Dehradun, December 4
Doonites joined the country in mourning the demise of legendary Bollywood actor Dev Anand. The star’s frequent visits to The Doon School in the early forties left an indelible impression on his characteristic style of acting.
Chetan Anand, his brother, was a teacher of English and history in The Doon School from 1940 to 1944. It was during those years that Dev Anand frequently came to meet him in Dehradun and spent a considerable amount of time here. It was during his sojourn at The Doon School that he learnt his trademark mannerism which made him a star.
He, in his autobiography, wrote that his trademark mannerisms, which made him a star, were picked up from the students of The Doon School.
Manoj Panjani, a Doon-based film researcher and documentary maker, had an opportunity to meet Dev Anand on a number of occasions. Referring to his first meeting with the star, Panjani said, “Dev Anand was curious to meet me as he came to know of my friendship with Babu Sheikh, Dabolkar and Surat, some of Dev Anand’s key team members at Navketan. And this was how I got an audience with him for the first time.”
“He was excited when he came to know that I was from Dehradun, and recalled the immemorable days he had spent here, courtesy Chetan Anand,” he reembered.
Panjani said it was Dev Anand who always gave opportunities to newcomers. Shatrughan Sinha got his first break in “Prem Pujari”, where Dev Anand created a role of a Pakistani fauji for him. His contribution towards giving breaks to Sahir Ludhianvi as a lyricist and Zohra Seghal as a choreographer is well known.
Panjani also recalled his last meeting with the Bollywood actor in 2000 in Mumbai on the occasion of Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Navketan studios. “The Navketan banner gave to the Indian Cinema some legendary directors like Guru Dutt and Vijay Anand,” Panjani said, describing Dev Anand’s demise as an irreparable loss to the Indian cinema.