Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dev Anand's last Interview - Personal Life, Quotes, Movies

Dev Anand's last interview where we get insights on his youthful inspiring personality, his way of celebrating life and his zest for making movies and his perennial love for beautiful women. The legendary Dev Anand died on December 3, 2011

How has the journey been so far?
I joined the film industry in 1945 and it’s been six decades since then and I am improving and progressing along with the passage of time. My work keeps me going and I feel elevated each time I release a film. I am very happy with my latest release Chargesheet which is a murder mystery.

I'm in a state of suspense. I've made a film with a lot of responsibility. Let the world decide. It is an original film and not a remake. It is a contemporary film against corruption in the police force. I have really worked hard. Ab dekhte hain kya hota hai. Honestly, I never get carried away. If there is no elevator, I still climb the stairs. When I call my colleagues, I have to go through six secretaries. I wonder what happened to them. I know they are busy, but who isn't?

What if your movies do not do well?
There are many films of mine that haven't done well. My setbacks, frustrations, sorrows are very short-lived. That's my definition of life. We all have our insecurities. Even the Prime Minister in a democracy is insecure, so why not me?

How did you develop your unique style?
I am this way since the time Prabhat Film Company gave me my first break and I am glad people love it. It’s not a put on or a deliberate attempt. And, yes, I still smile the same way (Smiles).

How do you manage to maintain the ‘evergreen’ image of yours?
I don’t maintain an image, maybe I look that way (Smiles). It’s because I’ve never grown a beard and never will. It’s not deliberate at all. I never hide my age. When I play a role, I play my age.

You’ve acted, written, produced and directed this film. How did you go about doing all this?
I will not make a film without Dev Anand. If a role demands me and my age then I will always act. Filmmaking is a very expensive hobby as a lot of money is involved. If you make a good film, you feel like the master of the world. You have to be alive all the time or else you are finished.

When did you decide to make Chargesheet?
I was in America and wanted to do a film called Song Of Fire but nothing got executed. In the meanwhile, I wrote another script which I registered in the writers guild of America and came back to shoot a film called Beauty Queen in Nepal. Unfortunately the revolution took place where the king was dethroned. Later it struck me that I have never made a murder mystery and that’s how I started making Chargesheet.

Don’t you ever feel the need to cast mainstream stars over newcomers?
It’s a great honor to work with big stars but when you make a film and if a script can include a few newcomers then why not. There’s a huge line up of aspiring stars in this country. There is tremendous population of young boys and girls who have a hunger to showcase their talent. How many people give them breaks? Dev Anand is one of them.

What do you think about youngsters in Chargesheet like say, Riya Sen?
There are many films of mine that haven't done well. My setbacks, frustrations, sorrows are very short-lived. That's my definition of life. We all have our insecurities. Even the Prime Minister in a democracy is insecure, so why not me?

What is your take on the contemporary commercial aspect of cinema?
I remember when films like Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Des Pardes had released, people walked up to me and said “Devsaab, people have been waiting to buy tickets since mid-night”. These days a film does business in first few days and this is the new phenomenon as a lot of multiplexes have come up and the ticket prices have also gone up. One has to go with the time.

Why are you against the idea of remakes?
Why do you want to make a remake? So that you’re sure that your film is a hit? But there is no guarantee. A remake means that you are bankrupt of ideas. A movie-man is an educated man and he is updated with all the news around him. There are so many ideas that come into your mind and one idea sticks with you and once you start exploring the idea, you should make it into a script.

Were you disappointed with your son Suniel when he put an end to his acting career after his debut flopped?
I was let down slightly. He's a good thinker. He made a film in Chicago, USA. He looks after my company. I need someone to do that.

Why do you never celebrate your birthday?
I have not celebrated my birthday for a single year as a star. But every year, few days before my birthday, my fans start calling me wanting to know that where do they meet me. I can understand their excitement because when I was nobody and called someone important, I would love to hear their voice. My fans take it for granted that they are coming. People congregate from different parts of the country to celebrate, and not wanting to leave. For me the most motivating factor is films and nothing beyond it. I don't expect my colleagues and contemporaries to wish me on my birthday because they are very busy and to reach them, one has to go through their secretary.

