(MENAFN- IANS) Lahore, Sep 24 (IANS) Dev Anand was forever on our TV screens. My mother and aunts were huge fans. But my mother also had bundles of Filmfare magazines, and large black discs of gramophones with beautiful covers of Indian actors and actresses.
Her favourite was Dilip Kumar and a close second was Dev Anand. Dev Anand lit up the screen with his perfect groomed hair, perfectly fitted clothes and the aura he gave off of wealth and sophistication other stars of his time lacked. Dev Anand could be playing an alcoholic and he would have not a single hair out of place like in "Sharabi" (1964).
When I went to Government College University Lahore for my MPhil, my mother's response was: "Dev Anand went to Government College." How cool was I!
Dev Anand did his BA in English from the college - and fell in love with a classmate too, according to his autobiography, but was too shy to express his feelings! He wanted to do his MA too but the family situation did not allow it. He never forgot his stint there - and in his early days in filmdom, asked about his perfect English, replied he had studied at the best college "this side of the Suez".
In my two years there I looked for plaques and memories of the greats at the University and there are some big names there. (Alumni include two Nobel laureates -- Dr Hargobind Khurana and Dr Abdus Salam, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Khushwant Singh, Balraj Sahni, the Sharif brothers, Hadiqa Kiani, et al)
By the by, I also share Kamini Kaushal's alma mater as I am an alumna of Kinnaird College Lahore as well. Another fact, my mother reiterated often.
Dev Anand's black and white movie era was very Hollywood-esque I now feel because he was actively trying to live up to the compliment Suraiya had given him of reminding her of Gregory Peck. Dev Anand was much better I feel but I am sure Suraiya had her reasons. A love story with a sad ending and one I never forgot.
My mother used to say that Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, and Ashok Kumar were called "The Big Four". Three of them had very sad love stories but all of them had happy marriages.
Talking of unhappy love lives, "Bombai Ka Babu" (1960) is a film I will never forget. Not just because of the songs, "Deewana mastana hua dil", "Pawan chale to uthe man mein lehar si", "Chal ri sajni ab
kya soche", "Dekhne mein bhola hai", but also because of the two beautiful leads, Dev Anand and Suchitra Sen were stunning here, and the story was one of the saddest ever. A classic.
Movies in the black and white era were some of his best and the rom-coms like "Tere Ghar ke Samne" (1963) and "Paying Guest" (1957) with the instantly lovable songs like the title song of the former and"Chorh do aanchal", were some of my favourites.
Then the sixties and early seventies dawned and Dev Anand wore his floral shirts and his caps, and appeared very French to my eyes. I discovered all these movies in the eighties and nineties of course in my early childhood and teenage years. "Aise na mujhe tum dekho, seene se lagaa loongaa" ("Darling Darling", 1977), was a favourite.
Songs like "Hum phir baat badal denge" ("Neend chura ke raaton men" from "Shareef Badmash", 1973), "Pal bhar ke liye koi hamen pyar kar le" ("Johnny Mera Naam", 1970, "Kiska rasta dekhen" ("Joshila", 1973), are still on the top of my playlist.
Dev Anand really was one of a kind. A suave, cool, well-dressed and classic man of black and white cinema, he also kept reinventing himself at a time when reinventing and rebranding oneself was
He remains to this day, one of the brightest stars in a very bright galaxy.
(Faiqa Mansab is the author of "This House of Clay and Water" (2017) and the upcoming "The Storyteller" (Penguin, Neem Tree Press, 2024). She is a Saari Fellow and British Chevening Scholarship awardee)