'He was one of his kind.'
'He walked at the speed of a run.'
'He wore full-sleeve shirts no matter what or when.'
'He always drove himself.'
Dev Anand would have turned 100 today, September 26, 2023.
We continue our special series on Devsaab with this conversation with Raakhee, who worked with him in five films.
"Some relationships are non-negotiable. My association with Devsaab was one such rarity in this industry," Raakhee tells Subhash K Jha.
While every heroine that he worked with agrees on Dev Anand's quantum of debonair-ness, there is some dispute over his eating habits.
The reclusive Raakhee gives us her version: "Dev was the only hero who never ate my food. I never saw him eat proper food. It was always fruits etc."
She recalls their association through the decades: "The first film he offered me was Heera Panna, where I played an air hostess, who gets killed in a plane crash in the second reel. I told Dev I had nothing to do except sing a beautiful song (Bahot Dur Mujhe Chale Jaana Hai). He assured me, 'Raakhee, you will leave a lasting impact'. He was right. I always trusted him."
Raakhee says there was no question of refusing his offers: "Devsaab, didn't have to ask me to be in any of his films. He just had to tell me. From Banarsi Babu to Anand Aur Anand, his charm saw me through all his films.
"My roles in his films got briefer and briefer, but I didn't mind at all. I told him, 'Even if you ask me to do one shot where I open the door and someone shoots me down, I'll do it.' Some relationships are non-negotiable. My association with Devsaab was one such rarity in this industry."
Raakhee admits Dev Anand was incomparable: "He was one of his kind. He walked at the speed of a run. He wore full-sleeve shirts no matter what or when. He always drove himself."
"I sent him balloons every birthday. I've never seen a more non-controversial person. I've never heard anyone speaking against him. I remember once he was directing Rishi Kapoor when I went on his set. Rishi was meekly taking instructions from Devsaab. Everyone loved him.
"Devsaab knew he was going to die. That's why he went away in his last days."