What keeps Dev Anand going?
My own personality, thinking, optimism, positivity keeps me going. I am a loner. I am not in the crowd all the time. I socialize to meet new people and write about them. But you have to isolate yourself from the world when you’re writing. I like to be all by myself. Mujhe maza aata hai. Padta hoon, likhta hoon, picture banata hoon. Picture banane ka maza hi kuch aur hai. (I like to read, write and make films. Filmmaking is a drug in itself).

You are a ladies man, you were attracted to Zeenat Aman, Suraiya. Which other women were you attracted to?
There are certain things in life that I don't wish to reveal. This is one of them. Isn't making love a beautiful thing? Attraction is a beautiful thing. If a man is not attracted, then he must be a sage or an angel. I am still attracted to girls. When that doesn't happen, I will stop making films. Read between the lines

Was it Suraiya's love for you that kept her from getting married ever?
I loved her. I wanted to marry her. I had a ring made for her. I never asked her why she couldn't marry me. If she had loved me, then I would have gone to her house. I would travel by train, knock at her door and people would see me waiting outside her house. She was a huge star and I was only an intelligent, young man (pauses and looks at the ceiling). No, after that, we never kept in touch. I didn't want to interfere with her life. When we parted ways, I cried over my brother's shoulder (pauses again). After sometime, I overcame it. And I was busy looking for some other beautiful thing (smiles faintly).

Recently, you refused to meet some senior, ailing citizens. You told the hospital that you are only 16-years old.
I must have told them, but that was a joke. I know my age. But I didn't want to go because I don't like to see old, ailing people. It brings me down.

You shocked us in your autobiography Romancing With Life in which you revealed that you were in love with Zeenat Aman.
Why not? If I have written a book about myself, shouldn't I be true to myself?

Did your wife react?
No drama happened at my house.

In your autobiography, a part talks about you being upset about the way Raj Kapoor met Zeenat at a party.
Yes (pauses), I was sad but temporarily. I don't let defeats overcome me. I overcome them.

Did you ever tell Zeenat about your feelings for her?
I didn't reach that stage. Baat khulkar saamne aa gayi. Listen, these things happen. She was the heroine of my film. I had planned a few things for her. That possessiveness does get in.

And did Zeenat ever read into your feelings for her?
After the Raj Kapoor incident, she must have sensed that my warmth for her was diminishing. And she is an intelligent woman to have understood the reason.

Are you in touch with your nephew Shekhar Kapur?
Shekhar Kapur was a young college kid in London who once told me, "Dev Uncle, please put me in movies." I cast him in Ishq Ishq Ishq where he met Shabana for the first time. And they were together. Today, he never bothers me nor do I bother him.

You were incommunicado after Shammi Kapoor passed away?
I was deeply saddened. Sorrow does not mean that you have to go to a funeral. I cannot attend funerals. I don't go to weddings either; today, people get married and divorced within such a short time.

Who amongst your invitees did not turn up for Hum Dono Color Version?
Rishi (Kapoor) said that he would come but then Ranbir represented him. I had called Saira Banu but she told me that Dilip (Kumar) is not well, so I gave it up. Amitabh informed that he was out of town. Ditto for Deepika Padukone. Shah Rukh was in Berlin.

Sadhna had a problem in her legs. Nanda is a very shy person. I had even invited Tina (Ambani) but she was out of town.

Did you invite Karan Johar?
Yes. Karan said that he would come but he did not. But I have no regrets. I am not that kind of person who thinks yeh aaya, voh nahin aaya. I have always been different from most other stars. I don't have chamchas running behind me carrying my cigarettes and mobile. I don't have any pretensions.

People who believe that old classics should remain black and white?
That's right. But these are people who are not intelligent. Hum Dono is not a murder mystery, which needs dark areas. Hum Dono has love, romance, violence, war, mutilation. It's God's verdict that it is now enveloped in color.

