The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2002 for his contribution to Indian cinema. His career spanned more than 65 years with acting in 114 Hindi films of which 110 have him play the main lead actor.
Early lifeDev was born Dharam Dev Pishorimal Anand on 26 September 1923 in the Shakargarh tehsil of the Gurdaspur district in Punjab (British India) (present-day Narowal district of Pakistan). His father Pishori Lal Anand was a well-to-do advocate. Dev was the third of four sons born to Pishori Lal Anand. One of Dev's younger sister is Sheela Kanta Kapur, who is mother of Shekhar Kapur. His older brothers were Manmohan Anand (Advocate, Gurdaspur Dist. Court) and Chetan Anand and younger one was Vijay Anand. Dev Anand spent his early years in Gharota village near Gurdaspur, Gurdaspur town. He did his schooling till matriculation from Sacred Heart School, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh (then in Punjab) and went to college Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh before going to Lahore to study. Later Dev completed his graduation in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore in British India.
CareerAfter graduating in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore (then in British India, now in Pakistan), Anand left his hometown for Bombay in the early 1940s. He began his career in the military censor's office at Churchgate, for a monthly salary of Rs. 165. Later he joined as a clerk in an accountancy firm for a salary of Rs. 85. He joined his older brother, Chetan, as a member of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA).Dev Anand aspired to become a performer after seeing Ashok Kumar's performance in films like Achhut Kanya and Kismat. Dev Anand quoted in an interview that "I remember when I gatecrashed into the office of the man who gave me the first break, he kept looking at me — Babu Rao Pai of Prabhat Film Studios. At that time he made up his mind that this boy deserves a break and later mentioned to his people that ‘this boy struck me because of his smile and beautiful eyes and his tremendous confidence." Then he was soon offered the lead role in Prabhat Films' Hum Ek Hain (1946), a film about Hindu-Muslim unity, where Dev Anand played a Hindu boy and was paired opposite Kamala Kotnis. While shooting the film in Pune, Anand befriended the actor Guru Dutt. Between them, they agreed that if one of them was to become successful in the film industry, they would help the other to be successful. They formed a mutual understanding that when Anand produced a film, Dutt would direct it and when Dutt directed a film, Anand would act in it.
Late 40s and romance with Suraiya
Break and the 1950sAnand was offered his first big break by Ashok Kumar. He spotted Anand hanging around in the studios and picked him as the hero for the Bombay Talkies production, Ziddi (1948), co-starring Kamini Kaushal, which became an instant success. After Ziddi's success, Anand decided that he would start producing films. It was in the film Ziddi, where the first-ever Kishore-Lata duet, Yeh Kaun Aaya Karke Yeh Sola Singhar, was recorded. This duet was an instant hit, and from here, on both the playback singers' association with Dev Anand began. It continued for next four decades. His association with Kishore Kumar started when the former sang the first solo of his playback singing career – Marne Ki Duayen – picturised on Dev Anand in the movie Ziddi. Dev had forged a very strong bond of friendship with Kishore Kumar during the making of the film. In 1949, he launched his own company Navketan Films (which means "newness"), which, as of 2011, had produced 35 films.
Dev chose Guru Dutt as director for the crime thriller, Baazi (1951). The film, starring Dev Anand, Geeta Bali and Kalpana Kartik was a trendsetter, regarded as the forerunner of the spate of urban crime films that followed in Bollywood in the 1950s. The film Baazi saw debut of Kalpana Kartik (aka Mona Singh) as the lead female actress and Guru Dutt as a director. The collaboration was a success at the box office and the duo of Dev Anand and Kalpana Kartik were offered many films to star in together. They signed all the film offers and subsequently the movies Aandhiyan, Taxi Driver, House No. 44 and Nau Do Gyarah went on to become big hits too. During the making of film Taxi Driver, the couple fell in love and Dev proposed marriage to his heroine Kalpana. In 1954, Taxi Driver was declared a hit and the two decided to marry in a quiet ceremony. The couple had a son, Suneil Anand in 1956 and later a daughter, Devina, was born. After her marriage, Kalpana decided not to pursue her acting career further. Nau Do Gyarah was the couple's last movie together.
