Monday, December 05, 2011

Dev, Guru, Death and Anand

Here’s to an uncommon friendship Dev Anand had with Guru Dutt, who bid sayonara 47 years before Dev did.

By Murali Gopy

Glory be to that laundry man at Prabhat studios. It was he who mixed up the delivery packets and ended up dropping Dev Anand’s shirt at Guru Dutt’s door. Guru did wear that shirt for a day, but he returned it to its owner, when he accidentally met Dev on the studio floors. Even if Guru Dutt and Dev Anand had not crossed paths and met each other—one wearing the other’s shirt—it would not have been possible for Guru to be in Dev’s shirt forever. For Dev Anand’s wardrobe was all about garbs of positivity and optimism. And Guru Dutt wouldn’t have had any of it.

When Guru offered to return Dev’s shirt, Dev (the god of smiles that he was) offered his friendship in return. The newfound pals then agreed upon a mutual star-making program, which laid down the terms of launching each other in the event of either one of them making it to a commanding position in the industry: if Guru Dutt were to turn filmmaker, he would make Dev his hero, and if Dev were to produce a film then he would let Guru direct it!

That Dev Anand honoured his side of the deal and that Guru Dutt reciprocated it the way he deemed fit, is not the theme of the hour. This is about two friends, who walked life in diametrically opposite directions and yet respected each other for what they were. The story of Dev Anand and Guru Dutt is the story of, well.., living and dying respectively.

Dev Anand died on Dec 4, 2011, aged 88. His friend signed off at that historically jinxed age of 39, in 1964. When they lived, they both drank from the same cup of fame. Dev seemed to enjoy his drink and Guru seemed to flounder.

For Dev, life was a tune that had to be whistled rather than crooned. For Guru, it was all about facing the music. Dev puffed up his hair, tied a bandana loosely around his neck and looked at the sun with a sunny grin. Guru was sad, with twitched eyebrows, worry lines and with a cloudy smile. As the emotional charts of life unfolded before these two great men, they responded in shockingly dissimilar fashion. It was a sweet challenge for Dev and a potion of bitterness for Guru.
The titles of their major movies point to the particular mindsets of these two friends. While Guru was ‘Pyaasa’ (thirsty) and while he mourned this world of “Kaagaz Ke Phool” (Paper flowers), Dev Anand was a ‘Prem Pujari’.

While Guru Dutt lamented the darkness that lurked behind the hypocritical facades of an outwardly independent India, Dev Anand chose to inspire a young and independent generation to walk with swagger and in style. While Guru Dutt played defeated men on screen, Dev became the epitome of unapologetic romance.

Yet, these two men believed that there was something common between them. And that was perhaps the iron conviction on which their respective attitudes were founded. Was it the different lessons of life these two imbibed from the different situations they came across, that made them? Or was it, as the masters say, the litmus of two lives getting baptized in an infinite sea of Karma?

“He was my only true friend in the industry. He should not have made depressing pictures,” said Dev, about Guru Dutt. What Guru had to say about Dev, is lost in the junkyard of history.

When Guru Dutt lip-synched to Mohammed Rafi’s “Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai”, one evidently saw the hatred and pity the man had for the cruel and cunning world that he had to live with. But when Dev Anand sang “Teri Duniya mein jeene se behether hai ke mar jaayen”, he made it obvious that he just wanted to tease the world rather than shun it. The quintessential Guru Dutt movie had the world taking advantage of a spotlessly pure-hearted protagonist (often played by Guru himself). Dev Anand looked upon the same scheme of things with the eye of a ‘Guide’. While Guru Dutt was concerned mostly about the footprints that he would leave, Dev Anand just walked the pathways of life with gay abandon.

To the formulaic observer, Dev Anand seemed to enjoy both himself and being himself. He was thus counted among the great narcissists of Indian cinema. Guru Dutt was deified as the self-destroying Van Goghian, who couldn’t survive the fangs of romantic possessiveness, alcoholism and manic depression. How far are we from the truth? The discerning eye would detect the pathos in both their lives. Smile was Dev Anand’s weapon. Guru Dutt seemed to brood intensely and without intent.

His critics often panned Dev for his stereotyped mannerisms, the most famous one being that incessant nod, especially while on songs. The nod was just an extension of Dev Anand’s attitude towards the world. It was his way of asking “Oh, is that what you have got for me? Come, bring it on.” Optimism was Dev Anand’s currency.
Both Dev Anand and Guru Dutt had their heartbreaks. If it was Suraiyya for Dev, it was Waheeda Rahman for Guru Dutt. The books say that while Dev survived his with a sigh, Guru Dutt succumbed to it and went into a masochistic trip.

