ham Dard Ke Sur Mein Gaate Hain"

I have seen Pocketmaar, which starred Geeta Bali, Dev and the ubiquitous baddie KN Singh, it was a good movie.

CID is not to be missed, for the debut of Waheeda Rehman, for the lovely songs, for the handsome Dev Anand, for it was a slick thriller.

"Jaata Kahaan Hai Deewaane"
"leke pehla pehla pyaar"
"aankhon hi aankhon me ishara ho gaya"
"e dil he mushkil jeena yahan"

1958 to 1965 - This was the glorious period of the rising star Dev Anand, he was young and in his element. The filmmakers of this era were good and made good wholesome romantic comedies. Dev Anand was the consummate flirt, circling his heroine, looking into her eyes, touching her hair, enough to make any woman swoon. No wonder he was such a heartthrob.

I feel I have seen Paying Guest, Love Marriage, Bambai ka Babu, but dont recollect them so much. They pass me by in a blur of lovely songs, with Dev Anand always, always, romancing his heroines.

Hum Dono is another unforgettable movie. You got Dev Anand here in a double dose. As a rookie army officer Manohar and Major Anand. Manohar is sent to the family of Major Anand as a bearer of bad news of his being lost during war. Because they look so similar, Major Anand's distraught family thinks Manohar is Major Anand. For the sake of the sick wife, Nanda, Manohar plays along. He has to deal with own girlfriend, Sadhna who wonders why her beau is not attentive any more.

The songs? To die for - the timeless classic - Abhi na jao chod kar, ke dil abhi bhara nahi - is so beautifully choreographed that the images linger with you forever. Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya - deserves to be listened to closely for its zen philosophy. Allah tero naam is one of the best gandhian bhajan we have from hindi films.

Asli Naqli, Tere Ghar ke Samne are other two films I have watched. Asli Naqli brought the beautiful Sadhna together with Dev Anand once again. With numbers like koi sone ke dil wala (was it from this film?), Tujhe jiwan ki dor se, Tera mera pyar Amar the movie was a sureshot success.

What can one say about Tere Ghar ke Samne? It was one of those ultimate rom-coms. Dev Anand and Nutan light up the screen with their effervescence. The songs - oh the songs !

Yeh tanhaai haay re haay jaane phir aaye na aaye"
"Tu kahaan yeh bata, is nashili raat mein"
"Dil ka bhanvar kare pukaar" - my fave fave fave
"Dekho rootha na karo"
"Tere ghar ke saamne ik ghar banaoonga"
"Dil ki manzil kuchh aisi hai manzil"

This last song featured my mother as a dancer who had an 'item' in this movie.
you can see it here

Guide was the best of Dev Anand. It dared to go where no movie had been before, into marital discord, with the woman leaving her man. It explored the denegeration of a man, why love fails and even explores spirituality. Only Vijay Anand could have pulled off something like this.

"Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai"
"Gaata Rahe mera dil"
"piya tose naina laage re"
"din dhal jaaye hai" - (my fave- i will always maintain that Dev Anand looked his handomest in this song)
"kya se kya ho gaya"
"allah megh de"

If we divide Dev Anand's career into different phases, then the 40 - mid 50 would be the early phase with the romantic Suraiyya and Geeta Bali phase, mostly romatic thrillers and comedies. from '55 to '65 again some more romantic thrillers and comedies (but better) with Waheeda, Nutan and Sadhna, with some classics like Hum Dono, Tere Ghar ke Saamne and Guide. Then comes the third phase from '66 to '78 which started off well with thrillers and ended well with Des Pardes. Here he had co-stars like Vyjayanti mala, Hema Malini, Zeenat and Tina Munim. I am not going to talk about what comes after, because it was pure crap.

Jewel Thief was a slick thriller that released in 1967. I saw it much later in a re-re-re run during the times when reruns ran in theatres. I was taken in by the suspense totally and gasped quite like the original viewers who must have found the climax quite mindblowing. Vyjayantimala was exquisite, Ashok Kumar was the gentleman crook, there were a bevy of sexy females (oh well, in one peice swimsuits, but it was the 70s) and Dev Anand who was getting stylised now. His headshake, pursed lips and the hand gestures were popping up more often. The gorgeous songs were still melodious.
"Raat akeli hai, bujh gaye diye"
"Yeh dil na hota bechara"
"rula ke gaya sapna mera"
"Aasmaan ke neeche hum aaj apne peeche"
"Dil pukare aa re aare"
"Hoton pe aise baat"

Right on the heels of Jewel Thief came Johnny Mera Naam. The songs here were kinda chaalu, but the movie had the new star Hema Malini and a good story. It was Vijay Anand again, after Guide and Jewel Thief. Dev Anand mouthed 'Johnny mera naam, nahi' during the climax to the delight of his fans.

