I called my mumma around 10.00 a.m today to check if she had heard the news. She obviously had no clue as she was her chirpy self when she answered my call. When I asked her if she had seen the news – she wondered what had happened; then I told her that Dev Anand had passed away. She didn’t react for a minute, I heard a sigh and then she said,
“Minu, he was my Chocolate Hero”.
I grew up knowing Dev Anand as the “Chocolate Hero”. It was difficult as a little girl to hear my mum call him that; because for me no one other than my Papa should have been her hero. What did I know of teenage crushes then and how long they lasted – Later I would eventually discover through my own crushes, that they last a lifetime.
I was even more amazed when my Papa joined in praising Dev Anand and his famous puff of hair. My mum tells me that my dad sported a small puff of hair, something similar if not exactly like that of Dev Anand. And yes, as a 25 year old in his black and white snap (as seen here on the left) – Papa would’ve given the Bollywood heroes a run for their money.
My parents were huge fans of the terrific trio – Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand; they who ruled the Indian Cinema in the Golden Era of 50s & 60s. I doubt there is a movie they have missed watching. My parents were also huge music aficionados. Their most treasured possession is the huge collection of Gramophone records and the record player. Mum tells me even today that there is no charm in my Walkman, Cassette, CDs, iPod – nothing beats her Gramophone player. Yes, the real charm lay in her record player.
I was a late child so my parents were almost a decade elder to most of my friends’ parents; the nostalgia they were associated with and I grew up with was different from that of my friends.
I woke up every morning to the voice of Lata,Asha,Kishore,Rafi,Manna Dey, Hemant Da. Morning time was my mumma and papa’s music time – going about the house chores and getting ready to work to the melodies of 50-70s. I grew up with that music and my mom’s lovely voice. It’s a tragedy she never pursued her singing seriously.
So even though I was a 80s kid – the golden era of Indian cinema and music was ingrained in me more than the music of my generation. 70s-80s were full of insane action movies and the romance that my parents grew up with was utterly lacking or missing in those films. 80s were also by far the worst time for Bollywood music – only did the advent of Khans and romance in 90s change that bit.
I’ve not seen all of the famous trio’s films but my parents have. Every time I went about praising the movies of my generation – my mom got back raving about films of her generation and I always lost the debate to her. No one in my family won an argument against my Papa, so me getting to win one against the movies of his generation was next to impossible. They always told me that the films made in the 50s-60s were way ahead of their time, it was a mature and classy cinema that tackled issues involving all strata of society. Over the years though, mumma and I have come to an amicable agreement that Bollywood has changed and made some excellent movies in my time.
The one thing though I never debated with them was the music of the 50s-60s. The fact that those songs are first remembered while playing Antakshari is a testimony to their popularity across generations. The melody is not the same anymore, it was pure in those days – no digitized voices or mixes – just the true souls of the lyricists, music directors and singers that came together to produce unadulterated melody that has lasted many a lifetimes.
There was no doubt that Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand were all very handsome, good-looking men but Dev Anand fitted the bill of the romantic hero to perfection – the first romantic hero of Indian cinema as Mum always said. He brought alive the voices of Rafi and Kishore on screen. He probably got their best songs and he did great justice to them – romancing the ladies, romancing nature and romancing love itself. Dev Anand epitomized Romance. His mischievous smile, his twinkling eyes, his puff of hair – how could you not love him?
He gave us so many memorable songs and movies that this post will run into a multiple pages citing them all and the reasons why I’ve grown to love them.
CID, Paying Guest, Hum Dono, Teen Deviyan, Guide, Jewel Thief, Johnny Mera Naam, Kaala Pani, Baazi, Patita,Taxi Driver, Munimji, Nav Do Gyarah, Bambai Ka Babu, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hain, Asli-Naqli, Tere Mere Sapne – My parents collection in their Gramophone Records that is today transferred to my iPod. These are eternal classics, they remain an integral part of their teenage and youth and later my childhood.
Among all though my all-time favourite romantic song is “Abhi Na Jao Chod Kar”
No other song comes close to it. Rafi’s voice and Dev Anand’s on screen acting makes you go weak in the knees. I listen to it almost every day – the song remains mesmerizing to this day.
Teenage crushes are tough to get over; when I drool over the chocolate hero of my generation – Aamir Khan, my mum snubs me reminding me that hers was incomparable, that there was and will always be only one Chocolate Hero
Her Chocolate Hero – The First One- The Original – The Evergreen Dev Anand.
RIP Dev Saab – You touched a million hearts across generations!