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'Devsaab's last words: I'm going to London but will return soon'

December 15, 2011 18:17 IST

The last picture of Dev Anand taken on first week of NovemberThree years after his parents died, Sam Dhaliwal left Delhi and settled down in Mumbai.

An ardent fan of Dev Anand, the 47-year-old walked into the legend's office and became close friends with his son Suneil. That gave him the chance to meet Dev Anand every day and be really close to him.

Here, Sam talks to Patcy N about their friendship, what it taught him, and the events of the day the legend passed on.

Devsaab was never sick, but in October, he went to Delhi for a shoot for NDTV and ate something on the flight back that gave him food poisoning. But he recovered fully from it.

I spoke to him on November 17. He was at the airport and said, 'I am going to London but I will return soon'. I was in touch with Suneil and he never said his father was ill.

The day Devsaab passed away, I had spoken to Suneil at 2:30 am Indian time. He was busy e-mailing and attending to business matters. I asked him where Devsaab was and he said, 'Dad is resting upstairs.'

Suneil did not call me immediately after Devsaab passed away. We spoke the next day and he told me how it happened. After we had finished talking, Suneil had gone upstairs and put some eye drops in his father's eyes. He then went downstairs again. When he came back, Devsaab had left us. Suneil rushed him to hospital.

Suneil was very disturbed. He told me, 'I have lost my best friend and life can never be the same.'

He was crying and very upset. It is very difficult to get a son like Suneil Anand who dedicated his life to Dev Anand. He had no personal life, he never married, he never had affairs and girlfriends.

He called me again to make arrangements for (sister) Devina's visa. Monaji (Kalpana Karthik, Devsaab's wife) had a visa. In the afternoon, I went to Monaji's house. Prem, Devsaab's driver, took me to her room. She told me, 'Dev was the most amazing person that I had in my life. He loved me the most, he gave me two beautiful kids, he gave me my best life. There is no need to mourn a man, who has given so much happiness to everybody in this world.'

She told me one more thing which was very touching: 'Dev will be waiting for me'.

I spoke to Suneil and then I went and spoke to the press and gave them the details.

Devsaab did not want people to see a dead Dev Anand, he did not want pomp and show for his funeral, that was his eternal wish. He was a very private person. He did not go to parties and he hated funerals and said he didn't want anyone to come to his.

Suneil will continue producing films. He may make Devsaab's last film Hare Rama Hare Krishna Aaj, which is already scripted.

Sam Dahliwal, Dev Anand and Suneil Anand


I met Dev Anand in 2007.

I just went into his office and started talking to Devsaab. We just clicked.

Suneil and I became best of friends; he treats me like a younger brother. We had a few things in common, like my parents were from Lahore and Dev Anand also hailed from Lahore.

That connection was a major reason we became so close. When I showed him a picture of my parents, he said they looked beautiful and elegant. Dev Anand went to Lahore with (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee. We spoke about our visits, about how much Lahore has changed since Partition.

We began meeting once a week, then twice a week and then every day. I work with the French consulate; my job is to verify documents for the consulate. It does not require me to be in the office all the time, so I could take out some time for Devsaab. Whenever Devsaab had to travel out of the country, I would help him out. 

Devsaab and I came closer when he was releasing Hum Dono Rangeen. Suneil and I were the only people that Devsaab trusted. We divided the work -- like promotions, interacting with media, getting the film prints etc. When Devsaab released Chargesheet, we helped him strike a deal with Warner Bros. Devsaab always wanted to be associated with Warner Bros, so he was very happy.

I was just speaking to Warner Bros, and in memory of Devsaab, we are going to fast-track the re-release of Guide. Devsaab wanted Guide to be digitalised and we are now working on the soundtrack. The film will be released in June.

Devsaab admitted he was a poor eater and thin and lean always and that's why he didn't like showing his body. 'I am not like the current generation with all the muscle. I always put on all the buttons of my shirt. I didn't have the stature, I didn't have the face,' he said.

He always wore a pullover to protect his chest, which was very weak. Devsaab had a huge collection of caps and scarves. His favourite perfume was 4711.

I would go to his house once a week and got to know Monaji, but we never spoke much.

Suneil is reserved, like his father. He doesn't party much and is very simple -- he doesn't mind travelling by local train and bus!

Devsaab loved reading books and he has a huge collection. One day, he saw me watching BBC news on my phone and was amazed that I could watch news on a phone. He immediately ordered a similar IPhone 4 with 3G connection.

Patcy N in Mumbai