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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Dev Anand: The Legend Passes On; His Music Will Live On!


The Legend Passes On; His Music Will Live On!

Written by Dr. Seshadri Kumar, December 11, 2011

Copyright © Dr. Seshadri Kumar, 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

Please visit http://www.leftbrainwave.com for more articles by Dr. Seshadri Kumar

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As most people are now aware, the legendary Dev Anand is no more.  He died last Saturday (December 3rd, 2011) night in London, at around 3.30 am IST, of a massive heart attack at the age of 88, and was cremated yesterday (December 10th) in London.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/Dev-Anand-death-Bollywood-plunges-into-mourning/articleshow/10977462.cms

The loss, for me, is quite personal.  I remember, even as a child, watching movies like "Hum Dono," "Guide," and "Hare Rama Hare Krishna," all on our tiny black-and-white portable TV on the only TV channel in India, Doordarshan.  Those days were also unforgettable because we were one of the very few families that had a TV in our neighborhood in the 1970s - my uncle had brought the TV along with him in one of his visits to India from the US - and all the neighborhood kids used to watch the movies with us in a community atmosphere on Sundays.

I will never forget that song from "Hum Dono," "Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya" - particularly because that song was a very upbeat song that I remembered even during the darkest days of my life.  "Barbaadiyon ka shokh manana phizool tha; barbaadiyon ka jashn manaata chala gaya" was a mantra that could make me feel better, whatever the circumstances.  And this next line could very well summarize the philosophy of Krishna in the Gita, of man's need to maintain equanimity in all situations: "Gam aur khushi mein farq na mehsoos ho jahan; main dil ko us maqaam pe laata chala gaya."

There are many things that made Dev Anand unique – his rapid fire dialogue delivery, his legendary style, the hats, scarves, his very long career in the Hindi film industry, his discovery of new stars, the wonderful music in his films, and above all, a singular dedication to films and film-making.  Nothing quite impressed me about Dev Anand as much as the fact that he continued to make films which no one really watched.  He did not make them for others, but for his own sheer joy of making those films.  This is a love for his art that is way out of the ordinary and truly epitomizes the “karma yogi” of the Bhagavad Gita.

We used to love Dev Saab's dialogue delivery - and it was such a unique brand that when Sholay became a runaway hit in 1975, and mimics all over Bombay were imitating Gabbar Singh's famous "Kitne aadmi the" dialogue, one bit that was always part of every routine was an imagination of how Dev Anand would say the "kitne aadmi the" dialogue - in his trademark, rapid fire way, nodding his head all the time.

Dev Anand was also a uniquely successful star in Hindi movies, having played the lead role in 110 movies – more than any other Hindi film star.  Not only that, of the total of 114 Hindi films he appeared in, 82 were box office hits – a success rate of 72%!!!  It is hard to imagine any other actor, then or now, with such a high success rate.

Evergreen Star

Dev Saab was born in 1923 and was acting as a lead actor until the early 80s - when he was nearly 60!  The amazing thing about this is that he did not look that old!  During the early 70s, when he was in his 50s, he was still acting with 20 something actresses and believably passing off as the younger women's amour.  Yes, we do have people like Rajnikanth, who is now 60, acting with 20 year olds, but they are not believable.  But in the early 70s, you had Dev Anand acting with the same 20 year-olds that his 30-something contemporaries such as Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna were also paired with – and no one was making fun of Dev Anand for that! He was truly the evergreen star.

Many have commented that Dev saab should have realized that he was getting old and reconciled with reality; that he was deluded in still trying to play a leading man, well past the age of 70.  While this might have been true to some extent, if Dev saab had indeed followed this philosophy, he would never have acted in so many movies as he was getting older and we would have been deprived of so many wonderful memories.  He would never have acted as a leading man in Warrant (1975) or Des Pardes (1978), when he was 53 and 55 respectively, and we would not have had some great songs to hum and enjoy; or have had 5 major hits in 1973, when he was 50.  One could not have part of Dev Anand – you had to accept him in entirety.

A Highly Cultured Man

From all accounts, Dev Anand was born into a cultured Punjabi family.  The son of an advocate, he studied English literature at the Government College in Lahore, a highly prestigious educational institution in pre-partition India (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dev_Anand). 

