The birth centenary of Indian cinema icon Dev Anand will be celebrated with restored versions of some of his classics receiving a theatrical release across the country.
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Known as one of the triumvirate of superstars who ruled Hindi-language cinema in the 1950s and ’60s (along with the late Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar) Anand made such hits as “Guide,” “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” and “Prem Pujari.”
The birth centenary of Anand, who died in 2011, is on Sept. 26. On Sept. 24 and 25, the “Dev Anand@100 – Forever Young” festival will screen four of his classic films at 55 PVR Inox cinemas across 30 Indian cities including Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore, Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati, Indore, Jaipur, Nagpur, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Gwalior, Rourkela, Raipur, Noida, Kochi, Aurangabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mohali.
The films are Raj Khosla’s “C. I. D.” (1956) and Vijay Anand’s “Guide” (1965), “Jewel Thief” (1967) and “Johny Mera Naam” (1970). They have been restored by India’s National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) and curated by filmmaker and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Film Heritage Foundation (FHF).
In 2022, FHF curated similar seasons of films starring Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, which were box office successes. The organization’s restored versions of Govindan Aravindan’s 1978 masterpiece “Thamp̄” (“The Circus Tent”) and Aribam Syam Sharma’s 1991 Cannes selection “Ishanou” (“The Chosen One”), played at Cannes Classics in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Dungarpur said: “After a successful run with ‘Bachchan Back to the Beginning’ and ‘Dilip Kumar – Hero of Heroes’ to commemorate Amitabh Bachchan’s 80th birthday and Dilip Kumar’s birth centenary respectively, we knew that there was no way that we could allow the birth centenary of Dev Anand to go uncelebrated. We wanted to honor his legacy by screening four of his milestone films. The Gregory Peck of India, as Dev Anand was often called, continues to be a beloved star, and we are thrilled that contemporary audiences will have the opportunity to watch some of the films that made him an enduring legend of Indian cinema.”
Prithul Kumar, joint secretary (films) and managing director, NFDC, added: “It is important for the public to witness Dev Anand on the big screen once again, and in a manner how he was viewed during his hey days decades ago. NFDC-NFAI is sparing no efforts to ensure these films are presented in the best way possible, as hundreds of restoration artists, technicians, graders, DoPs, sound engineers and archivists, spread across multiple cities, are hard at work to once again bring these films to life. Showcasing the restoration of Dev Anand’s films on the occasion of his centenary, as a joint endeavor between both film archives, NFDC-National Film Archive of India and Film Heritage Foundation, along with our esteemed partners, Inox and PVR, is a testament to our shared commitment to preserving India’s cinematic heritage. We aspire to sustain these collaborative efforts, to provide broader public access to the gems of Indian cinema, in the quality they are meant to be seen.”
Dev Anand’s son, Suneil Anand, said: “I personally like my dad’s work, as the leading man, in ‘Johny Mera Naam.’ I think this is because the character he played closely resembled his true personality. It was an ideal vehicle for him to showcase his histrionics, mannerisms and his suave dressing sense. ‘Jewel Thief’ was another such film – it had the trappings and the look of slick western and European cinema. Dad set fashion trends in many of his films – with his cap, high collars, scarves, jackets, and colorful attire. Even his hairstyles were being copied by his fans. Dad could have easily gone to Hollywood. In fact, an established Hollywood casting agency had even offered to represent him and had lined up several projects for him. But being a true Indian at heart, he decided to remain in his Motherland India. Time marches on, mindsets change, and trends evolve, however, with each new generation of movie goers and aficionados, Dev Anand continues to remain an inspiration to the youth of India and the rest of the qorld. He was unanimously given – and continues to hold – the title of an evergreen romantic superstar.”
“Not one to rest on his laurels, dad continued to make exciting movies under his Navketan banner. As we celebrate dad’s centennial, I’d like to say that dad’s movies were decades ahead of their time. I sometimes feel we still haven’t caught up with them. I am sure the festival will be a big success and that contemporary audiences will rediscover the youthful magic of my father – who will stay forever young on the silver screen. In the continuing legacy of Dev Anand and Navketan, I am currently making a Hollywood-based film, dedicated to my dad, called ‘Vagator Mixer,’ which will release shortly worldwide. The show goes on,” Anand added.