I have seen Mahal and Duniya - both passable fare. I think Mahal had a lovely song - but I cannot recollect it right now.

Prem Pujari was a war movie, well made and very watchable. With lovely songs like
"shokiyon me ghola jaye "
"Phoolon ke rang se, dil ki kalam se"

I have lost count of the number of times I saw Gambler. It used to be rerun endlessly on a fledgeling channel in the early days of cable television. The movie had lovely songs, ok story, Dev Anand in full tashan.

"Churi nahi ye mera dil hai"
"Dil aaj shayar hai" - wonderful wonderful song
I am not able to remember all the songs and the internet is not helping much, but a cd is totally worth buying, trust me.

Tere Mere Sapne was a sweet movie, an adaption of The Citadel by AJ Cronin, with some more lovely songs.
"Jaise Radha ne mala japi shyam ki"
"E maine kasam li"

Hare Raam Hare Krishan was again a bold movie, parents divorce, children seperate, sister turns up in picturesque Kathmandu with a bunch of druggie hippies. A gooood movie with an amazing debut by Zeenat who pulled on a chillum with panache. The songs were more disco, but Dum maro dum is something else. A must watch.

Yeh Gulistan Hamara was not half bad. Dev co-starred with Sharmila here, the songs not too good but ok sorts. Chuppa Rustam, a passable thriller with a good song - Dheere se jaana khaityan me.

After this, it was more or less just dragging on for Dev. The formula was set, exotic locales, good music (according to the times), a pretty nubile heroine. The movies like Heera Panna, Jaaneman, Bullet, Warrant were horrid to passable.

Des Pardes marked the debut of the last of great Dev Anand heroines - Tina Munim. The movie was well made and good. But after that - ugh - Avoid.

Even some of his chalu movies have been uplifted by divine songs. I have listed most of them, but missed many. Ok - internet helped finally, the Mahal song I was looking for is this
"Ankhon ankhon me dekho"
"Yeh duniya wale poochenge"

I once owned a cassette of Dev Anand songs... was great.

My wishlist: I wish to see Kala Pani, because it was the only movie where the two most beautiful people of the Hindi film industry came together, Madhubala and Dev Anand.

I wish to see Teen Deviyan because it starred him with Kalpana Kartik and had some of the most sublime songs ever.

"Khwab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat"
"Aise to na dekho"
and my top favorite -
"Kahin be-khyal ho kar"

I have to admit Dev's oeuvre is limited. His movies are mostly romantic comedies or romantic thrillers. Why was he up at the top of the charts along with Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor? I guess the answer is PURE CHARISMA. He had such a magnificent screen presence, that it was hard to forget him. His immaculate waistline and hairline took care of his longevity. He was always seemingly involved with his much much younger heroines, which reinforced his romantic image.
Though he was called the Gregory Peck of India, I beg to differ. With due respect to Mr. Peck, our Dev Anand has a niche of his own, the eternal romantic.

