Gregory Peck was one of the greatest Hollywood stars of the 50s and 70s in India, of course, his name is curiously split with Dev Anand, known as Gregory Peck India.
If we compare objectively the two stars, both in terms of physical gestures or style player, we realize that any similarity is in our mind, actually.
So how was this myth “Gregory Peck of India” born? And how did it take a strong influence on the popular imagination, to the extent that, when Anand died several years later, “Gregory Peck India” seemed to be a problem that has gone through the obituaries?
I found a clue to this puzzle in a vintage copy of Stardust Magazine. I found myself in a train cabin, conducting an interview with Suraiya, the famous 50-year-old heroine who had experienced an affair with Anand.
Suraiya, at age 20, was already the highest paid movie star in India. She was a big fan of Peck, who had seen in recent films like the invisible barrier, Souls at the stake and the lawless city. In fact, when he met with Hollywood director Frank Capra at the First International Indian Film Festival in 1952, he gave him a signed photo to give Peck.
A few years earlier, when he was a teenager, Suraiya had opposed a young newcomer named Dev Anand Vidya. They participated in eight films together. After a dramatic incident in one of the films, when his ship overturned and saved himself from drowning, Suraiya and Anand fell in love.
It was a rather unlikely party that she was at the peak of her fame, competing to win Rs 8 lakh extraordinary a year (at a time when you could buy a new stylish limousine for Rs 8000). She was also an idol of public crowds who used to enjoy a frenzy when they saw her, and the police sometimes had to take a control charge.
However, both were very in love: his name is Steve (after the hero of a novel that had given him); Nosy called (because he was delighted with the shape of the nose); They spoke of an exaggerated English-Italian accent.
One day, sitting in sets for a shoot, Suraiya said Anand looked like Gregory Peck. In a later interview, he said it was a joke; In another interview, she looks like she actually saw a similarity. Anyway, the label attracted Gregory Peck, and the rest of the crew started calling too (being provocative or not).
In 1954, the first Filmfare price was held in Mumbai, by chance, was to be the main guest Peck. He had shot a movie in Sri Lanka and had to stop in Mumbai for the event on the way to the United States of America. But as it happened, his flight from Colombo was delayed and missed the awards show, but came to the post-awards dinner, where he was introduced to Anand and Suraiya. Later that night, after dinner, Peck was taken by a mutual acquaintance in the apartment to greet Suraiya.
Suraiya was taken by surprise by this unexpected visit, and they sat and talked for an hour, during which Peck told him that he had received the photo he had sent by Capra, and s’ hangs on a wall in his Beverly Hills house. In a later interview, Suraiya recalled that he left Peck, who was so excited about his visit he could not sleep that night.