Deven Verma was Bollywood’s ‘intelligent’ comedian

Bollywood paid rich tributes to the sad demise of renowned comedian of yesteryear Deven Verma, who passed away of due to heart attack and kidney failure at the ripe age of 77. Raaga.Com pays homage to the great comedian, who was also a director and film producer.

Born on 23 October 1937, Deven Verma was brought up in Pune. He was among film industries’ few most learned actor. He was a graduate in Politics and Sociology from Nowrosjee Wadia College for Arts and Science (University of Pune) (1953–57), but had a penchant for acting.

He was first discovered by legendary filmmaker B.R.Chopra, who was impressed by his acting on stage and offered him a small role in his movie DHARMPUTRA in 1961 but the movie failed and Deven Verma had to struggle to make his presence felt. 

From 1961 till 1976 it took him 15 long years to prove his worth when he eventually won his First Filmfare Award for his hilarious performance in CHORI MERA KAAM (1976). 

His Best Comedian Filmafare award in CHORI MERA KAAM was more important because he had beaten the great comedian Asrani in SHOLAY. In fact Asrani till date is remembered for his comic role in SHOLAY as the crazy jailor but Deven Verma, as the Gujarati businessman being conned repeatedly by the lead hero (Shashi Kapoor) and heroine (Zeenat Aman) in the movie brought the house down. That year Deven Verma even out beat legendary comedian Mehmood in QAID, thus proving his strength as a comedian par excellence.

Deven Verma was film industry’s most intelligent comedian because more than his body it was his amusing dialogues and facial expression that made him different from other Bollywood comedians. Probably that was also the reason he was the most cherished comedian of intellectual filmmakers like Basu Chatterji, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Gulzar.

After CHORI MERA KAAM celebrating Silver Jubilee Deven Verma became a name to reckon and ruled Bollywood as the most sought after comedian in the mid 70’s. and late 80’s. His other two Filmfare awards as Best Comedians were for CHOR KE GHAR CHOR (1979) and ANGOOR (1983).