R.I.P, Dev Saab

05 Dec,2011

By Ranjona Banerji

 

The death of Dev Anand, not unnaturally, took up most of Sunday’s news and a good proportion of Monday’s newspapers. To the more maudlin amongst us, it seems that 2011 has stolen many of our “icons” (The cynical might argue that death is inevitable). But when it comes to Dev Anand, no amount of mourning is enough and no encomium over the top. This is a loss of an amazing spirit and an irrepressible zest for life. In this ego-ridden world, Anand refused to rest on his past laurels and kept looking ahead to his new ventures. He did not seem fazed – or if he was he did not let them daunt him – by his many failures in the last 20 years. He just kept on. The Times of India most appropriately headlined their lead, ‘India’s Youngest Star Dies at 88’.

 

From being one of the triumvirate who ruled Hindi cinema in the 1950s,60s and even the 70s and beyond, to a whimsical director who refused to be defeated either by age or opinion, Dev Anand carried the flag of both the golden age as well as the future.

 

The fact is that Anand was criticised through the later part of his life – albeit affectionately – and he took it all in his stride. In death, then, we can only look back on a glorious life.

 

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Most called Anand’s death ‘end of an era’, which indeed it does signify. The international media has picked it up as well and not just because Anand died in London. Bollywood and India’s reach is now well known. But Anand also made a name for himself a long time ago with Guide. Renowned novelist Pearl Buck adapted RK Narayan’s novel for the 1956 English version of the movie. The Hindustan Times, harking back to one of Dev Anand’s seminal films, headlined their second lead, ‘Indian cinema loses its ‘Guide’. Though one is not sure whether Anand would have been happy with being called a guide; perhaps he saw himself more as a trailblazer! (It is another matter that the making and final versions of Guide, gave Narayan close to a nervous breakdown!)

 

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The newspapers have been full of tributes and over the next weeks we are bound to see more, from those who know him well, those who met him only once, the various people he introduced to cinema and his millions of fans.

 

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Based on a conversation on Twitter and my own observation, it appears that reporters have so much to thank social media and micro-blogging for. The tedious task of calling people for reactions to some event has now been replaced by logging on to twitter and taking down comments. So much easier than conventional calls and with no chance of the person being “misquoted”?

 

(Unless of course you quote Suhel Seth whose twitter account is apparently hacked into at regular intervals!)

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