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 is what 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.
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 enthusiasm which was always infectious, "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 positivity and optimism. He was not only young but also light hearted. He didn't carry any past baggage of 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." 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 are your future plans? 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.