This post is dedicated to the man who taught us to love life and inspired millions of people with his passion towards cinema. We at MAM, salute the undying spirit of Dev Saab.
Na Dukh Hai Na Sukh Hai
Na Din Na Duniya
Na Insaan Na Bhagwan
ROMANCING WITH LIFE
This is an autobiography written by the debonair and evergreen Dev Anand. One of the prime reasons I am discussing this book here is that as per my knowledge this is the first time that a Bollywood lead hero has written his own autobiography.
The first time I was introduced to Dev Anand on screen to be precise was on Black & White T.V. and VCR with Hare Rama Hare Krishna, in the early 90’s which was apparently his last commercial hit film? Anyway coming back to the book, it begins with a chapter informing us how Dev Anand ‘s real name is Dharam Dev, and not DevDutt as mentioned in media and websites, how his father used to call him Dev-‘’aan’’ etc.
The book does not divulge much about Dev’s childhood; it just gives us a few glimpses of his childhood. Oh! Yes he mentions Usha, the girl he had a crush on during his college days. The next few chapters describe how he came to Bombay with only thirty rupees in pocket and worked with Military Censor office, and impersonating Hollywood Stars to impress his female colleagues etc.
Dev describes in detail how he lost his virginity, and for some time I thought I was reading a Khuswant Singh book. Dev also discusses his love affair with Suraiya ,who was nicknamed her in reciprocation she used to call him Steve. Although Dev discusses his affair, he does not elaborate it after a point. we are also enlightened about how he fell in love with Mona(Kalpana Karthik) and secretly married her during the shooting of Taxi Driver. But after this chapter Dev does not write about his relationship with her after marriage except for two or three incidents revolving her. Dev also describes how he met Zeenat Amaan at a party and was smitten by her charm and beauty. He was really heart broken when she signed Raj Kapoor’s movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram.
Dev also writes about the political state of affairs of our Nation, and how it affected him. He celebrated independence over a mug of beer. Ample description had been given for the difficulties he faced with Congress Government, refusing to toe the government line. A chapter has been dedicated which he mentions his failure to launch a political party and his meeting with V.K.Krishna Menon after his fall from grace.
Dev describe this in such words in the book “Fame, power and money are the three factors that make you great in the eyes of world. The moment these desert you, you are like a particle of dust under one’s feet.’’
His disillusionment with the current political situation in India,lead him to make Mr.Prime Minister(The Film). The book also in brief mentions his relationship with brother Chetan, who was his icon and how later on creative differences cropped up between them. It is palpable from the book, that he was also close to Goldie and his death in a way affected him a lot.
My grumble with the book is that most of the time it mentions films that are produced by Navketan Banner or those that Dev directed or produced. It would have been great if he also had written about movies like Johnny Mera Naam,Joshilay etc.
The Navketan and Dev Anand’s films have been tantamount with great music, though he does fleetingly mention S.D.Burman,R.D.Burman and Kishore Kumar, I would love to read more about them. Even Guru Dutt, is mentioned in general and not more than 20 lines are devoted to him.
Yes, the book gets repetitive after sometime, with Dev visiting places and finding starlets for his next movie. It is written keeping in mind the romantic figure of Dev Anand and by the of it At we come to know how Dev is still a star and rules hearts of young girls even today. I guess for a film star to be fixated with one’s own image is okay, but it becomes plain as the nose on your face when you read stuff like how Dev tries to maintain his image, and mentions that he went to London for simple surgery, so that fans could not know that their icon was in poor health. Some of the pages found me laughing though I guess that was unintentional from Dev’s part like when he says Censor was a film which the masses could not appreciate. (Censor was the film, in which Govinda performs Bollywood Jhatka during Oscar Cermony.) He also mentions that Awwal Number was ahead of time, and the concept was much appreciated in the Oscar winning Lagaan.
If you believe what is written in book, then you will think Dev had a great life with no difficulties, but alas that may not be the case .But then it is the spirit of Dev Anand, which even makes debacles in his life look like foundation for success.
‘’Main Zindagi ka Saath Nibhata chala gaya,Har fiqr ko dhuye mein udata chala Gaya’’ comes to my mind as Dev Anand ends the book by telling us ‘’This is a beautiful world’’.
P.S-This is an re-edited post, which I had written in PFC on books about Indian Cinema.