While we sit with the older generations, who have seen the actual cinema produced by the Hindi Film industry before it turned into Urduwood, two claims they make are for sure. First, Dharamdev Pishorimal Anand, better known as Dev Anand, was the most charming man the industry has ever produced. And second, the woman who held the most melodious voice, was Suraiya Jamaal Sheikh. There was a rather personal life related to these two great personalities of that era. A beautiful love story which remained incomplete.
The two free lovebirds in the industry
Dev Anand got his first break in the year 1946, with Prabhat Studio’s ‘Hum EK Hain’. Although the film could neither gather money nor fame, it gifted Dev Anand with a friend, Gurudutt. The equation was such that both promised to be a part of each other’s upcoming projects in the future. It was vowed that if Guru Dutt makes a film, the male protagonist could only be Dev Anand. And if Dev Anand produces a film, it would be a Guru Dutt directorial.
The next films of Dev Anand were Jiddi and Vidya. The latter brought another aspect to Dev Anand’s life. It was during Vidya that a new love story started brewing. Dev Anand and Suraiya were the lead protagonists of the film. In the upcoming years, the duo delivered seven films together, all of which were box office successes.
Saved her from drowning and became her real hero
The love story of Dev Anand and Suraiya made headlines for a very long time. The duo had the most passionate love sagas of their time and an unfortunate one too.
During the shoot of ‘Kinare Kinare Chale Jaayenge’ song of the film Vidya, the boat containing the couple capsized. It was Dev Anand who saved Suraiya from drowning and then became her real-life hero. However, the story was a typical Bollywood script that along with love and romance had hatred and ended on a very sad note.
Speaking about his love, Dev Anand had once said, “Suraiya and I fell in love when we started working together. She was a very nice girl who radiated warmth and friendliness. She was an established star but had no airs about her. I was passionately in love with her. I was young, it was my first love and very intense.”
Recalling about the accident and how love happened, Suraiya once said, “Dev was the first young, handsome hero I worked with. He was very charming. It is very difficult for me to say what exactly it was that I really liked about him. I think it was his overall personality. I remember the first time I met Dev; it was on the sets of ‘Vidya’. I was already an established star and he was a new comer. He was very nervous, especially in the romantic scenes.” “Soon after, we were shooting in a boat and it capsized but Dev saved me from drowning. I told him, ‘If you hadn’t saved my life today, it would have ended.’ He just said quietly, ‘if your life had ended so would have mine.’ I think that’s when we fell deeply in love.”
The grandmother saga
“Eventually my grandmother succeeded in separating us. Dev was deeply hurt and offended by my lack of courage. But I was afraid for him.” These lines are enough to make you feel the tragic end that the love story met.
Both Dev Anand and Suraiya wanted to marry and start a new life. They eloped and decided to get hitched in 1949 while they were shooting for Jeet. But their plan could not succeed as Suraiya’s orthodox grandmother Badshah Begum came to know about their plan.
Suraiya’s grandmother controlled her mobility as she was the boss of the house. She often manipulated Suraiya’s career and was seen to be a money hungry hag. She became an obstacle in the love story of Dev Anand and Suraiya as she was afraid of losing the goose who laid golden eggs. The grandmother had forbidden Suraiya to act in films with Dev. She even blessed Naushad.
Naushad: The real villain
For the unversed, after being separated from Dev Anand, Suraiya never married. However, many, like artist director Naushad and M Sadiq, who was Naushad’s benefactor and also wanted to take Suraiya as another wife for himself, had plans of their own to become more than the villains of the love story.
It was Naushad who had an unnecessary impact on Suraiya’s decision making and who had dragged Suraiya back home from the temple she went to marry Dev Anand. He threatened Suraiya that he would kill Dev Anand if she didn’t back off from the relationship.
Suraiya and Dev Anand’s love story became a sacrificial lamb due to the religious bigotry of Naushad as well as Suraiya’s grandmother. Both of them together controlled Suraiya’s love life and her mobility. The big reason for hatred against Dev Anand was derived from his religion that he was a Hindu.
Distancing Suraiya from Dev Anand due to their different religion was not the only sin of Naushad, rather he also boycotted Kishore Kumar, the number one singer of his era. Further, he is also guilty of creating a bunch of sympathisers for Islamists within Bollywood.
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