My earliest memories of Dev Anand go back to a summer in the mid-80s. Maa and I’d gone to Kolkata during my summer vacations. My cousins’ cousins had also come over. They were older. I was younger, youngest in the family. During the afternoons, all young people would gather in one of the rooms, pull the curtains, make it all nice, cozy and as cold as possible in Kolkata summer, and chit-chat all afternoon. I was there once or twice, but seriously, teen talk was boring. Film-stars, music etc. No one discussed Noddy!
After a couple of days, I would just read in the afternoons or wander around the house. One day I heard a song coming from the room. I liked the melody, but I liked the lyrics more.
Jo mil gaya usi ko muqaddar samajh liya
Jo kho gaya main usko bhulata chala gaya …
If I remember correctly, it was with this song that I started concentrating on lyrics. I had just started reading sentences and book reading was turning into a hobby. Lyrics, apart from Mary Poppins’ and Sound of Music’s, also started having an impact on my mind.
The next day, I heard the song again, this time in another room and on the television. I went inside the room and sat, the video was playing. I sat staring at the b/w tv, open mouthed, mesmerised. That was my first proper
crush, after Big Ears
A few years later, still during the times of Doordarshan, when Sunday evenings meant Hindi films on tv, I caught a glimpse of the song Phoolon ka taaron ka. I was not allowed adult television till I reached my teens, this was at a family friend’s place. I saw the song and then the film. I actually gulped in the film. I had always craved a sibling, a brother to be precise, but this was when the craving took shape. I would hum each and every word of the song in my mind and imagine an elder brother singing it for me. If I can confess, the craving still exists and the song is still played in my mind, over and over.
Then came adulthood. Love happened, so did heart breaks. Twice. The third time, I was not interested. But I fell hook, line and sinker. Amongst other more viable reasons, was a song – Phoolon ke rang se. Silly reason, but the voice that song it for me, stole my heart and till date, it’s used for every purpose from romance to lullaby, for me.
My ultimate favourite Dev Anand movie is Guide, yes, no surprises there. These lines still run through my mind now and then,
Aaj Mai Kitani Aajadi Mehsoos Kar Raha Hoon!
Jism Jaise Maange Karna Bhool Gaya;
Man Tadpana – Tadpaana Bhool Gaya;
Jeevan Aaj Jaise Mutthi Me Hai !
Maut Jaise Ek Khel Hai!
So, what exactly am I trying to say here? Nothing specific, just remembering the times Dev Anand touched my life, and every time, it was through words. If you know how much I love words, you would also know how richly, he touched my life.
Happy Birthday, Dev Anand. I hope you are in a happy place, still romancing life and women.