The last time I met Dev Anand just before the release of Chargesheet, he had said, "Unless something physical happens to me, I will continue working with the same amount of energy." At that time, even though he looked frail, it was impossible not to believe him. Looks like his heart, after all, didn't keep step with his enthusiasm for life. According to people close to him, the failure of Chargesheet broke his heart so much that he uncharacteristically chose to give up on life. What's sadder than his death is that his spirit broke first. That was a rare indomitable spirit, which served him unfailingly all his life.
feted: The actor's contribution to the film industry was recognised at a
function. pic/pradeep dhivar
Whenever he called, he would start with an enthusiastic 'Hi, this is Dev' like a young man just starting on his professional life would. When he was about to start shooting for Chargesheet, he had asked me to accompany him to Mahabaleshwar with the crew. "Let's go," he had said with an infectious enthusiasm, as always, "I just went there to check the locations. The weather is fantastic!" He would never let it occur to you that you are talking to an octogenarian. It felt more like a college buddy inviting you for a picnic. I couldn't manage to go and that would be a regret.
This suave well-dressed man never failed to amaze with his undying optimism. He was not only young but also light-hearted. He didn't carry any baggage of past glory or tags. He had once told me, "People call me a living legend, but I don't agree. I am still in the running and will continue to run as long and as far as I can. I know there are some people who ask 'What's wrong with the man, why can't he just stop?' But they don't realise what Dev Anand is all about. They need to be in my situation to understand what drives me."
Going once, going twice, sold! Dev Anand signs a poster of his famous
film CID. The poster was auctioned at the launch party of the book
Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema at a Bandra hotel. pic/mid day archives
Yes, no one could neither understand what he was about nor even strive to be what he was.
And yes, referring to him in the past tense is bothering me. I am sure he wouldn't approve. He had once said flashing that boyish smile of his, "An actor never dies. Is there any other performer who's been able to keep him active the way I have? Do you see my contemporaries around? People still ask me what my future plans are? How many people of my age have that privilege? There is so much to say � How can one do it in one lifetime?"
One lifetime is indeed not enough for someone like Dev Anand.
With his leading ladies
Dev Anand ansd Supriya
Dev Anand and Hema Malini
Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman
Dev Saab was about my father's age, but he was always young, like my son Ranbir. His energy was infectious. He was always full of joie de vivre, inspiring everyone around to be as full of life.
- Rishi Kapoor
No one word can describe this enigmatic personality who had his unique style of dressing, a livewire who charged all people around with his energy and life-state. Not a moment have I seen him sitting in a relaxed manner on the sets, but constantly creating, planning and discussing films and the shoot ahead. Even the phrase Rest in Peace does not apply to him, though this is what I pray for him. I can still imagine, Dev Saab planning his next passionate venture.
- Hema Malini
I was very young when I started watching his films. And then when I got to meet him for the first time, I can say it was the happiest day of my life. He looked at me and said, 'Will you work in Hum Dono?' I did not know how to react. I did not have the courage to sit in the same frame beside him, but his energy was so infectious that you'd be forced to put in at least half of that. I'd always sing Abhi na jao chodkar when I'd think of him. Abhi sach mein humein chodkar chale gaye.
I did one of my earliest films Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai with him. The best part about him was that he was unpredictable. Sometimes he'd start doing things that were not in the script. I remember we were shooting this song Uff Yumma. We were supposed to act like we were a little drunk. So in the middle of the song, he took off his gloves and started hitting me with it. I was perplexed and didn't know how to react. Then I started hitting him back. It was the most fun I have ever had during a shoot.
- Asha Parekh
Indian cinema has lost one of its biggest stars. Dev sahab was a force of creative energy, a man of immense charisma and charm. He was an icon for many generations. My heartfelt condolences to all in the family.
- Aamir Khan
Over the years it seemed as if Dev Saab had figured out the formula for agelessness. As if he had learnt to conquer death. Now that he is no more, the word 'evergreen' doesn't seem synonymous with anyone anymore. I spoke to him recently during the release of his film Chargesheet. He sounded exuberant and cheerful, gearing up for his next venture. May be that is meant for the gods now. Dev saab, I will miss you.
- Anil Kapoor
When we were shooting Jewel Thief, I remember there was a lot of dancing in one of the songs. I used to rehearse for hours together and Dev Saab would come to me and always acknowledge the hard work. He was not just an actor, he was a mastermind in every way. He had a great ear for music, that's why even today each of his film songs has stayed alive in the memories of millions. I love Hoton pe aisi baat and all the songs from Guide. When I watched Guide, I wished I could do a film like that with him.