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Dev Anand, 1923 - 2011

"He made the Indian leading man look dapper and debonair and playful and romantic."
The DailyDev Anand

"Bollywood star Dev Anand, a charismatic and flamboyant Indian film fixture for more than a half-century, has died of a heart attack in London," reports Katy Daigle for the AP. "He was 88. Famed for his roles in dozens of movies, including Jewel Thief and Guide, the veteran actor, director and producer was working up to the last minute, with a new script in the works. Anand lived and died on 'his own terms,' his nephew and renowned film director Shekhar Kapur said in a posting on Twitter. 'He was working one minute. Sat down and smiled. And was gone the next. So much to learn.'"

In the Times of India, Gaurav Malani recalls meeting with Anand just last week: "Two of his films were scheduled for release back to back, one being the coloured version of his 1962 classic Hum Dono and other his latest directorial venture Chargesheet. 'People would get to see the young Dev Anand and the present Dev Anand in quick succession,' said the elated actor. In the 88th year of his life, the actor still showed no signs of ageing as far as his cinematic ambitions were concerned. Post Chargesheet, he wished to come up with a sequel to another of his superhit films Hare Raama Hare Krishna…. Dev Anand wanted to bring back many of his black and white classics in the coloured format so that the present generation could enjoy it. Reviving memories of his times he says, 'If I wanted, I could have ruled half of Bombay.' And such was his stardom that one doesn't overlook his statement as a mere exaggeration. Dev Anand enjoyed immense popularity throughout his lifetime and wasn't a faded star even in his last days."

"For his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, Dev Anand was honored with the prestigious the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2002," notes the PTI (Press Trust of India). "He established his film production company Navketan International Films in 1949 and has produced more than 35 movies. Dev Anand has won two Filmfare Awards — India's equivalent of the Oscars — in 1958 for his performance in the film Kala Paani (Black Water) and in 1966 for his performance in Guide. Guide went on to win Filmfare Awards in five other categories including Best Film and Best Director and was sent as India's entry for the Oscars in the foreign film category that year. He co-produced the English version of Guide with the Nobel Laureate Pearl S Buck (The Good Earth)."

You'll find Guide "in every list of the best Hindi films of all time," writes Sidharth Bhatia  in the Deccan Chronicle. The film "was about a woman’s quest for freedom, which she finds in the arms of a man other than her husband. It remains a brave film on a subject that filmmakers even today would hesitate to touch."

"He was known as the Adonis of Indian cinema for his good looks and the ease with which he played romantic roles." The BBC: "'An era has come to an end. Dev Anand leaves a void never perhaps to be filled again. He never gave up belief, his joy of life,' tweeted Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan." Sudha G Tilak on the same page: "The heroes of post-independence era cinema were solemn and grave like Dilip Kumar or tragic underdogs like Raj Kapoor. Dev Anand ushered in positivity. He made the Indian leading man look dapper and debonair and playful and romantic."

Update: "Long before the term Bollywood was coined and Indian films and stars went international, there was Dev Anand," writes Sidharth Bhatia in a remembrance for the BBC. "He was the suave, westernised, Anglophile star, the first really cool hero of the Hindi screen."

Updates, 12/8: He "was the first and longest serving matinee idol of Bollywood cinema," writes Lalit Mohan Joshi. "Dev also had the distinction of introducing many talents and fresh faces to popular Indian cinema, such as Kalpana Kartik, Zeenat Aman and Tina Munim. Dev was a true democrat, which was apparent from the way he rallied against the ruling Congress government's suppression of rights during Indira Gandhi's Emergency era. He was also secular and broadminded. Though a Hindu by birth, he proposed to Suraiya, a Muslim. After being rejected by her family, he married Kartik, a Catholic. He heroically defied the ravages that time stamped on his once strikingly handsome physique and distinctive style of delivery. He continued to make films, with himself as the male lead against new young unknowns, until even some of his greatest admirers started to wish he would just call it a day. Yet, he kept going as though nothing had changed. In 2007, his insightful autobiography, Romancing With Life, was published."

Also in the Guardian, Nirpal Dhaliwal: "With a career that began as India emerged from imperial rule in the late 1940s, he became a figure recognisable to anyone in the country – regardless of class, religion, caste or region. He was central to the essential role that cinema played after independence in binding the disparate peoples of India into a nation with a shared culture and sense of belonging. And he did so by appealing to the humour, gentleness and strong sense of justice that are hallmark qualities of the ordinary Indian. Gregory Peck and Dirk Bogarde are the two closest comparisons that come to mind from western cinema."

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