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Home > Movies > Memories

'He was my idol then. He is now, too'

Lata Khubchandani | September 24, 2003 17:14 IST

Dev Anand

G Venkat Rao Naidu has been Dev Anand's associate for 50 long years.

As the actor-filmmaker turns 80 on September 26, Naidu pays tribute to his idol:

In 1953-54, I had gone to PrabhatTheatre, Hyderabad, to see Baiju Bawra. It was an air-conditioned theatre.

GVR Naidu and Dev AnandI saw a poster of Dev Anand in Armaan there. He was dressed in a kurta. I was fascinated. I didn't know who he was. The text was Hindi; Ididn'tknow the language then.

That was my first encounter with him.

Soon, I ran away from home. I wanted to be like Dev Anand.

I came to Mumbai. I lived in Andheri [a northwestern suburb] and used to haunt the IrisPark area [between Andheri and Juhu] where he lived. It was open land, there were no houses, no buildings. Therewas just abig mountain, which was often used to shoot climax sequences for films.

I used to stand and stare at Devsaab's car as he passed by. I would be dressed in greentrousers.

Devsaab used to see me standing there every day and each time he looked at me, I would hide. I was so frightened. I was a nobody.

We came across each other at Navbharat Studio [now Filmalaya]. As soon as he saw me, he said, "You arealways chasing me. What the hell do you want?"

Isaid, "I want to be like you."

He said, "Go back home. Work hard. Graduate and then come back."

I replied, " I can't go back home, I have run away."

Then Devsaab's Manzil started (1955). Surendra Mohan, the chief assistant then, needed an assistant. I offered my services. Both of us were staying at the same guesthouse.

He took me on the sets of Manzil, whereI met Devsaab. He watched me work for a few days, and said, "I know you."

I mumbled something because I felt very self-conscious.

I realised heappreciates people who work hard. He works hard and likes people who are not shirkers.

Then, Devsaab's assistant called me onthe sets of Guide. I went to meet Devsaab who was sitting with writer PearlS Buck.

We struck arelationship and it grew. I went on to work in Teen Deviyaan, Des Pardes and his subsequent films. He encouraged me so much.

I remember the magazine [Filmfare] which carried the story about his marriage. He had a court marriage. There was this picture of his wife [Kalpana Kartik] sitting ona chair. He wasstanding behind her. The captionjust said, 'Dev Anand is married.'

That is how we heard of it too. No fuss.

As a person, he is so wonderful. He takes care of his staff. He is so encouraging, you won't hear a 'no' from him. Ever.

His passion is films, films, films. He spends the day working. He doesn't allow himself free time.

He always says he misses singing and dancing. He is a good singer. He often sings when he drives. He loves singing old songs. He also sits with his composers, lyricists and, more often than not, the lyrics are also his own. He hands them over to the lyricists to set in the metre.

He is a man of advanced thinking. He has his own style, his own thinking. He does not care whether a film is a hit or a flop. Hejust does his work.

If he wanted to, he could have made millions. But he preferred to do his ownthing. And he is a quick thinker.

He is so charming that women fall for him. Men too love him -- heis a beautifulperson. His behaviour, his decency attracts both the sexes to him.

He is a simpleton at heart with simple needs. If he is working, all he needs to eat are chana or muli [radish]. He is easy to please. I remember when we were shooting in Rajasthan for Main Solah Baras Ki, the food we had arranged did not come in. He asked someone to get food from the nearby village. We got bajra roti, ghee and gur [jaggery]. [Hero] Jas Aroraand the other actors said, "We can't eat this."

Devsaab started eating it with great relish. No fuss, no complaints from him.

I have worked with him as chief assistant director, executive producer. I am the spot boy of the company as well as the owner. He has given me so much freedom and sense of belonging.

He wants to keep working. If you are ill, he will say, "C'mon yaar. Whatis this? Get up!"

Dev Anand and GVR NaiduI suffered a heart attack when we were mixing for a film. He told me to rest. I said I would be back on the sets the next day. That is the kind of inspiration he is.

I believe if Devsaab walked through a cemetery all the dead bodies would get up. He has so much spirit, so much energy. He just calls people and they come to him. He has that magnetism.

If he had his way, he would make peoplegive up wearing dhoti-kurtas and make them wear jeans.He always says, 'How can you work in a dhoti?' I keep telling him he would make even a pundit wear jeans.

He is in the US now planning to make a crossover film. I don't like it here without him.

He was my idol then. He is now, too.

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Number of User Comments: 6

Sub: Birthday wishes to the Legend... Mr. Dev Anand

Hello, Althogh I am sharing my wishes to the legend Mr. Dev Anand My sole wish that he is communicated these wishes. Dear Devsab, I ...

Posted by Anil Tambe

Sub: Wishing Dev Anand Happy Birthday!

A very Happy Birthday to Dev Saab. Despite the sub-standard fare he's been chruning out in the last 20 years no one can take away ...

Posted by Ritu

Sub: Dev Anand is 80

There is no gainsaying the fact that Dev Saab is a legend. Even at 80 he thinks like a twenty. His dressing,flamboyance,style set him apart. ...

Posted by T S Rama Krishna Rao

Sub: He was my idol then. He is now, too.

He was my idol then. He is now, too. God save you!

Posted by Jai

Sub: Dev

Dev is Dev .. one of the Legends of Indian Cinema .. the only actor who could compete with actors like Rajkapoor and Dileepkumar and ...

Posted by bharadwaj



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