In Praise of Dev Anand, India’s Gregory Peck. R.I.P!

Earlier this week, Dev Anand, a well known veteran Bollywood actor passed away. He was over 88 years old and he died because of cardiac complications. I was one of his biggest fans, something I share with my father who could at one point name every movie, recite every dialogue and talk about Dev Anand’s movies forever. He saw so many of his movies that I fell in love with them.

As a young writer in India, when being part of Newsmen Features, I got a chance to meet Mr. Anand. It was a wonderful conversation and he treated me – somewhat of a rookie writer – with a lot of respect and kindness. In my one and only interaction, he proved to be a gentleman and a star. I came back to Delhi and wrote about him in a column, that was widely circulated. That was almost two decades ago. At the time, Mr. Anand was a spritely 70.

Last night I emailed my mentor Mukesh Khosla who runs Newsmen Features, a New Delhi-based news agency and editorial service. We went down the memory lane. He dug up my article from his archives and sent it along. I share with you the article (written with many Indian colloquialisms and spellings intact), more as a celebration of Mr. Anand’s life and not as his obituary. For me, he will always be forever young.

Despite 70‑odd summers, Dev Anand is still the everyman’s hero. A man’s man and a woman’s dream. Almost half a century after his entry into films, video cassettes of his old hits are still being snapped up by teenagers who have never seen a better romantic hero than him. In fact at 70, Dev Anand looks as if he could play a couple of sets of tennis, pack a pint, look at the time and say, ” How about a three‑kilometer jog……?”

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