Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dev Anand's Life : Romancing at 83

At 83, even the most flamboyant of celebrities retreat from public life, but if you are Dev Anand, the evergreen hero of Indian cinema, it's never too late for love I have not watched too many movies of Dev Anand. I one remember and the one that possibly he will be remembered for is Guide, his and brother Vijay Anand’s adaptation of R.K. Narayan’s legendary novel of the same name. a couple of others that I have seen like Des Pardes and Johnny Mera Naam wont find any mention any where and the films he makes now are so mindless that one would be hard put to even recall their names. I guess that after Guide, the last movie of any worth that he made was Hare Rama, Hare Krishna, which captured the mood of the hippie generation pretty well. Of course there are the many old movies of the black and white generation that made Dev Anand what he was and which I haven’t seen because they are difficult to get hold of.

What to me is inspiring about Dev Anand is not the kind of movies he makes today or the ones he made earlier but the fact that the man has the zest and verve which have long left many of his contemporaries who may be still alive but in virtual retirement. Also the wonder that looking at the abysmal quality of his films today, he still has backers who put up the money to fund his films knowing that is hardly any distributor will ;pick them up today as he hardly has any market left. Even die hard fans would prefer to watch his earlier classics for which he is justly part of the old Bollywood trinity along with Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. Anand, considered the epitome of the suave, urbane gentleman, was seen as one of the most handsome men in Indian cinema and looked strikingly similar to Hollywood hero Gregory Peck.

And now, Dev And is releasing his autobiography “Romancing with Life’ on the 26th of September and the inaugural release is being done by no less a person than Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh. Unless many ghost written works released in the name of celebrities, this is a work that has actually been penned by the writer. The autobiography is a hardcover tome with 495 pages being published by Penguin Books and apart from being his personal memoir the book is bound to also capture immortal nuggets of the Indian film industry of which Dev Anand has been a part of fifty five years. Effectively this autobiography will offer a snapshot of the entire history of post independence Hindi cinema till today. Dev Anand is still making movies and his latest venture is Love in Times Square which he has put on hold at his publisher’s urging.

Depending on how you look at it, Dev Anand’s current film related pursuits can be ridiculed considering that hardly any one watches them or from another lens, his life is worthy of admiration and emulation , for his passion and determination to keep his boots on for as long as he can and remain active and productive. I prefer to look at it as a pursuit to be admired a good and worthy life is lived for its own sake and success alone is no longer the only determinant of fulfillment. Asked where he gets all the energy from at his age, the actor said, 'I never feel old as I have retained all the elements of youth. My work gives me all the energy and I am excited about all the things I do. I have gained a lot from life and have no regrets.’ I’m excited all the time about the things I do. So I feel young. Young people feel excited all the time,' he said. 'And what compensates me for my youth is my wisdom, my experience, whatever I have gained from life so far.’ Don’t you forget the world when you are busy writing an article. Well I compensate my age with my wisdom and my experience and I can go on for 100 years……… “What an example for sagging knees and tired arms that want to quit on life and simply give up…..

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