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RIP, Deven Verma

In these days of incessant social media sharing about any news, be it trivial, trite, or terrible, was surprised that I didn’t see anyone talking about Deven Verma on my FB/Twitter TL this week. Like the memorable characters he essayed in his films, he was understated even in his passing away, which happened earlier this week.

Deven Verma brought a rare sensibility to Hindi cinema. His ability to create a Marx-brothers-like  zaniness in everyday situations was unique, albeit with a style that was sort of an anti-thesis to the over-the-top, almost slapsticky style that Groucho & co employed. A perennially befuddled expression that conveyed a I-don’t-understand-how-this-world-works-and-its-better-that-I-don’t-try, laced with almost minimalist dialogue produced some of the best comedy seen on our screens.


His repertoire really came through in those lovely ‘middle-class movies’ genre that was the preserve of greats like  Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee, etc . Angoor was obviously the standout, but there were a string of other roles which showcased his talent. His cameo in GolMal, is a favourite of mine.

This lovely tribute by Jai Arjun captures what a gem he was, both as an actor and as a person.  Just visualise him with that classic deadpan expression, delivering this line “Ghisi-hui, purani, bekaar si cheezeen (a slight pause) ..jaise tumhare pitaji”.   Priceless.

I’m glad that he chose to stay away from the degeneration that has taken over humour in Hindi movies, since those glorious  days.

This weekend, go get a DVD of Angoor. And eat some pakodas, prefereably laced with bhang.

RIP, Deven Verma.

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