Thrice As Much Funhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/thrice-as-much-fun/

Thrice As Much Fun

Dev Anand's on-screen romance with three beautiful women

Dev Anand’s on-screen romance with three beautiful women

Let’s talk about tuduk. Don’t know what tuduk is? According to Ameen Sayani’s narration,“Jab naino ne naino se kuch kaha aur bin bole hi baat ban gayi matlab ki…tuduk!” We are warned about the side-effects of tuduk in the beginning of Teev Devian,as Sayani introduces us to Dev Anand and tells us,“Iski baat deviyon ke silsile mein ek nahin,do nahin,teen baar banne waali hai yaani…tuduk,tuduk,tuduk! Aur har tuduk ke saath ek uljhan khadi ho jaayegi kyunki yeh bhola bechara kisi ko naa nahin keh paata.”

It’s all about Dev,the quintessential lover boy — young,restless,confused. He’s caught between teen devian — the girl next door Nanda,the high-maintenance lonely actress Kalpana and the socialite Simi Garewal with all the right contacts. All three girls make his heart sing but Anand isn’t sure whom he wants to dedicate his songs to. He believes,“Prem ki pukaar agar 100 per cent sach nahin ho,toh isse bada jhoot aur koi nahin ho sakta.”

With its modern storyline and treatment,Teen Devian was a film way ahead of its time. A musical romcom,it is still remembered for SD Burman’s timeless musical score embellished with Majrooh Sultanpuri’s poetry. The film is credited to director Amarjeet but it was actually Anand’s direction. He set the record straight in his autobiography,Romancing with Life,where he wrote,“I was working in Teen Devian,which I was also ghost-writing and ghost-directing for a friend,Amarjeet,our publicist at Navketan. It was my first attempt at direction.” Incidentally,Amarjeet was also credited as the director for Hum Dono even though it was Vijay Anand who made that classic.

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The charm of Teen Devian is that it maintains the tuduk feeling throughout. Since it’s boy-meets-girl raised to the power of three,it could’ve easily become a case of too much of one thing. The credit goes to Dev Anand and his lover-boy charm for maintaining the sparkle with each lady that he meets. On a bhutta date with Nanda where he plays around with her dupatta in Likha hai teri aankhon mein,he is earthy and naughty. With Kalpana,he’s flirty and in command,which makes her declare “tum aam ho kar bhi khaas ho”. With Garewal,it’s poetry and verses that tie them. She wants him to be the man he can become. In a sexily done sequence,she initiates him into drinking by taking a sip from his glass and declaring,“Maine glass ko hoth lagaya hai,ab aapko aur bhi zyaada maza aayega.” Incidentally,while Nanda and Kalpana were in the thick of things,Garewal’s casting was considered a risk. It was Anand’s decision to cast her. “I saw her walking around a studio. I found her to be very elegant and beautiful. I asked Amarjeet to get her to our studio and well,she got this role,” he had told me in an interview.

All the three women impart many life lessons to Anand in the film but when it comes to his moment of truth,he shares it with Nanda when he says,“Jab tum mere saath hoti ho,toh darr jaisi koi cheez nahin hoti.” No surprise then,who he ends up choosing. In the film,this was done via a crystal ball when Anand meets a hypnotist. While most of Teen Devian is in black and white,these portions — where Anand sees what his future will be with each girl — is in colour. However,for some reason,this entire bit has been edited out of the Shemaroo DVD which I recently watched. But I distinctly remember these scenes from the last time I watched it a few years ago.

Not many know that just like Guide,Anand made an English version of Teen Devian called Oh! Boy! Three Girls! for which Dada Burman recorded two English songs written by Harindranath Chattopadhyay. The songs were sung by Ramnath,Harindranath’s son. While we are not lucky enough to hear the English songs,we can make do with the very fine compositions in the Hindi version. We are spoilt for choice with Rafi’s sublimely romantic Aise toh na dekho,Kishore’s sexily romantic Khwaab ho tum and his infuriatingly playful Arre yaar meri. Then there is the Lata-Kishore duet Likha hai teri aankhon mein. I also love the underrated Rafi number Kahin bekhayal ho kar.

The story of the boy and his dilemma that Teen Devian told us way back continues to be the go-to-template for romcoms even now. From Shahid Kapoor’s Dil Maange More to Saif Ali Khan’s Cocktail,everyone’s following the dating rules set by Anand and his devian.