‘Dev drew Rs 275, paid Guru Dutt’s, Rehman’s house rent, too’

Ajit Damle

Dev Anand and my husband worked together for only two years, but their friendship lasted a lifetime," Shalini Watve, wife of the late Bapu Watve, said on Sunday recalling the late 1940s, when the actor had worked closely with Watve for Hum Ek Hain, the film that launched Dev Anand's film career in 1946 and Aage Badho, released a year later. Both were produced by Prabhat Films and Watve was assistant director.

On Sunday, Bapu Watve's wife and son Dr Sanjay Watve, a 56-year-old doctor based in Pune, shared memories of the legendary actor, told, retold and kept alive in the family. Bapu, who was also a renowned author and film critic, had passed away in 2009.

They recall how Dev Anand got Rs 275 per month for Hum Ek Hain. Guru Dutt, who also got a break with Hum Ek Hain and Rehman, also making his debut, got Rs 50 per month.

"They all got along very well," said Dr Watve. Dev Anand's generosity was on display back then, too. "As he drew a higher salary, he used to pay the rents of Guru Dutt and Rehman, too," said Dr Watve.

The actor used to stay at Vasant Villa near Deccan Gymkhana and would ride a cycle to the studio. Every morning, Bapu and Dev used to visit Lucky Restaurant and have bun-maska and chai.

"Even though he shifted base to Mumbai, Dev Anand remained in touch with my father," said Dr Watve. In the 80s, the actor had visited Pune and expressed his desire to have bun-maska and chai at Lucky. "Since he had become a huge star, it wasn't possible to visit the restaurant without being mobbed," he said.

So, the owner got the place vacated for around three hours and let Dev Anand and Bapu sip their chai and relive the old times.

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