Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
3rd December 2011-the day when the Indian film industry mourned the loss of legendary actor Dev Anand who died of a heart attack in London at the age of 88. It came as a shock for his fans-from actors to politicians to the common man, all over the world. The ‘Peter Pan’ of Hindi Cinema was no more.The Evergreen Dev Anand was a multi-faceted personality -an actor , director and film producer. With a career spanning over 60 years in Bollywood, Dev Anand had carved a special place for himself in the hearts of millions of people all over. His signature style of speaking, shaking his head while dancing and his neckwear- all became household symbols associated with his name. He was the style icon for the young men of his age..
Films like Kala Pani, Guide, Hum Dono, CID, Hare Rama Hare Krishna became the hallmarks of his career. His excellent acting skills and the hard work he put in were not only acknowledged and loved by his fans but also honoured by many prestigious awards including the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the Padma Bhushan. His last movie as an actor-cum-director was Mr. Prime Minister in the year 2005. Dev Anand worked with leading composers like Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar and produced some mesmerising songs, the magic of which linger even today. He was known for putting life into the lyrics of songs and he sure did. Who can forget ‘Churi nahi mera dil hai..’ , ‘Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hai’, ‘Pal bhar ke liye koi humne pyar kar le’, and the iconic ‘Din dhal jaye’?
He was often referred to as the ‘ladies man’ and was the heart-throb of millions of girls and it was because of him that actresses like Zeenat Aman and Tina Munim got a break in Bollywood. He was definitely the ‘Guide’ of newcomers in the industry. Now that he is no more, a deep void has been created which can never possibly be filled. We cannot bring him back but we can definitely go back in time and learn from his life- one that he was in love with.He will be remembered for his passion for cinema. People looked up to him in awe-”what made him so zealous, untiring, hardworking and dedicated?” was the question every one would have in mind. It was nothing but his love for cinema. He personified the adage- ‘Age is just a number’. He once said, “You never grow old…you just grow up…mature…and die”.
The day when this unfortunate incident took place, the media was flooded with reports of his demise and the tributes did not seem to cease. Be it Bollywood actors, politicians or businessmen- everybody was ready with their speeches and expressed their grief on learning about his death. We had tweets pouring in from Amitabh Bachchan to Sharukh Khan, Samlan Rushdie to Sonam Kapoor, who said that they were big fans of the deceased actor. Almost every newspaper published articles about how great the actor was and how exemplary a life he led.
Now the question that really bothers me is that were all these so called ‘die-hard fans’ so deeply grieved that they could not even make it to his funeral? Were these actors who made tall claims of considering Dev Anand as their guide really shattered so badly that they missed the last opportunity to pay their final respects to him? Or were they so engrossed in expressing their sadness in public that they did not have the time to bid him goodbye in person? Well I guess London, which otherwise is one of the most preferred destinations for shooting movies and where every actor flies in day in and day out, seemed a great distance to travel when their role model bid his final adieu.
Maybe we should let go these innocent people who are so highly dependent upon technology that they thought ‘Twitter’ was the best way to bid farewell to Dev Anand-after all we must move ahead with time. Shouldn’t we? But Dev Saahab being the nonchalant optimist that he was,would never have worried about these shallow antics, neither in life nor in death. For him it has always been about moving on and taking things in his stride- as illustrated in his iconic song from Hum Dono:
…’main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya
har fikar ko dhuen me udata chala gaya’…