Always the leading man, never at rest
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"Why do you want to look back? Every moment the world is moving on and we are losing life. It's passing us by, even as I'm saying this. Come, let's try and catch it.. Look, there it goes. catch, catch, catch."
That was Dev Anand's response when I met him last year for the film nostalgia column 'Return Ticket'. I was keen to start the column with Guide. He was gracious enough to talk about Guide, and also Hum Dono, but he didn't like to look back. He loved to say, "Yesterday is gone. Today is today. Tomorrow is another day."
Meeting him was always a joyful experience. It started with a phone call, which he'd pick up and greet you with a very Dev Anand-ish "Hello". Always a ladies' man, he would get up when you entered and shake your hand with the softest pair of hands. "A creative person's hands," he said once.
Creativity or "kaam ki bhakti" as he liked to call it, was his life force. There was never a day when he wasn't at work. The desk at his makeshift office in Bandra was overflowing with books, scripts, notes and some more books. His in-renovation residence, known to us as The Penthouse, on 42, Pali Hill, Bandra above the dubbing studio, Anand Recording Studio, also used to overflow with books. "This is why I exist. My creativity, when it ceases to be, I'll cease to be."
Over the years, he started to look frail but still every inch a star. The bright shirts, the corduroy pants, the scarf, the polished shoes and that unmistakable twinkle in his eye — Dev Anand was forever the leading man. He famously turned down a cameo appearance for Farah Khan in the title track of Om Shanti Om because he only did the "main lead".
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