Mehboob Studios in Mumbai will play host to a memorial service for Dev Anand tomorrow. His son, Suneil, who arrived from London with his father's ashes talks about his father's movies and keeping the legacy alive
Dev Anand's 1965 movie, Guide, probably his most popular, is to be re-released in a technically superior version, according to his son, Suneil. The 88-year-old actor, who died in London on December 3, was cremated locally at Putney Vale cemetery and crematorium last Saturday. There will be a memorial service at Mehboob Studios in Mumbai, tomorrow (Friday). Suneil revealed, "An American company has restored Guide. It's being converted to wide screen and we will do a fresh soundtrack, maybe in the Czech Republic (where full scale orchestras are available to undertake such challenges at reasonable cost)."
Among projects that were under way but will now need completing is the re-release of Guide, which was scripted and directed by Dev Anand's younger brother, Vijay. The story of Raju, the tourist guide, remains one of Dev Anand's most popular films, with Waheeda Rehman as his leading lady and memorable music by S D Burman.
Suneil has told that he wants to protect, preserve and build on his father's legacy.
"It's a big, big responsibility, the world is watching me, I will have to live up to their expectations," said Suneil.
At Dev Anand's funeral at Putney Vale cemetery and crematorium on Saturday, one fan stood with a makeshift banner, which summed up his sentiments. These were: "Evergreen. Raju Guide." Barely 100 of the 300 or so people who turned up for the service were able to squeeze into the tiny chapel. Dev Anand's widow, Kalpana Kathik (Mona), came from Mumbai but stayed away from the cremation service. In his eulogy, Dev Anand's nephew, Tony Sarin, suggested others might help in giving new life to his legacy. "He inspired Shekhar Kapur the son of his late sister Sheila Kapoor; Ketan Anand, the son of his late brother, Chetan Anand; and Vibhu Anand, who is the son of his late brother, Vijay Anand. Together the three legendary Anand brothers were the great triumvirate of Indian cinema and came together to create one of its most successful and iconic production houses, Navketan Films, which was in 1949."
On the eve of the funeral, Suneil said that restoration of Guide "would take us six or eight months to complete." Suneil also hopes to finish the film his father was working on in his last days. "He was working urgently on his next project. He was generally very happy to be in London." The plan was to shoot it in Britain, other countries in Europe, the United States and India. "We were just about to begin location hunting," said Suneil. "It's a very good script." Suneil said he intended to go through his father's extensive archives, which consisted of several scripts plus many private letters. His father had "sort of" left a will but there is no doubt that Suneil sees himself as keeper of the flame.
"We discussed a lot of things," confided Suneil. "He wanted to be left alone but he was giving me a lot of advice in the last few days -- about life. He was a forward-looking man -- l loved working with him. We worked together for many years; we used to brainstorm on many things concerning many facets of the movie that we were making."
Dev Anand's funeral, though a sad occasion for family and friends, was also by way of being a "Ceremony of Remembrance and Thanksgiving" for the "evergreen, romantic superstar".
The garlanded portrait in the chapel was from his last completed movie, Chargesheet (which may see a UK release). There was a musical flavour to the whole ceremony, which began with Main zindagi ka saath by Jai Dev from Hum Dono. The proceedings would not have been complete without S D Burman's Gata rahe mera dil from Guide.
Adding a Scottish touch was a medley of bagpipe tunes led by piper Andrew Miller. Dev Anand, "who saw the world as one", would have enjoyed Bays of Harris, Mist Covered Mountains, Dark Island, Skye Boat Song and Oft in the Stilly Night. Suneil said his father's ashes would be dispersed in the holy river in Nasik after a memorial service at Mehboob Studios in Mumbai. Asked about whether Dev Anand was a religious man, Suneil responded: "I don't think he was overly religious but he did believe in God." "I loved my father very much," Suneil added. "I was very close to him and I miss him."
Invite to the memorial service
Memorial Service for the late Shri. Dev Anand
It is with deep regret that we notify you of the passing away of my dear and respected Father, the late, great Shri. Dev Anand ji, on the 3rd December 2011 in London. The funeral (Antim Sanskar) was performed peacefully by his close family and friends on Saturday, December 10, 2011 in London.
A Memorial Service has also been organised to pay tribute and pray for the peace and sadgati of the departed soul. You are all kindly invited to attend the service with your family and friends.
Venue: Mehboob Studios, Bandra, Mumbai.
Date: Friday December 16, 2011.
Time: 5 pm to 7 pm, IST
With grateful thanks,
Suneil, Mona, Devina, Gina and
the entire Anand Family.