Dev Anand’s first hit film was Ziddi(1948). This film is rather a milestone in the history of Hindi Film Music. It brought three geniuses together for the first time; Dev Anand, Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. Ziddi was Kishore Kumar’s first film as a singer. He sang a solo "Marne ki duayen kyon mangu” for Dev Anand in this film under direction of composer Khemchand Prakash. Kishore Kumar had always been a die-hard fan of K.L.Saigal. In this song he almost copied Saigal. It is very interesting to listen how the most versatile artist of India sounded in his first song. It is for this film that Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar recorded their first duet “Yeh Kaun Aya Re”.
Dev Anand released his home production Navketan’s first film "Afsar" in 1950. His co-star was Suraiya. Music was composed by S.D.Burman. It was a beginning of a thriving partnership between Navketan Films and S.D.Burman. This film has two evergreen songs of Suraiya – “Man mor hua matwala” and “Nain diwane ek nahi mane”. Another interesting fact about this film is, it also featured Kishore Kumar’s first wife and the co- founder of Kolkata Youth Choir Mrs. Ruma GuhaThakurta.
The year 1951 saw the release of Baazi. It was Navketan Films’ first hit film. This film gave Bollywood its all-time great director Guru Dutt. It was Guru Dutt’s directorial debut. Music was again composed by S.D.Burman. It has some hit songs of Geeta Dutt viz. "Suno gajar kya gaye”, "Tadbeer se bigdi hui", "Aaj ki raat piya", "Tum bhi na bhulo balam" and a peppy number by Shamshaad Begum "Sharmaye kahe ghabraye kahe”.
Dev Anand’s second movie with Guru Dutt was Jaal(1952). It was also a box-office hit. It marked the rise of a stylish superstar. Jaal featured a beautiful solo by Lata Mangeshkar “Chori chori meri gaali ana hai bura”. Other memorable melodies from this film were “Yeh raat yeh chandani phir kahan”, a solo by Hemant Kumar and a duet with the same mukhda by Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar.
In the year 1954 came Taxi Driver. It was a story of a taxi driver in Mumbai. Dev Anand’s wife- to- be acted in this film. They got married in the same year. Music of Taxi Driver was composed by S.D. Burman. It had a comic song “Chahe koi khush ho” by Kishore Kumar. By this time Kishore Kumar had moved out of K.L.Saigal’s shadow and had developed his own unique style. But the film’s most memorable song was Talat Mehmood’s “Jaye to jaye kahan”. S.D.Burman had got Filmfare Best Music Director Award for this song.
Munimji was released in 1955. It was written by Nasir Hussain, uncle of today’s Mr.Perfectionist Aamir Khan. Music was by S.D. Burman. The highlight of Munimji was the song “Jeevan ke safar main rahi”. It has two versions. The happy version is sung by Kishore Kumar and the sad one by Lata Mangeshkar. Kishore Kumar version was a super hit. Later on Kishore Kumar sang many super hit songs for Dev Anand. Though Mohammad Rafi also sang some memorable songs for Dev Anand, it was Kishore Kumar whose voice suited him best. When Kishore Kumar passed away in 1987, Dev Anand had rightly said “I have lost my voice”.
In 1956, Guru Dutt produced C.I.D. Here Waheeda Rehman was Dev Anand’s co-star. It was her debut in Bollywood. C.I.D. was a debut film of India’s finest costume designer Bhanu Athaiya too. The same Bhanu Athaiya who won India’s first ever Oscar for her costume design for Gandhi(1982). Music of C.I.D. was composed by O.P.Nayyar. It has two of the finest duets of Mohammad Rafi. The first is “Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar” with Asha Bhosle and Shamshaad Begum. The Second one is “Ankhon hi ankhon Main Ishara ho gaya” with Geeta Dutt. Another release in the same year, Funtoosh is remembered for one of the best songs by Kishore Kumar, a sad one, “Dukhi man mere”.
The next year in 1957, Dev Anand produced Nau Do Gyarah. It was his brother Vijay Anand’s directorial debut. S.D.Burman again teamed up with Dev Anand for two evergreen songs in this film; a solo “Hum hai rahi pyar ke” by Kishore Kumar and a romantic duet “Ankhon main kya ji” by Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar. Dev Anand’s another hit film in the same year was Paying Guest. S.D.Burman made a lasting impression with the music of this film. Some chartbusters to mention – "Chod do anchal zamana kya kahega” and “O nigahe mastana” by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, “Chand phir nikla” by Lata Mangeshkar and “Mana janab ne pukara nahi” by Kishore Kumar.
In the year 1958 came another film with great music - Kala Pani. Music was again by S.D.Burman. It has the famous song “Accha ji main hari chalo maan jao na” sung in a honey laden voice by Asha Bhosle. The other two worth mention are “Hum bekhudi main tumko pukare chale gaye” by Mohammad Rafi and a super hit mujra song “Nazar lagi raja tore bangle paar” by Asha Bhosle. Around the same time Kala Bazar was released with some more treat for music lovers. Dev Anand – S.D.Burman duo again came up with some finest music. The gems included “Apni to har aah ek tuffan hai” and “Khoya khoya chand” by Mohammad Rafi, a beautiful duet by Geeta Dutt – Mohammad Rafi “Rimzim ke tarane leke ayi barsat”, a sweet solo by Asha Bhosle “Sach hue sapne tere” and a soulful bhajan by Geeta Dutt - Sudha Malhotra “Na main dhan chahu”.
By the beginning of 60s, Dev Anand was established as a romantic hero and had romanced on screen with almost all leading ladies of his time. Dev Anand’s first hit film in the 60s was Hum Dono(1962). The film was based on the backdrop of World War II. It has a super hit song “Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya” by Mohammad Rafi, a very popular bhajan “Allah Tero Naam” by Lata Mangeshkar and an evergreen duet “Abhi na jao chodkar” by Asha Bhosle and Mohammad Rafi.
He reached the peak with his all-time great film Guide. It was an adaptation of R.K.Narayan’s novel Guide. During the making of Guide, S.D.Burman fell ill. So he asked Dev Anand to rope in another composer. But Dev Anand rejected the idea and showed his willingness to wait till S.D.Burman recovers. His wait proved worthy. Each and every song of Guide is a precious gem.
After sad demise of S.D.Burman in 1975, Dev Anand continued his musical journey with young composers like R.D.Burman, Kalyanji-Anandji and Bappi Lahiri. The one worth mention here is Hare Rama Hare Krishna. The film was based on hippie culture. R.D.Burman did full justice to the film’s demand by delivering a vivacious number “Dum maro dum”. Asha Bhosle won the best female playback singer award for this song.
Almost all films of Dev Anand are a treat for music lovers. All of them cannot be mentioned here. But Dev Anand will always be remembered for his style, his romantic image and the evergreen music from his films.