nostalgia With Chetan Anand's 14th death anniversary just round the corner ranjan das gupta remembers some of the filmmaker's all-time hits
Chetan Anand was India's first director to win a Grand Prix for his maiden film Neecha Nagar at Cannes in 1946 jointly with Sir David Lean's Brief Encounters. Unanimously recognised as the most talented of the Anand brothers, Chetan directed films unknown to the typical Hindi film viewers. With his fourteenth death anniversary (July 7, 2011) approaching, let's take a look at four Chetan Anand classics that have stood the test of time and made Dev Anand accept his elder brother as his hero, idol. Also not to forget that Chetan himself directed the last two reels of Navketan's Baazi after Guru Dutt ran away, not confident of his work. Typically, Chetan never took credit for this work of his and Guru Dutt received it all.
Navketan's first film (1950), based on Gogol's Inspector-General, was a satire. The beginning of the Chetan Anand-Dev Anand combination, the film also starred Suraiya and had haunting melodies by S. D. Burman such as ‘Naina Deewane' and ‘Man Mor Hua' rendered by Suraiya. Dev Anand as the IG was fresh sans mannerisms and at his best. Chetan Anand shot the climax song in one single take.
Based on a true story, Aandhiyan starred Dev Anand, Nimmi and Kalpana Kartik in 1952. A heavy theme of a tyrant zamindar murdered by a woman of the working class for forcibly marrying an innocent woman was India's official entry to the first ever Venice, Moscow and Peking Film Festivals. Chetan Anand took seven days along with cinematographer Jaal Mistry to shoot the storm. Dev Anand scored in the court scene though it was edited by Chetan Anand for the international version quite to his brother's displeasure.
In no other film did Dev Anand display so much emotional depth. With the city of Mumbai as its central character, Taxi Driver in 1954, penned by Vijay Anand and Chetan's wife Uma, was brilliantly directed by Chetan and starred Dev Anand, Kalpana Kartik and Sheila Ramani. Dev Anand was at his best in the song sequence ‘Jayen To Jayen Kahan'. The film was entirely shot outdoors with a camera tied behind a taxi.
Inspired by The Manhattan Man, Funtoosh was an experimental black comedy about how a young man who has lost his memory becomes a victim of a rich businessman who insures his life for his own benefits. Dev Anand and Sheila Ramani performed some realistic romantic scenes, especially in the song sequences, just as Dev did with Kalpana Kartik in Taxi Driver. It is impossible to forget Dev Anand lip-synching the Kishore Kumar number ‘Dene Wala Jab Bhi Deta' where he changes his make-up almost six times and shaking a leg to the number like he never did later.