The Divine But Doomed Love Story of Dev Anand And Suraiya
-Ali Peter John
True love knows no laws,no rules or regulations, true love knows no highs or lows, true love refuses to respect caste,creed, community or even God. True love just happens and once it happens, no power can come in its way. And if true love is a short-lived affair or a just a game of love, it is not true love. That is perhaps the reason why we have just a very few love stories that are forever, eternal, like the love stories of Romeo and Juliet,Shirin Farhad,Laila Majnu,Heer Ranjha and Dev and Suraiya..
Suraiya Begum was the leading female star-singer in the early fifties and Dev Anand was still struggling to find a place of his own after doing films like“ Hum Ek Hain” and “Ziddi”. Those were days when every male star, director and producer was in love with Suraiya and wanted to marry her…
But Suraiya fell in love passionately with the young and handsome Dev Anand. Their love was mutual and it kept growing stronger with time and to add to the intensity of their love, they were teamed in romantic films like “Jeet” and “Neeli” among others.
Dev kept making strides and was accepted as a star and he felt it was the right time to propose to Suraiya. He did, but Suraiya was hesitant, but Dev was a shy man but was determined to not to lose Suraiya. He showed and sealed his love for her by presenting her with a diamond ring which was worth three thousand rupees those days. This ring was doomed to be a symbol of the end of their love, love as the world generally takes it.
Dev proposed to her one more time and he to his shock found out the reason why Suraiya who was so madly in love with him was turning down his proposal. The bitter fact was that Suraiya’s grandmother Badshah Begum and her mother were entirely against Suraiya marrying Dev only because he was a Hindu. When Suraiya continued to be reluctant, Dev is even supposed to have slapped the number one star in desperation and had called her ‘a coward lover’. Their love story ended when the ‘enemy’ of their love story, the grandmother forcibly took off the diamond ring Dev had presented to Suraiya and flung it into the sea outside their residence in Govind Mahal and that was to be the end of what was expected to be a legendary love story like the other few legendary love stories of the world. True, Dev Anand and Suraiya could not end their love stories in marriage, their love story was to be remembered till love lived. Dev, however married his co-star Kalpana Karthik in a quiet marriage while they were shooting in a studio, Mehboob Studio.Suraiya however proved that she was a true lover because she never got married till the end of her life. Dev was married, but he never left any opportunity to talk about his love for Suraiya and sometimes even cried when he talked about her, she being the only woman for whom he cried, besides his brother.
Dev faced the most delicate and dicey situation of his life when Suraiya who was considered one of the richest women in India, suddenly died at the same Govind Mahal….
Dev reached his office at ‘Anand’, very early next morning and asked his staff to build some kind of a mini tent on the terrace of ‘Anand’. The only things he wanted to be taken to the tent were his files in which he wrote his scripts and a landline telephone connection, whose number he did not want anyone to know. He was sure that he would be pastored with phone calls from the media who would certainly want him to talk about Suraiya….
I don’t know why, but I was the only one he called and asked me to spend time with him in that tent. He was trying his best to hide his feelings, but ultimately the dam of tears burst and I can never forget the feel of his embrace when he literally cried on my shoulders. We spent the whole day and till midnight and he kept trying to avoid talking about Suraiya, the more he tried to avoid Suraiya, the more she crept into his talk and he kept trying to keep away the tears from flowing by trying to cover his eyes with both his hands, but the tears of a true lover couldn’t be stopped. In one of the lines he spoke, he said, he had come to know about Suraiya not being allowed not only to marry him but also not to do any more films with him. He also told me about how cruel and mean her grandmother and mother has been because they had even hired men to kill him while their love story was at its peak, Suraiya had known about their evil plans to eliminate him and one of the reasons she did not want to marry him was to save his life.
I can write volumes about the Dev and Suraiya love story, but I will not reveal the entire story as I had taken a vow before Dev not to. And I will not break that vow made to a man who I have always considered second only to the Dev (God) above.
There are all the biography-hungry filmmakers who are looking for subjects that will enchant and enlighten generations to come. Why can’t someone make a film called “Devina”, a name Suraiya had given to Dev when they were in love and a name Dev gave to his only daughter “Devina”.
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