When Dev Anand almost declared his love for Zeenat Aman

By Hindustan Times

Basking in the glow of the success of Hare Rama Hare Krishna in 1971, Dev Anand, the ever-romantic hero, soon realised that he was in love with the film's leading lady and his discovery Zeenat Aman.

Describing his feelings for Zeenat, Dev Anand wrote in his autobiography, Romancing With Life that he enjoyed it when newspapers and magazines started linking them together romantically after the film's success.

He almost declared his love to her, but quietly withdrew when he saw her getting close to Raj Kapoor, who wanted to cast her in his film Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

"Whenever and wherever she was talked about glowingly, I loved it; and whenever and wherever I was discussed in the same vein she was jubilant. In the subconscious, we had become emotionally attached to each other," Dev Anand wrote in his 2007 book.

Some years later, Dev Anand admitted he felt jealous when Raj Kapoor kissed Zeenat in full view of the invited audience at the premiere of his next film Ishq Ishq Ishq.

He soon realised that he was in love with her and wanted to declare it to her at a romantic meeting at the Taj in Mumbai.

He wrote: "Suddenly, one day I felt I was desperately in love with Zeenat – and wanted to say so to her! To make an honest confession, at a very special, exclusive place meant for romance. I chose the Rendezvous at the Taj, on top of the city, where we had dined together once earlier."

Dev Anand wrote that he called up Zeenat and arranged to go to the meeting place after a brief presence at a party, where "a drunken Raj Kapoor .. threw his arms around her exuberantly. This suddenly struck me as a little too familiar. And the way she reciprocated his embrace seemed much more than just polite and courteous."

Suspecting something, Dev Anand recalled that a rumour had been floating that Zeenat had gone to Raj Kapoor's studio for a screen test for the main role in his new movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

"The hearsay now started ringing true. My heart was bleeding," he wrote.

The situation changed further for Dev Anand when Raj Kapoor, "in drunken joviality", told Zeenat: "You are breaking your promise that you will always be seen by me only in a white sari."

A dejected Dev Anand wrote: "More embarrassment was written large on her face, and Zeenat was not the same Zeenat for me any more. My heart broke into pieces... The rendezvous had already lost all meaning in my mind. I sneaked out of the place."

He added: "The evening delivered a blow to my personality, and my dominating spirit. I had decided on the spur of the moment to tell Zeenat for the first time how much I loved her. And that there was an idea in my mind of another story that would put her on a pedestal as never before, the highest so far. But that was never to be."

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