A rapid-fire style of dialogue delivery and a penchant for nodding while speaking became Dev's style in films like House No. 44, Pocket Maar, Munimji, Funtoosh, C.I.D. and Paying Guest. In the 1950s his films were of the mystery genre or light comedy love stories or were films with social relevance like Ek ke baad ek and Funtoosh.His style was lapped up by the audience and was widely imitated. He starred in a string of box office successes for the remainder of the 1950s opposite newcomer Waheeda Rehman in C.I.D., Solva Saal, Kala Pani, Kala Bazar and Baat Ek Raat Ki. Waheeda first became a star with C.I.D becoming a hit. In 1955 he also co-starred with Dilip Kumar in Insaniyat. With his acting in Kala Pani (1958), as the son who is willing to go to any lengths to clear his framed father's name, he won his first Filmfare award for Best Actor for the film.He attempted films of tragic genre occasionally like Pocketmaar (1956), Kala Pani (1958), Bombai Ka Baboo (1960) and Sharabi (1964) and tasted success with them. Dev also played a few characters with a negative shade, like in Jaal(1952) where he played a smuggler, then as an absconding gang member in Dushman, as a black marketer in Kala Bazar. Apart from his pair with Suraiya and Kalpana Kartik, his pair with Nutan and Waheeda Rehman was popular among the audiences in late 50’s and 60’s. His films Rahee and Aandhiyaan, were screened along with Raj Kapoor's Awaara. From the early fifties till mid sixties, the trio of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand ruled the roost.
Romance hero image in the 60sIn the sixties, Dev Anand acquired a romantic image with films like Manzil and Tere Ghar Ke Samne with Nutan, Kinaare Kinaare with Meena Kumari, Maya with Mala Sinha, Asli-Naqli with Sadhana Shivdasani, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai and Mahal with Asha Parekh and Teen Deviyaan opposite three heroines Kalpana, Simi Garewal and Nanda. In the film Teen Deviyaan, Dev Anand played a playboy.
His first colour film, Guide with Waheeda Rehman was based on the novel of the same name by R. K. Narayan. Dev Anand himself was the impetus for making the film version of the book. He met and persuaded Narayan to give his assent to the project. Dev Anand tapped his friends in Hollywood to launch an Indo-US co-production that was shot in Hindi and English simultaneously and was released in 1965. Guide, directed by younger brother Vijay Anand, was an acclaimed movie. Dev played Raju, a voluble guide, who supports Rosy (Waheeda) in her bid for freedom. He is not above thoughtlessly exploiting her for personal gains. Combining style with substance, he gave an affecting performance as a man grappling with his emotions in his passage through love, shame and salvation.
He reunited with Vijay Anand for the movie Jewel Thief, based on thriller genre which featured Vaijayantimala, Tanuja, Anju Mahendru, Faryal and Helen. Their next collaboration, Johny Mera Naam (1970), again a thriller, where Dev was paired opposite Hema Malini was a big hit.It was Johnny Mera Naam which made Hema Malini a big star.
Directorial debut and the 70sHis directorial debut, the espionage drama Prem Pujari, was a flop but has developed a cult following over the years. He tasted success with his 1971 directorial effort, Hare Rama Hare Krishna which talked about the prevalent hippie culture. His find Zeenat Aman, who played the mini-skirt sporting, pot-smoking Janice, became an overnight sensation. Dev also became known as a filmmaker of trenchantly topical themes. This same year, he starred with Mumtaz in Tere Mere Sapne, an adaptation of A. J. Cronin's novel, The Citadel. The film was directed by Dev's brother, Vijay and was also successful.
In the 1970s, Raj Kapoor started playing roles of father in films like Kal Aaj Aur Kal in 1971 and Dharam Karam in 1974 and had put lot of weight and films with Dilip Kumar as lead hero were failures at the box office . Some of the hurriedly-made films with Dev Anand as the leading man—three each opposite Hema Malini and Zeenat Aman and Yeh Gulistaan Hamara with Sharmila Tagore became flops and posed a threat to his career as leading man. But he delivered commercial hits again with young heroines Yogita Bali and Rakhee in Banarasi Babu (1973), Hema Malini in Chhupa Rustam (1973) and Amir Garib (1974), Zeenat Aman in Heera Panna(1973), Warrant(1975) and Darling Darling(1977) and Parveen Babi in Bullet(1976). The presence of his discoveries in the 1970s—Zeenat, and later Tina Munim, in films and his good onscreen chemistry with beautiful young stars like Rakhee, Parveen Babi, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman in various films boosted Dev's image as the evergreen star even though he was well into his fifties.
