The evergreen Dev Anand passed on to the other side, amidst tributes and recollections of the Bollywood fraternity and outside. At age 88, he left his body in London but promises to continue living in the hearts of millions. Especially the hearts of a generation that clung on to his every move, his every mannerism on the silver screen, as though for dear life itself.

The genius famously sang the lines Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya, Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udata Chala Gaya in the movie Hum Dono. It translated into—“I’ve dutifully chosen to be a lifelong companion of this life of mine, I’ve chosen to send up in smoke every worry in this life…” It was almost as he was worry free, and even childlike. Actor Rishi Kapoor said that even though he belonged to his father Raj Kapoor’s generation, he had the youthful visage of his son, Ranbir Kapoor. The timeless singer Lata Mangeshkar said that she had lost a dear one and India had lost a legend.

Anand, whose last film, Chargesheet, was released in September, was in London with his son, Suneil, when he died on December 3 from a heart attack, aide Mohan Churiwala said. “He was never sick. Even when I spoke to him last evening, he sounded fine—hale and hearty,” Churiwala said. Anand is survived by his wife, Kalpana Karthik.

Born in Lahore, Anand travelled to Mumbai to work as a clerk in a government office in 1944 and got his first break two years later in the film Hum Ek Hain. He turned director soon afterwards and went on to deliver a string of hits.

CID, Guide and Jewel Thief are movies considered part of Bollywood’s essential viewing catalogue, and Anand’s unique acting style is widely celebrated. He is said to have been inspired by Hollywood’s Gregory Peck, but his own casual style and the signature nod of his head while delivering lines were often imitated by fans.

Anand refused to retire from Bollywood, often telling interviewers he would work till his last breath. He was working on a new film at the time of his death. “An era has come to an end,” Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan wrote on Twitter. “Dev Anand leaves a void never perhaps to be filled again... his never-give-up belief, his joy of life.”

And the finality of his departure made many a heart croon “Abhi na jaayo chhodh kar ke dil abhi bhara nahi…” (Do not leave us so early, the heart hasn’t had enough of you…”). Indeed, an era has come to an end.

December 2011

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