Dev Anand was not just a superstar and actor, but a producer-director with a vision. He was behind some of the most memorable debuts of Hindi cinema, including Guru Dutt, Zeenat Aman and Tabu
Evergreen' wasn't just a starry moniker for Dev Anand. Besides acting, directing and producing films till his last days, he introduced many new faces to the industry. A "debut" would get hefty gravitas when Dev saab backed one. His vision for what would later become the booming Bollywood was expansion through numbers. "I am glad the audience accepted me as an actor. Ever since, it has been my dream to get as many new faces as possible so that even they get a chance to express their talent," he had said in an interview to The Indian Express in August 2010.
Some of the industry's most memorable talents indeed got a break through him including Guru Dutt, Hindi's cinema's symbol of romantic angst. In 1951, Anand signed Dutt to direct Baazi produced by the former's production house Navketan Films. "Dev saab and my father knew each other from the time they worked together at Prabhat Studios. Their shirts had got mixed up by a dhobi on a set. Dev saab made a pact that if my father became a director first, he would cast him as the hero, and if Dev saab turned producer first he would let my father direct his first film. He kept his promise," remembers Guru Dutt's son Arun Dutt. Baazi was also the debut film of Kalpana Karthik who, going by film lore, mesmerised Anand in their very first meeting. "One of the most understated actresses, she had a spark in her eyes which translated well on screen," Dev Anand would say. The two got married in 1954 after their film Taxi Driver became a hit.