Not many of us know about the Russian connection of iconic Indian actor Dev Anand. In his struggling days, he had a leaning towards communism. In fact, he became a member of IPTA along with his brother Chetan Anand. He visited Russia in 1954 as a part of an Indian Film Delegation along with Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Balraj Sahni, and Nirupa Roy.
The popularity of Indian films and their songs was at its peak during those days. In fact, 800 prints each of Dev Anand’s film Rahi and Raj Kapoor’s Aawara were released in all the languages of the 15 Soviet republics. The adulation Indian films got and the spontaneous enthusiasm of people was simply overwhelming.
Aawara and Rahi became so famous and popular across the country that when in 1955, India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited the Soviet Union, he took Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, and Dilip Kumar, the legendary trio of then Bombay film industry, as part of his delegation. To his amazement, Nehru found that the whole country was singing “Aawara.”
“Rahi” was based on Mulk Raj Anand's, , scripted and directed by K.A. Abba. It was India's official entry to the first-ever Venice and Moscow International Film Festivals in 1954. The other Dev Anand film screened in this festival was the 1952 film Aandhiyan written and directed by Chetan Anand. It also won international accolades at the Venice, Moscow and Peking film festivals.
Again when in 1955, India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited the Soviet Union, he took Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, and Dilip Kumar, the legendary trio of then Bombay film industry, as part of his delegation.
By that time the “trio” had already made a big impact on the people throughout India through their leading roles in Hindi films, sympathizing with common and downtrodden people and conveying the message of socialist egalitarianism, love, and freedom. Their roles in films resonated well with Nehru’s socialist ideology and will later strike a chord with Russians.
Here I am posting a rare video of Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, and Nargis in Russia