Testament to his erudition has recently been given by actress Vyjayanthimala Bali in this interview: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Entertainment/Bollywood/Dev-Anand-was-stylish-and-well-read-Vyjayanthimala/Article1-778610.aspx

He was also a lover of classical music.  In fact, he hired the great Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Akbar_Khan) as a music director in some of his earlier films.  Listen to the songs from Aandhiyan (1952) and you can hear the strains of Khansahib’s unmistakable sarod in the prelude to some of the songs.  It is this love for good music that stood him in good stead and helped him make very good choices when selecting music for his films.

Being a lover of good classical literature as well, he actually hired renowned Hindi poet Gopaldas Saxena “Neeraj” to be a lyricist for him for the film Prem Pujari (1970).  He apparently met Neeraj at a mushaira in Mumbai in 1955.  How many people in the film industry can you think of who are knowledgeable and cultured enough to attend a mushaira?!  It was the famous poet Neeraj (whose essays and poems I have studied in Hindi lessons in school) who wrote the famous Dev Anand songs, “Rangeela re,” “Phoolon ke rang se,” and “Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye,” among others.  To get the perspective of a highly literate man such as Neeraj on Dev saab, read this article from the Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/arts/cinema/article2698717.ece

The Complete Filmmaker

Dev Saab did everything there was to do in films.  Early on in his career – he started as an actor in 1946 – he decided that he did not want to be just an actor, but wanted to be involved in all aspects of filmmaking, and so started Navketan Films in 1952.  The story of that production house and of the three Anand brothers – Dev, his elder brother Chetan Anand, who directed so many of his films, and Vijay Anand, his younger, brilliantly talented brother who also directed him in many great films – is now the stuff of Bollywood history.  Raj Kapoor, another Bollywood actor who got into movie production and direction, also started RK Films fairly soon after becoming an actor, and the two actors were contemporaries and rivals.  But Navketan has been more path-breaking in Indian cinema than any other Bollywood studio.

Dev Saab got into all aspects of filmmaking – acting, writing, direction, production, and music direction (more on that below.)  My wife and I were reminded of the quality of his films recently when we rented and watched “Jewel Thief” again – such an entertaining and crisp film, really quite a rarity in Bollywood.  And while no one in his or her right mind would think of denying Vijay Anand the credit for that amazing movie, it is Dev Anand who was the heart and soul, both of Navketan as the guiding force and, as the character Vinay, of the movie Jewel Thief and, without whom, Jewel Thief could never have succeeded.  And such songs!  Can one ever forget "Honton mein aisi baat" - such an exquisite composition by SD Burman.  One could write a term paper simply on the use of the different instruments in the orchestration for that song!  If this were not impressive enough, the entire song was shot in a single take (http://www.thehindu.com/arts/cinema/article2687282.ece).

The Music of Dev Anand

And this brings us to the issue of the music of Dev Anand's films.  It is true that one must give credit to SD Burman, Shankar-Jaikishen, RD Burman, and the other composers for the wonderful music in Dev Saab's films, and to singers like Kishore, Rafi and Talat for the brilliant execution of those musical ideas, but Dev Saab's own influence on the songs is well-documented in many articles and TV programs. He was quite a connoisseur of good music, and used to appreciate Indian classical music as well, so that no song really got approved in his films until Dev Saab had approved them.  (see, for example, Lata talking about this at http://www.hindustantimes.com/Entertainment/Bollywood/Dev-saab-was-very-fond-of-classical-music-Lata/Article1-777720.aspx).  

He had  a very strong rapport with SD Burman and used to sit in innumerable sessions with the veteran music composer discussing the songs for his films. (For more on this, see http://www.sdburman.net/website/Articles/devanandonsdb.html). 

So, while the movies, the hats, the nodding, the dialogue delivery, and the flamboyance are all very much part of the Dev Anand legend, probably the legacy of Dev Saab that will remain in our memories longest are the songs in his films. In the same way that Jagjit Singh's passing affected me because I will always remember his beautiful and haunting songs, and in the way that Shammi Kapoor will always remain in my heart as the amazing actor and dancer who did songs like “Baar baar dekho,” Dev Saab's wonderful film songs, and the spirit he portrayed in them, will never die, for me and for millions of other fans.  

His Greatest Songs

So here is a list of the best Dev Anand songs to complete this article - the greatest legacy of Dev Saab, IMHO.   I have tried to make it as comprehensive as possible.  If I have missed any deserving songs, please let me know and I will add them if I think their addition is warranted.  The list is of course subjective, but I have tried to maintain a uniform standard of quality. 

