WHEN DEV ANAND FOUGHT AGAINST THE EMER­GENCY

Forty years af­ter the Emer­gency, vet­eran jour­nal­ist Ran­jan Das Gupta re­mem­bers how Dev Anand brought the film in­dus­try to­gether for a cause

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Variety -

Dur­ing the Emer­gency of 1975, Congress leader San­jay Gandhi or­dered that no songs by late singer Kishore Ku­mar would be played on All In­dia Ra­dio. The rea­son be­ing that Ku­mar re­fused to obey Gandhi’s in­struc­tions of ap­pear­ing in a show in New Delhi to sup­port the Emer­gency. This an­noyed late ac­tor Dev Anand (above), who strongly op­posed the Emer­gency.

The fear­less Dev Anand re­fused to speak in sup­port of the emer­gency on Do­or­dar­shan, when asked to do so. He openly de­fied the Emer­gency along with broth­ers Chetan and Vi­jay. The Anands re­ceived sup­port from col­leagues like late ac­tor Pran, late film­maker Hr­ishikesh Mukherjee and ac­tors Sha­trughan Sinha, Danny Deng­zongpa and Sad­hana. To­gether they formed the Na­tional Party which re­mains the first and only po­lit­i­cal party formed by film per­son­al­i­ties for a cause. Dev Anand re­ceived a lot of public sup­port for this ef­fort.

Eye-wit­nesses say that no one will for­get the en­thu­si­asm with which the crowds greeted Devsaab as he de­liv­ered a fiery speech against the Emer­gency at Juhu beach in Mum­bai. In his lec­ture, Dev Anand strongly at­tacked the then Prime Min­is­ter Indira Gandhi, and her son San­jay for their au­to­cratic at­ti­tude.

His speech was fol­lowed by an even harder-hit­ting one by his brother Vi­jay Anand. The youngest Anand de­fied the Congress and chal­lenged the gov­ern­ment to ar­rest him and his broth­ers. So coura­geous was their bid that the likes of Jay Prakash Narayan and Satya­jit Ray were moved.

The gov­ern­ment how­ever, did not ar­rest the re­bel­lious Anands. Dev Anand later faced prob­lems at work. He is known to have said that he faced umpteen hur­dles from the gov­ern­ment while shoot­ing Des Pardes (1978). Remembering those days, Sha­trughan Sinha says, “It was a clar­ion call from Devsaab. We were to fight for democ­racy, I sup­ported him fully.”

Deng­zongpa adds, “I’m an ar­dent sup­porter of demo­cratic rights. The fight against Emer­gency was one oc­ca­sion when we joined hands and won what we were fight­ing for. The lead­er­ship Devsaab gave us was too en­cour­ag­ing.”

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