Updated (links): 18 June 2022
I was shocked when I read about Dev Anand’s death. He may have been the superstar of my parents’ generation, but he certainly looked like he would outlive me! If I’d ever thought about it, I’d have said that he’d go on making movies forever. Over the years, he’s spent so much time in my living room, bringing so much fun and entertainment with him, that it is impossible not to feel a bit sad that he is no more. I am only "a bit" sad because the Dev Anand I knew is forever young, handsome, and always there in his lovely films. (I refuse to even admit the existence of his post-1960s career!)
Of course, his sad demise reminded me that it was high time I paid him a visit in the 1960s. While I was there, I took the opportunity to quiz him about his great romances with women and wine.
Me: How did you get started on the path of romance? I can understand the love of women, but where does the wine fit in?
Theher o jaane wale–Birha Ki Raat (1950)
Nargis finally left me for Raj Kapoor and I drowned my sorrows in sharaab…
Saawan ke mahine mein - Sharaabi (1964)
Kabhi khud pe kabhi haalaat pe – Hum Dono (1960)
Me: B-b-but weren’t you in love with Suraiya back then?Dev A: That does not mean I could take being ditched for Raj Kapoor! Besides, if Prince Salim/Jehangir could have more than one true love, why couldn’t I? And I’d barely recovered from this when Madhubala broke my heart afresh. There I was, pledging my love to her, as tunefully as Mohammed Rafi. Can you guess what she did? She told me I wasn’t good looking enough for her!!! Then she went off and married Kishore Kumar!
Dil hai aapka huzoor – Jaali Note (1960)
Then there was Waheeda. We got along fine at first…
Tum to dil ke taar–Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1961)
But then she asked me to go away, and not trouble her!
Jaao na sataao–Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1961)
Me: Is that when you began dating wine?Dev A: I tried to drown myself in my music, but I could not forget the lovely eyes that would never reciprocate my love…
Yaad aa gayi woh nasheeli nigahen–Manzil (1962)
So I turned to wine. But that romance was also doomed. My glass would run dry very often, and I always had to sing for more. Sigh!
Chheda mere dil ne–Asli Naqli (1962)
It looks like filmmaking wasn't the only common denominator between Dev Saab and his friend Guru Dutt! While Dev Saab’s moroseness was prompting me to shift to happier topics, I was loath to let go without one final question:
Me: What was the true cause of your break-up with Suraiya?Dev A: Yeh dil na hota bechara, kadam na hote awaara, to khoobsoorat koi apna humsafar hota (if it weren’t for this poor heart, these straying feet, I would’ve had a beauty at my side)…
Yeh dil na hota bechara–Jewel Thief (1967)
That was refreshingly honest! And he went on to be candid about a lot of other things too, as you will see in the second part of this interview…