At eighty seven, he has a voice that exudes youthfulness and a deep hunger to go on working. It is not for nothing that Bollywood legend Dev Anand is called ‘evergreen’- he keeps his fans curious with movies that he churns out with new faces. While the films may be bombing at the Box Office, it has failed to dampen his enthusiasm for life and the arts.
In an exclusive interview with Smita Mishra of Spicezee.com, Dev saab shares his secrets and his plans for his birthday. Excerpts:
You are planning a remake of ‘Hare Ram, Hare Krishna’ after so many years. Any particular reason…?
I decided to make ‘Hare Ram…’ because it has a theme which has significance even today. It had captured the spirit of the post war years when disillusioned youth turned into hippies and took drugs to escape their frustration. Drugs are a reality even today. They continue to ruin the lives of youngsters, hence I planned a remake of the film.
However, I am currently completely occupied with my upcoming flick ‘Chargesheet’ and I am unable to think of anything else. It is going to be a path breaking film, a milestone in the history of filmmaking.
But you were very upset when there was news of a remake of ‘Guide’…
‘Guide’ cannot be remade again. It is a unique piece of art, a movie par excellence. Navketan has churned out 37 films and all have been special in their own way. But even I cannot remake the same ‘Guide’ now. I recently saw its screening and was mesmerized thinking what an excellent film I have made!
So you consider ‘Guide’ to be the pinnacle of your career?
Indeed. And ‘Chargesheet’ is going to be another one.
Are you also a part of the star cast of ‘Hare Ram, Hare Krishna’?
The star cast is not yet decided. See, I cannot play the lead role in my movies, considering my age now. But I am very much a part of every film that I make.
I wish I could include some original star cast in the remake, but it is not possible now as so many years have passed after the original one was made, and most people have aged now.
One girl from ‘Chargesheet’, a new face that you will soon see, is a commendable performer and I would really like to repeat her in ‘Hare Ram…’. She is a wonderful actor and is going to be a superstar in the days to come.
Will it be a sequel or a remake? What should fans expect?
You can call it the second version of the original movie. There was a huge demand for it when I had last gone to Nepal and I had planned ‘Beauty Queen’. But at that time the political situation in the Himalayan state was quite unstable, and I decided to shelve the idea for a while.
Tell us something about ‘Chargesheet’…
If Navketan is coming up with a movie to mark the beginning of its 6th decade, it must have something special about it!
‘Chargesheet’ is a contemporary movie with a contemporary theme. It is a thriller, a murder mystery. It has some very good songs. Three of them have been recorded in London. And the best thing is the songs do not interfere with the story line.
Seasoned actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Divya Dutta and Yashpal Sharma are part of the movie. Besides, there are some new faces that you will be delighted to see. In December, most probably we will release the film. But before that we intend to work categorically on its proper promotion.
Among your female co-workers, who is your favorite till date?
All of them have been very special. I can not name one or the others will feel ignored…(laughs). Some of the brightest stars in the industry were introduced by me, like Tina Munim, Zeenat Aman. I love them all, they have all been wonderful.
What is the secret of your perennial youth? You are still the evergreen Dev saab...
Josh (Excitement/Vigor)…you may call it the Zephyr of my life that keeps me going even at this age.
Josh is good but people wonder from where do you get the finances for your projects?
I have been making films from the past 60 years. I have earned a lot of credibility. Besides, I own Navketan, one of the oldest and best production houses in the country. Apart from that, I myself look after my projects and deal with even the minor nitty-gritty of them all. This saves a lot of expenditure. Besides, my movies may not be a hit every time, but they do pay for the expenditure involved in making them.
Your movies- ‘Censor’, ‘Love at Times Square’ - fell flat at the box office. How do you react to these failures?
Who says my movies were not successful? I have made them all with a lot of love and perfection. All of them are exceptional in their own way. As far as their performance at the Box Office is concerned, they did not top the charts because we lacked in publicity. I want to do away with this weakness in promoting ‘Chargesheet’.
And it’s your birthday…what are the plans?
I never celebrate my birthday. However, on this day I meet my fans and never stop them when they come to my office to wish me.