So your answer is Hum Dono in color (smiles). And tell me, would you like to see any beautiful girl in black and white? (winks)

Is your next film Hare Rama Hare Krishna 2?
Yes. I have a wonderful script, which is not a remake but an extension of the old one. I will be in that film. But I shall get another Zeenat. Wait and watch.

How did you react to your best friend Guru Dutt's death?
Guru Dutt and I would go on double dates, we climbed mountains, we went cycling, we dreamed together. I had promised Guru that whenever I produced a film, I would give him a chance and I did [Baazi]. His banner got a break with me as a star in CID. I have given work to lots of people, be it actors, musician, writers or directors.

Balraj Sahni was jobless when he came to me for a job. He was very good in Hindi, so I gave him the job of writing the dialogues and screenplay of Baazi.

When Guru died he was sick, he had lost weight and hair. He called me one day and said: 'Dev kal aajaao yaar baith kar peete hai. [Come over tomorrow, Dev. We'll have a drink]'. Then he said, 'Let's do a picture together.'

I said, 'We will do it definitely.'

But on third day, I got a call from his house while I was shooting [for Teen Deviyaan]. Someone told me, 'Guru Dutt died.' I packed up and went to his house. I was the first to enter his room. His body was lying there and there was a glass, half full of blue liquid. You have to be very strong when you are making a film because there is so much money involved. If one film flops, it is difficult for a person to start from the beginning.

On the death of brother Vijay Anand
After that, I gave Vijay a chance. He was studying in [Mumbai's] St Xavier's College. I called him one day and made him write Taxi Driver. After that I made him direct Nau Do Gyarah. Then he directed Hum Dono. I don't cry and go on at funerals, but when he died I could not control myself. He was great till he was with me. Then he left me and his downfall started. I had told him that whenever you have a good script you come to me and we will make it, but all of sudden he had a heart attack and died.

Dev Anand on his initial struggle
I came to Mumbai from Lahore. I had done my bachelors in English literature [in Lahore] and wanted to do a masters, but my father Kishorimal Anand's financial condition was not good. He told me: 'Son, I don't have money now.' I did not say anything to him. I picked my bag and came to Mumbai. I had to struggle for two years.

There was a time when I did not have money to eat. I lived in a chawl [low-cost housing], sharing a room with somebody and a bathroom with 20 people on the same floor. But I enjoyed that phase too because that is part of life. I have travelled on top of buses and trains, ogling at women, as I did not have any work. I would go for job interviews. People loved me; they spoke to me for hours, but did not give any job.

Then I saw an advertisement in the papers. They needed educated people to read letters for people in the armed forces. I was interviewed by a major and got the job. I was paid 165 a month. Then one day I realised I was wasting my life. I was not meeting anyone [filmmakers]. I went to my officer and told him I was leaving the job. He asked me, 'Did you get the break?' I lied. I said yes.

When did you get your first break?
The same day I met someone in the train. He asked me to go to Prabhat [Talkies], which had just opened. I went there the next day and insisted on meeting someone inside. I could impress people with my talking, my behavior and style; I impressed them and they gave me my first film Hum Ek Hain. My salary was 400 a month. It was too much. I got a house to live in and I called my family to Mumbai.

Somebody then took me to Ashok Kumar. He was making Ziddi and he wanted to act in it as the lead. But after he met me, he gave me the role. I became friends with him. People liked me a lot.

There must be something in your life that you still haven't got...
I still want everything. I have done nothing.

I bring new stories to the table. I don't make remakes of film from anywhere, not even Hollywood films. I think I am unique. Till the time my body permits and my mind is sharp, I will keep on making films. I am not only competing with people in India but I am competing with the world as a writer, producer, director and star.

I get lots of spiritual happiness, I don't know whether I believe in God or not, but there is some power somewhere that is making all this happen.

Dev Anand's best quote
I don't miss my past because if you miss something it means you are static.


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