It was a strange yet mythical triangle. In the 1950s Dev Anand was madly in love with the then-ruling yesteryears’ superstar Suraiya. But she had eyes only for the Hollywood superstar Gregory Peck. Peck perhaps didn’t even know about this Indian actress’ secret crush until his visit to India when he was introduced to Suraiya. Apparently the two hit it off as though they knew one another from another life. Or something like that. Dev Anand didn’t stand a chance. His ladylove was too far gone with the original to care about the copy.
There is the other theory that Suraiya’s grandmother, who guarded over her like a hawk, encouraged the Suraiya-Peck liaison in the hope that it would make Dev Anand disappear. It was the grandmother’s selfish protectiveness that prevented Suraiya, one of the most beautiful women in the country, from finding a life partner.
The debonair Dev Anand eventually married Kalpana Kartik his co-star of Taxi Driver. They remained in a loveless marriage till Dev Saab’s end. As for Suraiya she remained loveless all her life till the End.
Dev Anand could never forget Suraiya nor get over her. In an interview to me the late writer O P Dutta(father of filmmaker J P Dutta) said , “Suraiya Bano to me, was a bundle of unforgettable qualities. A sublime voice, the ring in the voice, the perfect diction, the effortless rendering. But she always insisted that she was no singe. She brought joy to millions but what about her?"
He further added, "She never talked about it but I knew intuitively what was going on in that pretty little head of hers. I had a peep into her heart and mind the day I saw her rendering the song 'Tum mujh ko bhool jaao, ab hum na mil sakenge' for 'Bari Behan'. The cry was loud and clear - the cry of a lonely heart. And lonely it remained till the end. We made a movie together titled 'Pyar Ki Jeet'. We were like two children playing 'cinema-cinema', and surprise of surprises, the movie was a big hit. There were congratulations all around. But Suraiya insisted she was no great shakes as an actress. The argument was over when she gave a sterling performance in 'Bari Bahen'. The success made Suraiya smile that unforgettable smile that could send a thousand hearts aflutter. She was right at the top and I was very happy for her."