The first thing you should know about The Guide (1965) is that it was never released in India. Yes, we know, but just hold on. This is not Guide, but The Guide. The English version. We cannot be too sure if you have even seen this grainy trailer of the film.
That ‘impeccable’ English accent of Dev Anand’s? To die for. The Guide resurfaced decades later, at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.
In contrast to Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman’s faltering English tone is obvious even in the trailer. Actor Priya Rajvansh was the first choice for the part since she spoke perfect English, but Dev Anand was adamant about whom he wanted as his heroine.
American writer and Nobel Laureate Pearl S Buck, who wrote the screenplay for the English version, stepped in to help Rahman improve her diction.
But whatever the language, can you imagine The Guide without Waheeda Rehman’s dancing skills? Priya Rajvansh could not have listed dancing among her many talents. You only have to watch Rajvansh in Heer Ranjha (1970).
Of course, with The Guide not having been seen in India, it is the Hindi version that has found its place in the classics. Dev Anand’s younger brother Vijay Anand directed the movie, changing the climax from the English version to suit Indian sentiments. He was right as far as popularity goes.
Perhaps predictably, writer RK Narayan, whose novel the film was based on, is believed to have hated what the Anands had done to his book. But people thought otherwise. Why, many members of the Union Cabinet flocked to the premiere in Delhi, and people thronged the halls in Calcutta.
PS: If you thought the English trailer was fuzzy, here’s a slightly better looking scene when Raju, the guide begins to slowly transform into a swami.