  1. Mr Prime Minister (2005)
  2. Love at Times Square (2003)
  3. Aman Ke Farishtey (2003)
  4. Censor (2001)
  5. Return of Jewel Thief (1996)
  6. Gangster (1994)
  7. Sau Crore (1991)
  8. Awwal Number (1990)
  9. Lashkar (1989)
  10. Sachché Ká Bol-Bálá (1989)
  11. Hum Naujawan (1985)
  12. Anand Aur Anand (1984)
  13. Swami Dada (1982)
  14. Man Pasand (1980)
  15. Lootmaar (1980)
  16. Des Pardes (1978)
  17. Darling Darling (1977)
  18. Kalabaaz (1977)
  19. Saheb Bahadur (1977)
  20. Bullet (1976)
  21. Jaaneman (1976)
  22. Warrant (1975)
  23. Amir Garib (1974)
  24. Ishq Ishq Ishq (1974)
  25. Prem Shastra (1974)
  26. Joshila (1973)
  27. Chhupa Rustam (1973)
  28. Banarasi Babu (1973)
  29. Heera Panna (1973)
  30. Shareef Budmaash (1973)
  31. Yeh Gulistan Hamara (1972)
  32. Haré Raama Haré Krishna (1971)
  33. Tere Mere Sapne (1971)
  34. Gambler (1971)
  35. Johny Mera Naam (1970)
  36. Prem Pujari (1970)
  37. The Evil Within (1970)
  38. Mahal (1969)
  39. Duniya (1968)
  40. Kahin Aur Chal (1968)
  41. Jewel Thief (1967)
  42. Pyar Mohabbat (1966)
  43. Guide (1965)
  44. Teen Devian (1965)
  45. Sharabi (1964)
  46. Kinare Kinare (1963)
  47. Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963)
  48. Asli-Naqli (1962)
  49. Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962)
  50. Hum Dono (1961)
  51. Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai (1961)
  52. Maya (1961)
  53. Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1961)
  54. Bombai Ka Babu (1960)
  55. Ek Ke Baad Ek (1960)
  56. Jaali Note (1960)
  57. Kala Bazar (1960)
  58. Manzil (1960)
  59. Sarhad (1960)
  60. Love Marriage (1959)
  61. Amar Deep (1958)
  62. Kalapani (1958)
  63. Solva Saal (1958)
  64. Baarish (1957)
  65. Dushman (1957)
  66. Nau Do Gyarah (1957)
  67. Paying Guest (1957)
  68. C.I.D. (1956)
  69. Funtoosh (1956)
  70. Pocket Maar (1956)
  71. Dev Anand in Goa (Alias Farar) (1955)
  72. House No. 44 (1955)
  73. Insaniyat (1955)
  74. Milap (1955)
  75. Munimji (1955)
  76. Baadbaan (1954)
  77. 'Ferry' (1954)
  78. Taxi Driver (1954)
  79. Armaan (1953)
  80. Humsafar (1953)
  81. Patita (1953)
  82. Rahi (1953)
  83. Aandhiyan (1952)
  84. Jaal (1952)
  85. Tamasha (1952)
  86. Zalzala (1952)
  87. Aaram (1951)
  88. Baazi (1951)
  89. Do Sitare (1951)
  90. Nadaan (1951)
  91. Sanam (1951)
  92. Sazaa (1951)
  93. Stage (1951)
  94. Afsar (1950)
  95. Birha Ki Raat (1950)
  96. Dilruba (1950)
  97. Hindustan Hamara (1950)
  98. Khel (1950)
  99. Madhubala (1950)
  100. Nili (1950)
  101. Nirala (1950)
  102. Jeet (1949)
  103. Shair (1949)
  104. Shayar (1949)
  105. Udhaar (1949)
  106. Hum Bhi Insaan Hain (1948)
  107. Vidya (1948)
  108. Ziddi (1948)
  109. Aage Badho (1947)
  110. Mohan (1947)
  111. Hum Ek Hain (1946)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rock On! Its Magik

There cant be a better title for the blog than the title of the movie. It is all about college dreams, music and rock and roll, and of course, friendship. On the other hand, it is all about the making of music and how it is, here, synonymous with chasing your dream.

To begin with there are these four cool dudes who have this rocking band. They seem to have everything going for them. But cut to a decade later and the guy with long curly hair is now working as an investment banker who never smiles, a dull gujju jhaveri who looks dull, a music-man who seems to be scraping it, a guitar dude with droopy mouche who looks henpecked and dull. And then there is the bored wife who seems to have only one thing on her mind- why doesnt my husband smile. Its been 5 years and she is tired of waiting for her life to pick up.

A chance encounter between the wife and the gujju triggers her curiosity about the past life as a rocker that the husband has never mentioned. She thinks this could be the reason the hubby never smiles and tries to get the rockers back together. Hubby frowns at the effort and has words, wife tries to leave, upon which hubby realises he has unresolved issues with his band and needs to get back together with them.

Story is wafer thin and is spread out like butter on the brown toast of a person trying to diet. Farhan Aktar (Aditya) as the lead singer of the band and the investment banker has zero charisma. He is competant and good looking even, but not charismatic. Luke Kenny(Rob) as the scraping musician and the killer-at-the-keyboard is just about adequate. Purab (KD) as the gujju jhaveri and the killer-drums of the band is good. Arjun Rampal as the droopy mouche loser of the present and the magic guitarist of the band is WOW. All of a sudden this wooden model boy has turned into this bankable performer. He looks fabulous, acts fabulous and is the cherry on top of this movie.

The Girls : Prachi Desai thankfully gets into sweet short dresses that highlight her hep young self. She does a good job as Aditya's wife Sakshi who is trying hard to make her marriage work. Shahana Goswami as Debbie is the dress designer turned fishmonger and a very bitter wife to Joe. They love each other but cant deal with life. Koel Purie as Devika is a friend of Sakshi's who takes a shine to KD.

The music and the rock and roll performances of the band Magik is Magik. The music and the stage performances mesmerise. It makes the movie totally watchable and such unadulterated fun.

We have mighty few genres of movies in the Hindi film industry. Its usually just masala mish mash of action, comedy and drama. It is refreshing to see a movie in the hitherto unexplored genre of a rock-band movie. The movie has no pretensions and is purely about the four rockers and what they did and how to get them back together. For just this reason, we have to be very grateful to Abhishek Kapoor.

The songs dude... are to die for and are on my playlist already. Farhan Akhtar the singer is really good. The guy is nothing short of a genius. He has directed some sublime flicks, he is adequate as an actor and now the singing thing! His voice which sounds raspy when he talks, takes on a different timbre altogether when he starts singing. The music by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy is sheer JOY.