In all honesty, I cannot claim to be a big fan of Dev Anand. The man kept making movies well past his sell-by date, and barring a few, I cannot bring myself to sit through his films. Having said that, I have nothing but admiration for a man who refuses to retire. It takes a special kind of obstinacy to be able to do that. And what really brought it home was this tribute by his nephew Shekhar Kapur.
Kapur narrates an indicent following the release of his film debut, a film named Ishq Ishq Ishq that his uncle Dev had produced and directed. He speaks of how, just after the release, the man was taking calls from well-wishers and distributors. Over the course of the evening, it became clear that the film was a disaster at the box office.
Then the calls stopped. No one called and the loneliness of failure hung in the room. Dev Anand has just lost everything. All his money and everything he sold to make his most ambitious project ever. There are few more intimate moments you could share with a courageous man than his coming to terms with complete defeat. He was sad. Reflective.
For all of five minutes. He then looked at me and smiled.
” I just be back ‘Shekharonios’ (thats what he called me) and went into the bedroom of the suite. I should have felt sorry for my first foray out as a (minor) actor flopping, but was too caught up in the incredible drama unfolding in front of me.
Ten minutes Dev Anand emerged. His his eyes were vibrant. His face excited. He was unable to sit down for his excitement. Looked me in the eyes.
” Shekharonios, I just thought of a great plot for my next film !!”
He picked up his register. Took out a pen and started to write. How does a man who just lost of everything come to terms with it so easily? I was left gaping. But knew it was time for me to leave him alone. To write and plan his next film. He never talked about Ishq Ishq again.
Thats the Dev Uncle I knew.
But the Dev Uncle I did not know. The Dev Sahib, the Dev Anand that the world did not know, was the man coming to terms with himself in 10 minutes in that room.
If there is a more moving tribute to Dev Anand than that last sentence, I have not read it.