Preparing this list has been an education for me.  I had no idea that some of the songs in this list were actually Dev Anand songs – I had only heard them; likewise, some of the songs in the list are not very well-known, and so I did not know about them, but they are great songs nonetheless.  I discovered some gems while doing the research for this.

I have arranged the songs chronologically, because I do not see any point in debating/arguing on the placement of songs in any hierarchy of quality.  Also, it would be a very difficult thing to rate the songs in terms of quality, because the songs in this list are all of a very high standard.  Keep in mind that they date from 1948 to 1984 – so there is a wide variety in musical styles.

Note that I have even included songs in which Dev Saab is not featured if the movie is a Navketan movie, because it is a well-known fact that he had a strong influence on the songs in the movies from his own production house and so deserves credit if those songs are good.  I have also included songs in which Dev Saab’s character does not sing, so long as he is in the frame.  So some of these songs (21 songs) only have a female voice singing, but Dev Anand is very much part of the song.

Analysis of Dev-saab's Hits

A little analysis on the songs revealed a few interesting things.  Of the 137 songs presented here, 67 have been composed by SD Burman, or about 50%.  This shows the very strong connection between Burman dada and Dev Saab.  The other leading composers for Dev Saab were Shankar Jaikishan with 16 hits and Pancham with 15.  Further, it is instructive to see what the hit rate of the principal composers is.  SD Burman composed for 24 films in which Dev Anand acted; these produced 67 hits, or 2.79 hits per movie; Shankar Jaikishan composed for 7 films, with 16 hits, which is a hit rate of 2.29; and RD Burman composed for 8 films, with 15 hits, with a hit rate of 1.88.  Of the composers with fewer movies, a noteworthy mention is that Salil da only composed one film for Dev saab – Maya (1961) – but this had 4 hit songs!

Of the playback singers who have given Dev saab his singing voice, Kishore Kumar has the most hits – 51, followed by Mohammad Rafi with 44, Hemant Kumar and Talat Mehmood with 7 each, and Manna Dey, Mukesh, SD Burman, Dwijen Mukherjee, C. Ramachandra, and GM Durrani with 1 each.  Clearly, by sheer numbers, one would have to say Kishore Kumar was the voice of Dev Anand, though, of course, there are memorable songs by all these great singers.  Indeed, Dev saab is said to have commented on Kishore Kumar’s death that he had lost his voice.

The other interesting thing is the year-wise distribution of these hits.  The figure below shows how Dev Saab’s hits were distributed over the decades.  Dev Saab starts off slowly, with the 8 year period between 1948 and 1955 producing “only” 15 memorable numbers – but some of these have become all-time classics – songs like “Yeh raat, yeh chaandni phir kahan,” “Yaad kiya dil ne kahaan ho tum,” “Jaayen to jaayen kahaan,” and “Jeevan ke safar mein raahi.” 

The peak, of course occurred in the 1956-60 and 1961-65 periods, with 33 and 40 hits respectively, with important milestones like “CID,” “Paying Guest,” “Funtoosh,” “Nau do Gyarah,” “Kala Pani,” “Bambai ka Babu,” “Kala Bazaar,” “Hum Dono,” “Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai,” “Maya,” “Asli Naqli,” “Tere Ghar ke Saamne,” “Sharaabi,” “Teen Devian,” and, finally, the unforgettable “Guide.” 

The 1966-70 years saw a slump, relatively speaking, with “only” 16 all-time memorable numbers in those 5 years (which would be pretty good for any other hero!), highlights of which period were the flawless music of “Jewel Thief,” supported by good songs from “Prem Pujari” and “Johny Mera Naam.”

Dev Saab bounced back with 23 hits in the 1971-75 period, on the back of impressive soundtracks such as “Hare Rama Hare Krishna,” “Gambler,” “Tere Mere Sapne,”  “Joshila,” and “Heera Panna,” among others. 

Even in the last phase of his storied career, the 1976-84 period of 9 years, produced 9 memorable numbers, including the all-time favourite “Aise na mujhe tum dekho” and Kishore’s powerhouse performance in “Rahi tha main awara.”  This means that even in the last productive period of his career over the 36 years we are looking at here, he was producing an average of one memorable number a year. 

