Sikkim remembers its Jewel Thief: Dev Anand

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Shital Pradhan

The Jewel Thief that won many hearts across the globe is no more, veteran actor-director Dev Anand passed away early morning on December 3 at London. He was 88 years old and was admitted to the hospital at Hospital for cardiac arrest. The evergreen actor had charmed the Hindi movie watchers for more than five decades.

It was Dev Anand’s 1967 “ Jewel Thief”, directed by his younger brother Vijay Anand now considered to be one of the best thriller movie of India that helped introduce the small majestic beauty of the kingdom of Sikkim to the celluloid screen. The film was a huge success and rest is history.
Who can forget those immortal songs picturised at the beautiful locales of Sikkim, especially the song “Hoton Pay Aaisi Baat” picturised inside the Royal Palace at Gangtok?

Shyam Pradhan, Actor and the Producer of a Hindi film “Romeo in Sikkim”, the first and the only Hindi film to be made by Sikkim has expressed deep condolence to the family of the evergreen actor. Pradhan has said the untimely death of the legend is a big loss to the Bollyhood Industry and such person with a wonderful heart shall always be missed.

Pradhan in his word said that he was in his schools when the shooting of Jewel Thief was held at Gangtok and he remembers running off the school to watch the shoot. Still fresh in his memories are watching those mega stars of Hindi cinema in Dev Anand, Ashok Kumar, Vyjayantimala, Anju Mahendru and others.

Wherever the shooting moved I was with my friends following them, be it at Norkhil Hill Hotel or Secretariat or near Tashi Namgyal High Secondary School and others. Pradhan went on to say that Madan Pradhan, a local artiste from Sikkim to had played a pivotal role in the movie. I do not hesitate to say that Jewel Thief inspired me to make a movie. I went to Bombay and had talked with the technician. I brought them to Sikkim and thus ‘Romeo in Sikkim’ was shown at Gangtok in 1975, added Pradhan.

Most of the shooting took place in and around then Gangtok but it is also known that a small part of the shooting was also done at Singtam bazaar but it was never to be seen at big screen. Gaya Gupta, one of the oldest owners of a paan dokan at the heart of Singtam bazaar recalls about a scene in which the veteran actor had a vehicle chasing him at the middle of the road. Gupta in his words says he had seen the shooting of the film at Singtam bazaar where Dev Anand was being chased but does not recall any other; the thing is more than 40 years now, he says.

RS Prasad, cash crop businessman from Singtam during 1960s too remembers that he had seen the shooting of the Jewel Thief at Singtam, Prasad remembers Dev Anand running from the middle of the Singtam bazaar and through the old iron bridge he crossed and the shot was called off.

Jaiman Rai, a local from Gangtok in his mid sixties remembers the days of the shooting, Rai adds Dev Anand had such a great charisma, the people of hills loved him a lot and I have seen girls falling in the ground just watching him at Darjeeling. It is even said that women out there during those days had married him with his photographs, said Rai.

Sunita Gurung from Rongli in her early 30s has thanked Dev Anand for making Jewel Thief in Sikkim. Gurung said that she was not born in Independent Sikkim but watching the film it’s like revisiting that aura through a movie. I simply love the movie, its story, acting, songs above all a complete package.

About the author:


A teacher by profession, Shital Pradhan is an avid blogger from Sikkim. You can read his blog sikhim , a frequently updated blog which focuses on news and history of the Sikkim state. To read his other post on iSikkim click on the link below:

The above story was published earlier on Shital Pradhan’s blog.

To read other stories by Shital Pradhan click on the link below:

Bindeshwari Prasad felicitated at Basibiyalo
SPARK celebrates Prakash Sundas’s triumph
Geetanjali Thapa : with love from Sikkim



  • Legshel Thakarpa

    That movie did give me the opportunity to see Indepdent Sikkim as it was but Dev Anand’s death was not untimely. But I am glad that the tributes following his death introduced him to the younger generations who were unaware of his presence.


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