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Dev Anand: The eternal Bollywood classic

Dev Anand is an ageless optimist. He is like an eternal Bollywood classic: entertaining, charming, fast-moving, thought-provoking, a blend of poetry and music... But the evergreen romantic, at times clownish, was largely a study in suavity and grace which showed through his distinctive mannerisms.

Meeting him is an unforgettable experience... it is also one for which you are wholly unprepared. The 85-year-old dynamo exudes unbridled energy -- he speaks as much with a nodding head as with his hands; his gestures and movements are bird-like: quick and short; his speech is a staccato burst of lucid diction and sharp thought; his eyes are clouded with memories, yet twinkle with anticipation; his cheeks are sunken, but his charm is astounding; the hands are wrinkled, yet they don't shake; the voice is low, but belongs to one who is in full control of his faculties; and the wit is quick and belies age.

He retains his loose-jointed and lopsided gait, his windmill-like limbs, the peculiar way he nods his head while speaking and his eternal boyish charm. He seems as much at home at this party in New York, hosted by Meera and Vikram Gandhi, for the launch of his autobiography, Romancing With Life, as he does in front of or behind the camera. It is with the same easy grace that he speaks to Managing Editor Shishir Bhate at the event. Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

Read on for a scintillating interview with the evergreen young man of Indian cinema:

Photograph: Meera Gandhi, Dev Anand, Vikram Gandhi and India's Consul General in New York Neelam Deo celebrated Dev Anand's 85th birthday.

Also read: Dev Anand's romance with life

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