At 83, Dev Anand is still romancing with life


By Probir Pramanik

Mumbai, (IANS) Indian cinema's enduring star continues to shine, with greasepaint or without, behind the camera or in front and now as author. At 83, the indomitable Dev Anand is yet again "Romancing With Life", an autobiography he promises will "feature little known secrets" through his six decades in showbiz.

Still retaining his romantic charm reminiscent of his heydays in the 1950s and 60s, attired in his trademark scarf over a bold blue jacket - and utterly in love with himself - Anand said: "My book, an autobiography in fact, is being released on my birthday on Sep 26, by no less than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi."

Incidentally, it's his birthday as well.

"He will celebrate me and I will celebrate him. The release will take place at 7 Race Course Road and Sonia Gandhi will be the chief guest," Anand told IANS at his Pali Hill residence in suburban Mumbai.

"It has a lot of reading material with selected pictures and a CD containing a selection of my favourite songs from my films down the years," the actor said about his forthcoming book, a hardcover with 495 pages being published by Penguin Books."Romance is taking life as it come, it is beautiful. But that does not mean you are sleeping with women all the time. A good book, a good poem, a beautiful girl, making a movie, that's romance for me," said the man who introduced women like Zeenat Aman and Tina Munim to Bollywood.

Elaborating on this sudden rush of life and the thrill of penning his autobiography, Anand said: "I had to put two of my movies on hold. I first started to write during a trip to the US three years back, but somehow I put it on hold and it was lying in a drawer till my publishers urged me to finish it."

"Yes, the book took my time. It's a true and honest effort. It will feature little known secrets of my life, even unknown to my family"

After Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Banglore, Anand will take the book to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, where he will also screen his 1970s hit "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" and thereafter to Stockholm, London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Canada.

"I have also been invited by the British parliament where they wish to honour me for my contribution to Indian cinema. Invitations are also there for me to visit Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China, which I intend to undertake later in the year," Anand said.

Asked where he gets all the energy from at his age, the actor said, "I never feel old as I have retained all the elements of youth. My work gives me all the energy and I am excited about all the things I do. I have gained a lot from life and have no regrets."

"I'm excited all the time about the things I do. So I feel young. Young people feel excited all the time," he said. "And what compensates me for my youth is my wisdom, my experience, whatever I have gained from life so far."

"Don't you forget the world when you are busy writing an article. Well I compensate my age with my wisdom and my experience and I can go on for a 100 years," the vegetarian and teetotaller actor signed off.