The energy hunter

Meeting the self-confessed romantic rebel, who lived life on his own terms left me charmed

In May 2010, I woke up one morning to incessant calls from people inquiring about the loss of the yesteryear's superstar Dev Anand. Before, I could to get in touch with other journalists to confirm the news, a random publicist spammed our inboxes with, "The rumors have no truth in them," said the publicist and then added, "Dev Saab has been working nonstop on the background score of 'Chargesheet' and was actually watching television when these rumors broke out. I called him up late in the night at his Mumbai residence to check if everything was alright, and we ended up having a hearty laugh over it at 1.30 am. Right now, he's charged about 'Charge Sheet'. As I have known him, he possesses more energy than many of the young makers of today. Dev Anand, till date, is a man on a mission. The heavens can wait." I heaved a sigh of relief.

Soon after the incident, I got a chance to interview Devsaab for a column called 'Turning Point' and was asked to come to his Bandra office ("Devsaab doesn't like giving telephonic interviews," I was told) Well, I wasn't complaining. Armed with questions, I landed up at his office, excited at the prospect of interviewing the veteran filmmaker. I was ushered into Devsaab's room where he was busy going through some files ("Tons to do for Chargesheet", he said).But the moment he saw me, he was the gracious host, handing me a steaming cup of coffee. I felt like a schoolgirl meeting her idol. I was charmed.

Over the span of two hours, he spoke about his life and films passionately. Everything except what I came for. "Young lady, I never look back. I always face the future and rest is destiny," he replied. Stumped and disappointed at going back without a proper interview, I tried the other route. I started asking him about his journey to the tinseltown and the ups and downs of being a star, hoping to catch a tinge of regret or sadness somewhere. Well, I was disappointed.

His unwillingness to admit that he has never had any setbacks in life almost bordered to neurotic. Every star has seen good and bad days, why should he be different? But to my surprise, I soon realized that he meant every word. "I am a very positive person and I don't take anything to heart. Even when my films don't do well, I don't sit and mourn. I put my energy into my next movie," he added. Over two cups coffee, he spoke about his childhood memories (it was difficult to believe that he was 87 at that time) his heroines and his passion for making films ("I am planning a big promotional event for my film," he revealed). I would have wanted this conversation to go on for few more hours but he had meetings on 'Chargesheet' lined up. I came out without an interview but suitably charmed by a man who didn't believe in giving up.