Not a mean achievement.
The List: Songs That Will Live Forever Within Us


(Click on the song title to go to youtube)

No
Song Title
Film
Yr
1
Marne ki duayen kyon maangun (Kishoreda’s first solo)
Ziddi
48
2
Hum Bhi Insaan Hain
48
3
Shair
49
4
Baazi
51
5
Jaal
52
6
Armaan
53
7
Patita
53
8
Patita
53
9
Taxi Driver
54
10
Munimji
55
11
Munimji
55
12
House No. 44
55
13
House No. 44
55
14
Phaili hui hai sapnon ki baahen (not pictured on Dev, but it’s a Navketan movie)
House No. 44
55
15
Insaniyat
55
16
CID
56
17
CID
56
18
Funtoosh
56
19
Funtoosh
56
20
Pocket Maar
56
21
Nau do Gyarah
57
22
Nau do Gyarah
57
23
Nau do Gyarah
57
24
Nau do Gyarah
57
25
Nau do Gyarah
57
26
Kya ho phir jo din rangeela ho (not pictured on Dev, but an amazing song in this Navketan film, sung by Geeta and Asha)
Nau do Gyarah
57
27
Paying Guest
57
28
Paying Guest
57
29
Paying Guest
57
30
Paying Guest
57
31
Baarish
57
32
Solva Saal
58
33
Kala Pani
58
34
Kala Pani
58
35
Kala Pani
58
36
Amar Deep
58
37
Love Marriage
59
38
Love Marriage
59
39
Bambai Ka Babu
60
40
Bambai Ka Babu
60
41
Bambai Ka Babu
60
42
Bambai Ka Babu
60
43
Kala Bazaar
60
44
Kala Bazaar
60
45
Kala Bazaar
60
46
Manzil
60
47
Jaali Note
60
48
Jaali Note
60
49
Hum Dono
61
50
Hum Dono
61
51
Hum Dono
61
52
Allah tero naam ishwar tero naam (not featuring Dev, but this is a Navketan film)
Hum Dono
61
53
Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai
61
54
Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai
61
55
Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai
61
56
Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai
61
57
Roop ki Rani Choron ka Raja
61
58
Maya
61
59
Maya
61
60
Maya
61
61
Maya
61
62
Baat Ek Raat Ki
62
63
Baat Ek Raat Ki
62
64
Asli Naqli
62
65
Asli Naqli
62
66
Asli Naqli
62
67
Asli Naqli
62
68
Asli Naqli
62
69
Kinare Kinare
63
70
Kinare Kinare
63
71
Tere Ghar Ke Saamne
63
72
Tere Ghar Ke Saamne
63
73
Tere Ghar Ke Saamne
63
74
Tere Ghar Ke Saamne
63
75
Sharaabi
64
76
Sharaabi
64
77
Sharaabi
64
78
Guide
65
79
Guide
65
80
Guide 65
81
Guide
65
82
Guide
65
83
Guide
65
84
Guide
65
85
Teen Devian
65
86
Teen Devian
65
87
Teen Devian
65
88
Teen Devian
65
89
Pyar Mohabbat
66
90
Jewel Thief
67
91
Jewel Thief
67
92
Jewel Thief
67
93
Jewel Thief
67
94
Jewel Thief
67
95
Jewel Thief
67
96
Duniya
68
97
Mahal
69
98
Mahal
69
99
Johny Mera Naam
70
100
Johny Mera Naam
70
101
Johny Mera Naam
70
102
Prem Pujari
70
103
Prem Pujari
70
104
Prem Pujari
70
105
Gambler
71
106
Gambler
71
107
Gambler
71
108
Hare Rama Hare Krishna
71
109
Hare Rama Hare Krishna
71
110
Hare Rama Hare Krishna
71
111
Tere Mere Sapne
71
112
Tere Mere Sapne
71
113
Tere Mere Sapne
71
114
Yeh Gulistan Hamara
72
115
Heera Panna
73
116
Heera Panna
73
117
Heera Panna
73
118
Joshila
73
119
Joshila
73
120
Chhupa Rustam
73
121
Shareef Badmaash
73
122
Shareef Badmaash
73
123
Banarasi Babu
73
124
Amir Garib
74
125
Amir Garib
74
126
Ishq Ishq Ishq
74
127
Warrant
75
128
Warrant
75
129
Jaanemann 76
130
Jaanemann
76
131
Jaanemann
76
132
Darling Darling
77
133
Sahib Bahadur
77
134
Des Pardes
78
135
Man Pasand
80
136
Lootmaar
80
137
Anand aur Anand
84



Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my wife, Sandhya, and my good friend (and certifiable film nut!), Dr. Avinash Khopkar, for valuable suggestions on the list of songs.