“What is there in life, friend? There are only two things - success and failure. There is nothing in between," is a famous quote attributed to Guru Dutt. Had Guru asked this question to Dev Anand, the reply would have been this: “Gham aur khushi mein farq na mehsoos ho jahaan, main dil ko us makaam pe laata chala gaya”.
“See, I wanted to be a director, I became one. Wanted to be an actor, I became one. Wanted to make good pictures, I have done that too. Have money, have everything. But I have nothing left," Guru Dutt used to say. Dev would have sung, “Jo mil gaya usi ko muqaddar samajh liya, jo kho gaya main usko bhulata chala gaya...”

On October 10, 1964, Guru Dutt was found dead on his bed at his Peddar Road apartment. The report was that he had succeeded in his third attempt to end his life. On December 3, 2011, Dev Anand died in a London hospital, following a massive cardiac arrest. It was his final and only unsuccessful attempt to stay alive.

Most of “Dev Saab’s mourners” say he loved to live life on his own terms. Guru was continuously at war with his situations, and died on his own terms, a martyr of extreme individualism. To his many admirers, Guru Dutt lived his life the way only he can. He showed the world what great heights one can achieve with one’s art. His films live to tell the tale. Dev Anand, on the other hand, looked at living as the only art worth pursuing. For him, films were just an excuse to be wonderfully alive.

The friends are now both gone. But the songs they leave us speak of two ways to address life. Guru Dutt was the sad one. Dev Anand was the bright one. One weaved a ‘Jaal’ around him. The other won the ‘Baazi’.

Together, they gave the screen a stunning painting in Black and White.

Source: MSN India


Blogger Wellness Coach said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Sumesh Madu said...

Hello Murali,

Saw Gadhama and we were (me and my wife) really appreciated your performance. At that time, we did not know you, but just today while reading about Gopi sir, I realized who you actually were!!

Please do keep acting in good roles and all the best for your upcoming project 'Ee Adutha Kalathu'


1:52 AM  
Blogger aravind bs said...

Watched the movie EAK.
What a scripting!
I watched it in Kairali, Tvpm 2nd show today. It was housefull. No doubt this is going to be a blockbuster.
I am a Chirayinkeezhian and
your father bring glory to our
land. And now its you.
We expect more like this
from you.Again, congratulations to you, AK Aravind and to the whole team.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watched 'ee adutha kaalathu '. It is simply superb, congrats.

1:07 PM  
Blogger sumi said...

Indeed a good read...thanks Murali....

12:49 AM  
Blogger ayvan's said...

Firstly, let me appreciate the piece of article you have penned. This is really interesing to read & thought provoking. Thanks for this.

Secondly, your contributions in movies, 6 months before I lost my dad who was a huge fan of Gopi sir. By watching EAK, I feel so lucky that I got a chance to communicate with you through this medium. I think I am am becoming a fan of yours( not flattering)

2:42 AM  
Blogger Laiju T....he ICON said...

Hi Murali,

I recently saw the moviee EE adutha kalathu.. I love the script very much ,its very well said ..movies should be relaistic as this one..and the way you act is simply realistic..Keep going..
Hats off to you ..

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would love to watch EAK heard it is a wonderful movie , you are a lucky son to be born to bharath gopi .... Will watch and comment.....RejuVenu....

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Avinash said...

Dear Muraligi,
Saw ur movie EAK in original VCD, sad to have missed it on screen. I am a great fan of ur father, I think you are the perfect torch bearer of his rich legacy. Keep up the good work.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Anjana Jayasankar said...

"The litmus of two lives getting baptized in an infinite sea of karma'- loved the line..
Its such a wonderful writing on the two jewels of Indian cinema.. Respect the observation and how you have beautifully painted their nature in your words.. Above all hats off to the way in which their personalities are compared here.. :)

2:18 AM  
Blogger Sreekala Mullanezhi said...

It was really great reading about two great lives..... awesome observation......

1:36 AM  
Blogger Samrudhy S.R said...

Gr88 work ..this was interesting (Y)


9:54 AM  
Blogger Merry said...

Though I used to wonder how the first ever style icon of Bollywood and the forever brooding, odd genius of a film maker could be so thick friends, the way you put your wonderment in words was truly fresh. Loved the way you extended your thoughts on these 2 wonderful lives to the extreme attitudes of 'living life' itself. MG, thank you for the beautiful read and would love to know if you really deem Dev's life the ideal one, in your personal opinion?

3:02 AM  
Blogger Haddock said...

Wondering why no posts after 2011 ??

2:27 AM  
Blogger parvathy rk said...

Don't stop writing. It's in your blood. Come back.

5:05 AM  

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