Suave, Handsome, charismatic, principled, versatile, every superlatives and adjectives would fall short in the lexicon when it comes down to describing the enigma that is, Dev Anand. He is one of the greatest living actors and performers in the world. Dev Anand embodies everything that was once the glory and hey day of Indian Cinema, where a right dose of entertainment with social ethos embodied the, “ Golden Period in Indian Film History” and Dev Anand was one of the forerunners and torch bearers of the Great Indian Cinema that was once, truly remarkable and universal.
After completing his graduation in English literature from Lahore University, he traveled to Bombay and gate crashed at Prabhat's, Mr Baburao Pai's office in 1946 after which he was auditioned by a director called P.L. Santoshi. He was signed for his first film with Rs 350 per month. The film was called, “Hum Ek Hain” based on national unity disrupted. It was here at Prabhat where he had an encounter with Guru Dutt through a common dhobi who by mistake gave him Guru Dutts shirt, and it was here that they premised each other if Guru Dutt got a chance to be a director before he would cast Dev Anand and if Dev and got a chance to produce, he would direct.
Ziddi was the first success of the actor and turned to a producer. The promise came true after Dev Anand and his elder brother, Chetan Anand, started off with his production company Navketan and gave Guru Dutt a chance in a film called BAAZI, released at Swastik cinema Boambay, 1951. Baazi is known for its experimentation with a ghazal tadbeer bana le- which was set in music style. After Baazi they reworked on Jaal again.
Even though his career was at its pinnacle in 1950's, his best film was still awaited. He personified the boy-next-door image in films like, Munimji (1955), Paying guest (1957). It was in 1958 that got him an award for his performance in Kaala Paani, directed by Raj Khosla. Ironically it was Dev Anand, who had pushed Raj Khosla in direction with Baazi, while he was struggling to become a singer. He was seen in a double role in film like Hum Dono, however, it was to be his next venutre which would bring him critical and commerical success.
Guide, directed by his younger brother, Vijay Anand. Both of them again brought him awards for best actors. Guide was also his first color film that was released in Hindi and English in 1965, and is regarded as his best work. It was based on a novel by R.K. Narayan co starring Waheeda Rehman. Guide was also played in Cannes film festival in the classic section, where Dev Anand was also invited. Along with Hyderabad's Goldstone Technologies in Hyderabad, he worked to recolourize and restore the prints of the classic before it was screened.
In the 1970's Dev Anand made JhonnyMera Naam which where he reunited with his brother, which was again a huge success. He directed his first film Prem Pujari, and the then Hare Raam Hare Krishna, which talked about the hippie culture starring Zeenat Aman and Mumtaz, indeed a bold topic for those times. The same year we saw him in another film by Vijay Anand an adaptation of AJ Cronin’s novel, THE citadel, Tere Mere Sapne.
Dev Anand continued to produce, direct and act in various films, his energy is an inspiration for the youngsters to continue striving for success and to be positive. Dev anand says, "I never give my chance to get depressed, I always think ahead". He continues to work on projects that area parts do the social system in our society.’ On January 26, 2001 Dev Anand was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Indian Cinema and the latest feather in the cap of this evergreen hero is the Dadasaheb Phalke Award which in true Dev Anand style, he dedicated to the future. apart from national honors Dev Anand has also won international recognitions and honors like In July 2000, in New york city, he was honored by an Award at the hands of the then First Lady of the United States of America - Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton - for his 'Outstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema' then in California for star of the millennium
At 85, his energy levels are higher than that of a youngster. To which he replied he is still child like, curious, restless, ambitious, and is still growing as a person that is why he is still making films.
He recently launched his autobiography Romancing His Life.
(Opening Speech given on the eve of Dev Anand visit to Maison de l'Inde Paris)