Dev Anand's final visit to UAE

Excerpts of his last interview with Emirates 24|7

“I am not old at all. In fact, till the day I die, I will continue to make films and even act as the leading man if the script demands it,” were the first words Dev Anand ever uttered to me that sultry evening four years ago in Dubai.
 
Having stepped off a podium after an exhausting 45-minutes speech to launch his autobiography “Romancing With Life”, the then 84-year-old legend said this in response to my query whether he wanted to rest some before the volley of questions began.
 
But the ‘evergreen actor’, as he was popularly known as in the Bollywood circles, would have none of this.
 
“I am still a young man,” he admonished this reporter in jest. “I am the evergreen Dev Anand after all.”
 
Indeed, with a career spanning six decades and 110 films and that trademark grin, I was finally witnessing the Dev Anand magic first hand.
 
But Dev Anand was much more than just an actor. He was a man of his word.
 
Up until the time he drew his last breath, he proved critics wrong by continuing his romance with cinema with a new film in the works.
 
While its uncertain still if this film will ever see the light of day now, Dev Anand’s zest for life serves as a stark reminder for those who wander through the years in search of a dream.
 
Dev Anand not only dreamed it; he lived it. Rest in peace young man.
 
Here are excerpts of our interview:  
 
On breaking into films…
 
Said Dev Anand: “I came to Bombay from Lahore in 1943 to pursue my dream of becoming an actor; that was romance.
 
“I struggled to make my place in the film industry without a godfather; that was romance.
 
“My passion to make my own films was the benchmark to start my own production house in the forties; that too was romance.
 
“Every aspect of my life has been a passionate embrace. When I look around Dubai and Abu Dhabi today, I see a reality that would have taken root in the minds of the rulers 40-50 years ago. All this was also part of romantic dream to make it big, and I salute their passion.”
 
On penning his autobiography, “Romancing With Life”…
 
“My 62 years in cinema deserved a book. I could have written six books, especially when you are known to the world every day becomes a chapter.
 
“My book chronicles my rise to creativity, my dreams and my sorrows. Yes, it is slightly sexy ­– after all, who doesn’t like sex?
 
On his first heartbreak over legendary actress, Suraiya…
 
“When you are young, you want a girlfriend ­– especially when she is a big star and you a nobody.
 
“But didn’t just fall for Suraiya, I cried for her.
 
“She couldn’t marry a Hindu because her grandmother forbade it. So I did what I could at the time: I cried on my brother’s shoulder for her.
 
“And when I finally opened my eyes, a special ray of sunshine fell on me in the form of Kalpana [Kartik – his wife].”
 
[The couple wedded in a secret ceremony during a time when a film star was considered old news if his or her marriage was ever publicised].
 
On the stupendous success of his 1965 path breaking film, “Guide”, where he starred alongside Waheeda Rahman...
 
“Guide was the first Indo-American film, which was shot in Hindi and English.
 
“But not many people know that while the English version was adopted from RK Narayan’s book, the Hindi one had an altered storyline because the original tackled the subject of adultery, which was still a taboo subject in India at the time.”
 
On playing the leading man well into his 50s…
 
“Why not? If the script allowed me to be the film’s hero, how could I ever turn it down?”
 
On his never ending romance with cinema… 
 
“My romance with cinema will never end. If I look at it as a book, then all I can say is that there are many more chapters left in my life and I plan to romance away till the very end.”
 
 

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