Dilip Kumar is older, Raj Kapoor was younger, ageless between the two stood Dev Anand as an imperial part of The Trinity. The secret of Dev's perennial youth -- a mindscape that moved on and on. Imagine, at 88, our predominant recall of the man is that he just moved on.
"Super Singing Star Suraiya's finally saying 'no' to me. Even if it is a reluctant 'no', it came as a blow to my male ego at that beginner stage in my career," Dev confided in me, "But I soon moved on."
What's on your plate? Dev Anand grabs a bite from Dilip Kumar's
plate on a film set. pic/midday archives
That Dev moved on to woo and wed Kalpana Kartik broke a billion female hearts at the time. But the point about the 'evergreening' of Dev is that he never stayed put with one woman. Or at one place.
"If something should happen to Dev Saab, I'll go to pieces!" noted actor Zeenat Aman said on the Film World cover, a Zeenie Baby who was the happening, happening thing in Dev's life and times.
Inspirational as Zeenat proved in his preserving a youthful image, Dev adjusted with rare mental agility, as Zeenie Baby switched camps to be with Raj Kapoor.
Dev discovered Tina Munim as a spot counter to Zeenat. Indeed, as Raj's Satyam Shivam Sundaram saw Zeenat Aman bomb with a bang, there was a celebratory ring to the Des Pardes party at which Dev introduced Tina, to me, as his neo-debutante. Thus was Dev's aura of 'evergreen' burnished by Tina.
If Dev felt let down by Zeenie, he never let on. "Life is all about change, Raju," noted Dev. "No relationship is forever. There's as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it!"
So resilient of mind and spirit was Dev that he now paired with Geeta Bali, now with Nutan, now with Waheeda Rehman, now with Hema Malini. Johnny Mera Naam came as the 70's smasher at a time when Dev was being written off in the face of the Rajesh Khanna wave.
Imagine. Kishore Kumar was Dev's choice of voice one score years before Rajesh Khanna materialised. KK, in fact, proved crucial now to sustaining Dev's enduring image of being always in sync with the times.
As modern as today was our man. That is why there cannot be another Dev Anand. Just as there cannot be another Dilip Kumar, or another Raj Kapoor. Death alone could quench Dev's lust for life. He lived for the moment, not the morrow.