When I meet the only evergreen hero of the Indian Film Fraternity, Dev Anand, in his Khar office, I felt that he had just walked the ramp for a Manish Malhotra show. Dressed in a crisp pink shirt with his orange jacket and a matching scarf, India's first fashion icon made me rethink of how I looked in front of him - a mere puppet. He comes across imposingly short in stature but tall in substance, sporty-lean and could probably knock both ten years off his 87 he has clocked up and anyone who messes with him when it comes to films.
And all this is the result of a strict diet and his persistent passion for making cinema since the 1950s. "The real films were made in the 1950s with immense story telling technique which lacks today. I have grown up watching those Hollywood films. We have a lot to achieve", quotes Dev saab. He still likes to let his views be known.
These days, Dev saab really likes to look back on his old films, one of them, Hum Dono is going to re-release in colour after five decades...and why not? Isn't that story telling at its best? It was a box office hit in 1961 and its director Amarjeet was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 1962 Berlin International Film Festival. Add to it Dev saab's Best Actor nomination at the Filmfare Awards in 1961.
In my lifetime, or in anyone's for that matter, it's an honour to sit next to the legend himself and chat about films and the wealth of knowledge he has about the world and its people. All this and he still craves to learn more from the younger generation. It's like visiting a temple and having this feeling that God is talking with you and you just want to keep listening to him. I sit next to him at an arm's length and keep looking in his eyes and recall the first time I saw him on the big screen in Guide and start to think - Dev saab the actor is unquestionably recognizable. But today, let's pray that he gets the recognition once again. It's Dev meets Dev, it's Hum Dono time!
"The people who saw Hum Dono with me in New Delhi were surprised with the colour version"
I never asked for Hum Dono to be in colour. The people in charge came to me with the idea, I looked at it after they were over with their technicalities and believe me, I was impressed and very happy with the final outcome. The people who saw the movie with me in New Delhi came out with a mind blowing reaction. So I accepted to release it. It'll be Dev Anand fifty years ago and I hope audiences love him once again.
"The world will judge Dev Anand in 2011"
Charge Sheet is very contemporary. It's a murder story with duration of two hours. I think it should do very well because I've made it with tremendous gusto and with a complete consciousness that the world is going to judge Dev Anand in 2011.
"My energy comes from my fans"
My energy doesn't come from Red Bull. It comes from people like you, my fans, my own creativity, and my own feelings. I want to share something to the world which nobody else has. All my thinking is original. I have tremendous energy when I am at work. Charge Sheet is the best example. I am geared up, excited and raring to go. I will be sitting on top of the mountain and wait for what the world has to say about Dev Anand after Hum Dono releases.
"I am Mahesh of Hum Dono because he is a very positive character"
The one with the moustache was Major Verma. He was hailed. I did the double role with an army personality. The character became uproar. Wherever I went and whenever I met the Indian Army, my role of Major Verma was appreciated. But then the other guy in the film, Mahesh, my double role, has derived the philosophy of life from 'Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya, Har Fikr Ko Dhue Mein Udata Chala Gaya'. He is very positive and I am that Mahesh. Dev Anand, the human being, is that man. That's why the world should see this picture.
"Old is not gold. It means maturity and experience"
I don't think old is gold. I also think that old is maturity, old is experience. In motion picture making and writing and directing, you need more experience, more maturity and intellect which grows better and better with each passing film.
"You cannot follow a fashion designer but you can follow your own personality"
I am made this way. I have always had the passion for clothes and what I wear should be perfect. If I like something, I do it. That's how everybody should, and the world should function. Dev Anand likes fashion. I look myself in the mirror everyday and say, "I look good" and don't care what everyone has to say about me as long as I like it. That's what fashion is all about. Fashion is what suits a man, his body, his physique, his appearance. You cannot follow a fashion designer but you can follow your own personality.
"1950's Hollywood was the greatest possible Hollywood ever in terms of stories"
I have grown with seeing the Hollywood of 1950's and that was the greatest possible Hollywood ever in terms of stories. And then I got inspiration from within me, from what the world saw of me. I started growing from that period on and am still growing. Originality has somehow disappeared from our industry. All the films you saw of Dev Anand aren't imitated from some Hollywood films. They were totally original. It's your originality which the world stands up to and that's why they applaud your film.
"What the Sippy's did with my song, I'll never do if I was one of them"
I do not want to go into the controversy of Rohan Sippy's Dum Maaro Dum and give them publicity. But if I was him, I wouldn't do what he has done to my song.
"To give an advice to people who know so much today is stupid"I cannot advice anybody because the whole world today is very clever. I follow them sometimes and hear what they have to say. Twenty five years ago, the world wasn't this clever what it is today. When I read the newspapers everyday and see what the world has to say, I open up. So to give an advice to people who know so much can be termed stupid.
It's because of Hum Dono that the Guide era started"
Hum Dono is a good picture. Hum Dono shall always be a good picture. Hum Dono is now, Hum Dono is not yesterday. Hum Dono is romance, Hum Dono is separation, Hum Dono is emotion, Hum Dono is war and yet Hum Dono is love story. Hum Dono gave me what I think about life, and what everybody should think about life. The film led on to Guide and that's how the Guide era started. You might think that I am blowing my own trumpet but that's not the case. That's how I am. That is the true and the original Dev Anand.