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'I can't be bored, boredom is death'

Kshama Rao | January 18, 2003 18:33 IST

When Dev Anand invites you to a press conference saying, "It's your party," you show up. Dev Anand

The inimitable actor is at it again, making movies.

His latest film Love At Times Square releases on Valentine's Day, February 14. Raising a toast to the man's indefatigable spirit were journalists in full force, especially those who tracked his chequered career as cub reporters.

His movies may no longer have the poignancy of Guide or the charm of Hare Rama Hare Krishna, but you have to hand it to the man, for his Abhi to main jawaan hoon spirit, says Kshama Rao.

Tell us about Love At Times Square.

It's a love story set in America. The story is about India, Indian people. The love story starts with two boys and one girl meeting on New Year's Eve at Times Square at the turn of the century. A year later, the trio meet up and, this time, the girl has to decide who her man will be.

What made you choose Times Square?

The charm of the place. It's so beautiful. You must see it on New Year's Eve when it's all lit up and people from all countries gather. Nobody has ever captured that Times Square spirit. All I have done is get it on celluloid as pure cinematic bliss.

What keeps you going?

My work. It intoxicates me. I get so immersed in my work it is all that pushes me, keeps me going. When you love your work, everything just falls into place.

But people no longer seem to appreciate your work. Your films are viewed as one man's indulgence.

(smiles) Everybody is entitled to an opinion. If people think that way, so be it. I will continue to make films as long as my mind allows me to.

Doesn't box-office success or critical acclaim matter any longer?

No. It doesn't. I did go through that phase when I used to get upset about the press writing things about me. Main sochta tha usne aisa kyon likha hoga [I used to wonder why they wrote it]. Magar ab [But now] it doesn't matter any more.

Anyway, when you talk about box-office success, out of 200 films don't only two and three films succeed? As for critics, their judgment is not the ultimate for me. It can be right or wrong. Who judges their judgment?

A Lagaan succeeds because people have accepted it. A good film has nothing to do with box-office collections or critical acclaim.

When I make a film, I want that point of view to be seen by the world. Whether they appreciate it or not is secondary.

You have to please yourself first.You have to be 100 per cent satisfied and convinced about what you are doing. The world comes later. 

Why not cast established names than newcomers?

I wouldn't mind, but would I be assured of completing my film say in six months? Besides, when you cast known names, you end up compromising on the script, worried about how much footage each one would take. Stars need not dictate a good script.

After all these years, does the magic of cinema still hold?

Absolutely, else I wouldn't make it. When I am making a film, I am completely in control of the medium. Form conception to execution, from songs to dialogues, from script to the way my actors are projected on screen, I am there all the time. I feel good about each and every aspect of my films.

What else are you passionate about?

Just cinema because this is one medium which has everything -- novel, prose, poetry. You meet different, good-looking, interesting people. Filmmaking and films have everything.

Do you sometimes regret that your son Suneil's career didn't really take off?

Being his father I do, but then this is life. He has struggled; he is still struggling. Maybe he will succeed some day; maybe he won't. He has to prove his talent.

But he have to keep trying.  

What next?

Another film. I have two scripts in mind, but you never know. Tomorrow, something else may absorb my thoughts and I'd want to do that first.

What about a book, an autobiography?

(smiles) Some people here and abroad have expressed a wish to write about me. [Asian Age Editor-in-Chief] M J Akbar wants to write something on me, but nothing has materialised yet.

When I decide to write about myself, it will be spectacular in terms of content, production design, cover design, photographs, marketing -- it spans about 56 years of my professional life.

I want to give people something they have never read before. The pages would be like a screenplay, ek baar padhna shuru karo, to chodne ka dil na kare [Once you start reading, you won't put it down].

Never feel like putting your feet up?

No. There's so much to do. There's so much I can do. I travel, read, write, paint, make films. I can't be bored. Boredom is death.

India News Feature Service

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