Dharamdev Anand (26 September 1923 – 3 December 2011), better known as Dev Anand, was an Indian film actor, writer, director, producer, and comedian known for his notable works in the history of Indian cinema. Part of the Anand family, he co-founded Navketan Films in 1949 with his elder brother Chetan Anand. Anand is regarded as one of the most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema.
The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2002 for his contribution to Indian cinema. His career spanned more than 65 years with acting in 114 Hindi films, of which 92 have him play the main solo lead hero, and he did two English films.
Dev was born Dharamdev Anand on 26 September 1923 in the Shakargarh tehsil of the Gurdaspur district in Punjab (British India) (present-day Narowal district of Pakistan). His father Pishori Lal Anand was a well-to-do advocate. Dev was the third of four sons born to Pishori Lal Anand. One of Dev’s younger sisters is Sheel Kanta Kapur, who is the mother of film director Shekhar Kapur. His older brothers were Manmohan Anand (Advocate, Gurdaspur Dist. Court) and Chetan Anand and younger one was Vijay Anand. Dev Anand spent his early years in Gharota village . He did his schooling till matriculation from Sacred Heart School, Dalhousie, (then in Punjab) and went to college Dharamsala before going to Lahore to study. Later Dev completed BA degree in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore in British India.
Dev Anand had an intense emotional love affair with actress Suraiya during 1948-1951, but it could not come to the marriage altar, because of great opposition by Suraiya’s maternal grandmother. Suraiya remained unmarried throughout her life, till she died on 31 January 2004.  Later, in 1954, Dev Anand married Kalpana Kartik (actual name Mona Singha), a Christian Bollywood actress, originally from Shimla, in a very private marriage during the shooting of the film ‘Taxi Driver’. They have two children, Suneil Anand, who is unmarried and Devina Anand (Narang). Devina married in 1985, but was divorced a few years later. Devina has a daughter, Gina (Narang) (born 1986), who is married to a fashion stylist, Prayag Menon. Gina is a professional photographer.
After completing his BA degree in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore (then in British India, now in Pakistan), Dev Anand left his home-town for Bombay in the early 1940s. He began his career in the military censor’s office at Churchgate, for a monthly salary of Rs. 165. Later he joined as a clerk in an accountancy firm for a salary of Rs. 85. He joined his older brother, Chetan, as a member of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). Dev Anand aspired to become a performer after seeing Ashok Kumar’s performance in films like Achhut Kanya and Kismet. Dev Anand quoted in an interview that “I remember when I gatecrashed into the office of the man who gave me the first break, he kept looking at me – Babu Rao Pai of Prabhat Film Studios. At that time he made up his mind that this boy deserves a break and later mentioned to his people that ‘this boy struck me because of his smile and beautiful eyes and his tremendous confidence.” Then he was soon offered the lead role in Prabhat Films’ Hum Ek Hain (1946), a film about Hindu-Muslim unity, where Dev Anand played a Hindu boy and was paired opposite Kamala Kotnis. While shooting the film in Pune, Anand befriended the actor Guru Dutt. Between them, they agreed that if one of them was to become successful in the film industry, they would help the other to be successful. They formed a mutual understanding that when Anand produced a film, Dutt would direct it and when Dutt directed a film, Anand would act in it.
Late 1940s and romance with Suraiya
In the late 1940s, Anand was offered a few roles starring as the male lead opposite singer-actress Suraiya in woman-oriented films. He considered himself to be very lucky to get a chance to star opposite such an established actress and accepted the offers. While shooting these films, they became romantically involved. The two of them were paired in seven films together: Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shair (1949), Afsar (1950), Nili (1950), Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951), all of which were successful at the box office. In these films, Suraiya was always first-biller in the credits, indicating that she was a bigger star than Anand. She fell in love with him during the shooting of the song Kinare kinare chale jayen ge from the film Vidya— while shooting the scene, the boat they were in capsized, and Anand saved Suraiya from drowning. Initially, Suraiya’s family used to welcome Dev Anand at home, but when her maternal grandmother found out that the two were in love, and even planned an actual marriage on the sets of ‘Jeet’, she started monitoring them. The two shared love letters and messages through their co-actors, like Durga Khote and Kamini Kaushal, who went out of their way to engineer secret rendezvous. On the sets of the film Jeet, Anand finally proposed to Suraiya and gave her a diamond ring worth Rs 3,000. Her maternal grandmother opposed the relationship as they were Muslim and Anand was Hindu, and so, Suraiya remained unmarried. They stopped acting together after her grandmother opposed their partnership, and Do Sitare was the last film in which they appeared. Although the films he starred in with Suraiya had been successful, the producers and directors of those films attributed their success to the acting prowess and screen presence of Suraiya. Anand began looking for an opportunity to play the main male lead in a film where his acting skills could be demonstrated, so as to dispel scepticism about his acting abilities.