Political activism during the Emergency in the late 70sDev Anand has also been politically active. He led a group of film personalities who stood up against the Internal Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. He actively campaigned against her with his supporters in Indian parliamentary elections in 1977. He also formed a party called the "National Party of India", which he later disbanded.
The 1978 hit Des Pardes, directed by Dev Anand was the debut movie of actress Tina Munim and this film’s success gave him the tag of evergreen hero. He was 55 but he shared very good chemistry with the 20 year old Tina Munim. Dev Anand was offered lead role in Man Pasand by director Basu Chatterjee. Dev Anand’s successful run at the box office continued in the 1980s with Man Pasand, Lootmaar (both opposite Tina Munim), Swami Dada (1982) being both critically acclaimed and box office hits.
But films with Dev Anand as the lead hero Hum Naujawan (1985), Lashkar (1989) continued to be box office success and was appreciated by critics. Awwal Number (1990), where Dev Anand co-starred with Aamir Khan became an average grosser. Aamir said in an interview that Awwal Number is the only film he signed without reading the script because it was being directed by his senior Dev Anand. Aamir quoted “Dev saab was an icon for many generations and entertained us throughout his life. He was already 60 years old in 1983 when he acted with Padmini Kolhapure in Swami Dada but looked half his age and shared a good on screen chemistry. In 1989, his directorial venture Sachche ka Bolbala was released. Though critically acclaimed, it was a commercial failure.
Since the 1990s except for Awwal Number, rest of the eight films directed by him were box office failures. But Sau Crore (1991) and Censor (2000) were critically acclaimed. His last film Chargesheet (2011) was panned by critics across the board. The only two hero film he acted in was Insaniyat in 1955 with Dilip Kumar. He also starred in English films like The Evil Within(1970) where he was paired opposite Vietnamese actress Kieu Chinh and Zeenat Aman and Guide (English Version). Off the 114 Hindi films he appeared in 6 decades, Kahin Aur Chal (1968) and multistarrer film Ek Do Teen Chaar (1980) remained unreleased and Shrimanji (1968) had him in guest appearance and 82 were box office hits and 29 were commercial failures. By 2011, he held the record for being the first actor from Hindi films who has played the central solo lead character in maximum films—110.
Comparisons with Gregory PeckOften compared to the famous actor Gregory Peck the world over, Dev Anand said that he didn't feel ecstatic bearing the tag line bestowed on him in his hey days. "When you are at an impressionable age you make idols. But when you grow out of the phase, you develop your own persona. I don't want to be known as India's Gregory Peck, I am Dev Anand"
Acquainted to the Bollywood actor, Peck's personal interactions with him spanned four to five long meetings in Europe and Mumbai.
Dev Anand and Suraiya met Peck for the first time at Mumbai's Willingdon Club,after the Filmfare Awards in 1954, on Peck's stopover in the city from a schedule at Sri Lanka after shooting for Purple Plane. He knew of the 'Indian Star' as an actor, more so probably because of his romance with Suraiya was grabbing the headlines, and they had a chat. The second time they met in Rome when Dev Anand was on his way back from the Venice Film Festival, he visited him on the sets of Roman Holiday. "I was returning from the Venice film fest. I stopped my car and joined the crowd watching the shoot, hoping that his eyes would fall on me. As expected, he nodded and I walked up to him. He remembered me and we exchanged pleasantries." The third meeting was at London on the sets of Moby Dick. However, Suraiya asked for an exclusive meeting with her idol at her house. Though Anand says jealousy was natural for anyone in love, he didn't mind that he was not invited. "I didn't quite feel anything. It wasn't as if they were going to fall in love or make love. Even if they would have, it wouldn't have mattered. I was mature enough. Moreover, he wasn't my rival. I too was a big star by then," says Anand.