By Hindustan Times
NEW DELHI, Dec. 10 -- The 50s was the era of black and white classics, and the ruling stars included Dilip Kumar, the thespian, Raj Kapoor, the serio comedian and Dev Anand, the eternal romantic. Each had his own distinct style and fan following. I was an ardent admirer of Dev Anand from my teens.
I clearly remember watching and loving him in Funtoosh, Baarish, Kala Pani and Love Marriage. He had the best looks and smile of his era and his puff was legion. There was no better romantic actor than him.
With his unique style and fluidity, he matched every top female actor from Geeta Bali to Madhubala to Nutan to Waheeda Rehman. He had the rare ability to lip songs effectively for any singer be it Mohd. Rafi, Talat Mehmood, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar or even Manna De.
According to me, the abundance and versatility he displayed whilst lipping the number, Dene Wala Jab Bhi Deta, in Funtoosh remains a lesson in acting. When I joined films in 1967, I was highly inspired by his acting style. He was amongst the first to view Aradhana and compliment me genuinely.
As I rose in stature as an actor in the early 70s, I received healthy and clean competition from Anand, who was still going strong with a super hit like Johny Mera Naam. It really amuses me when some people say we shared bad vibes. How can anyone have any grudges against a genuine human being like him? I really admired his total dedication to his work and ever youthful attitude towards life. I never saw him interfering unnecessarily in other's matters. He was a thorough professional. As I bid him a tearfull farewell, I sincerely pray that his soul rest in eternal peace. He will always remain alive in my heart. Dev Anand was my inspiration, my idol.