Monday, December 5, 2011

Dev Anand, A Tongue-In-Check Tribute

Circa  : 1974
Place : Bombay
Cast   : A 12 year old Me wearing strechlon blue checked bell-bottom trousers, a same-age friend (F) and his older brother (OB), and another friend of the older brother (FOB). 
Scene  : F & me run into OB & FOB.

OB & FOB : ROFLing
F & Me : Why are you ROFLing ?
OB : Look at your pants
Me : Nothing to laugh at, they almost match Dev Anand's in Amir Garib. He is my favorite hero.
FOB : Dev Anand !!! He is over 50 years old.
Me : NO !!!! (At that age, 50 belongs with the dinosaurs)
OB : You know nothing, you just came from Poona. He also wears a wig.
Me : NO !!!!, But he looks so young.
FOB : He got a face-lift.
Me : (Not sure what a face-lift is, but almost certain it is not flattering.) So what ?
FOB : (Guessing I had no clue) That means plastic surgery, do you know what that is?
Me : (trying to salvage my dignity, but crestfallen) Of course I do.

Much later I realized I need not have taken it to heart, because this would not have fazed Dev Anand. He was supremely secure in who he was, and what he wanted to do, and no amount of criticism (legitimate or otherwise) seemed to bother him. At Johannesburg in April 2003, while receiving one of his numerous awards, he remarked that he will continue to make films even though he knew that most people "criticized & ridiculed him for doing so".

In today's internet world, Dev Anand's death was reported by several global media outlets including, New York Times, Reuters, BBC, CBS, Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, Guardian,  UAE Times, Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, CNN and the Wall Street Journal. Indian media outlets had extensive coverage; with reactions from most Bollywood insiders. Rishi Kapoor called him the "Badshah of Style"; and in that sentiment I present ten songs filmed with him wearing a checked article of clothing. Obviously one of the inspirations is my own experience from many years ago. Readers are advised to submit their own songs that shed light upon his fashion style.

10) Ladies & Gentlemen --- Amir Garib
You are a real hardcore Dev Anand fan if you like these trousers. And to those who do not like them, I refer to his Johannesburg speech :). Nevertheless, a nice song, Kishore & Laxmikant Pyarelal bail him out.

9) Kanchi Re Kanchi --- Hare Rama Hare Krishna
A great song from a cult movie, Dev Anand's best directorial effort.  He wears subdued checked trousers that could find favor even today, but I dare you to wear that orange shirt.

8) Ankhon Ankhon Mein Hum Tum --- Mahal
We have Dev Anand & heroine Asha Parekh in checked outfits, his is a jacket, hers is I think a blanket. If I remember correctly, Asha got drenched and is trying to dry out. Dev Anand is a gallant gentlemen, and even though they are alone and unmarried, unlike most other Hindi Movies, no hanky-panky happens ;). A soothing gentle romantic song, typical of several Dev Anand numbers.

7) Sau Saal Pehle --- Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai
Another Dev-Asha pairing, and another great romantic song, Dev wears a classic checked jacket.  A legitimate debate would be which is the best song in this Nasir Hussein entertainer, perhaps "Yeh Ankhen UffYuMa". An even better debate would be whether Asha's checked outfit in "Yeh Akhen UffYuMa" would suit Dev Anand ;)

6) Yeh Raat Yeh Chandni Phir Kahaan --- Jaal
Could this sweater be a precursor to current preppy diamond/argyle fashions, Dev Anand's attire cannot be faulted by "How To Look Preppy". To top it all, apparently he plays a smuggler in this Guru Dutt directed movie. Perhaps Al Capone should have consulted Dev Anand on what "The Well Dressed Smuggler is Wearing". (Full Marks to those who recognize this line is adapted from B. Wooster's "What the Well Dressed Gentleman is Wearing".)

5) Dekh Hame Awaaz Na Dena --- Amardeep
Yes that is a checked scarf being used by Dev Anand to flirt with Vyjanthimala. Dev elevated wearing mufflers to an art form. Needless to say, another great romantic song.

4) Likha Hai Teri Ankhon Mein --- Teen Devian
There can be no confusion here, definitely a checked scarf/muffler. Dev Anand simultaneously romances three women in this movie, perhaps wearing this checked muffler is the clue to his real preference.

3) Mera Man Tera Pyaasa --- Gambler
Dev Anand may be a Gambler straight out of Gambler's er. Gentlemen's Quarterly. That checked shirt is a classic, but how many would dare wear that purple scarf.

2) Nafrat Karne Walon Ke Seene Mein Pyar Bhar Doon --- Johnny Mera Naam
That black muffler blends in with the checked shirt & navy blazer. Add pale blue trousers, and this classic outfit stands the test of time.

Shirt + Cap
1) Aasmaan Ke Neeche --- Jewel Thief
A great two-in-one, cap plus shirt, completes this tongue-in-check tribute.