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Dhimant Thakkar: When she used to act, her mother and grandmother woke her up at 6.30 am, something she hated. When she stopped acting she slept as long as she pleased. She never woke up before noon. She also started eating rice after she stopped acting. Her grandmother would not allow her to eat rice when she acted, saying she would put on weight, even though she loved Biryani.

Amee Shah: Dev Anand and she loved each other, she used to say. But her grandmother was against the relationship. Her mother's mother was very dominating, but her parents were very gentle people. Her granny thought if Suraiya married Dev Anand then there would be communal riots.

Dhimant Thakkar: On Holi day in March 1963, her father Aziz expired. She never acted in movies after that.

On her bookshelf you will find many volumes of the Oxford Dictionary. When she had the time she used to look up words and their pronunciation. P G Wodehouse and other classics are also on the shelves. She wanted to learn and she learnt. People thought she was gullible and illiterate. She wasn't gullible and she educated herself. I was awestruck at her intelligence when we discussed anything.

A cherished photograph of Suraiya with Gregory Peck, who called on her at home, along with pictures of the legend with more contemporary personalities (including then Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh).

Words: A Ganesh Nadar
Photograph: Jewella C Miranda

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