With tears in eyes, fans bid adieu to Dev Saab


By Hindustan Times

You don't often hear Hindi movie songs being sung at funeral services but Dev Anand's fans would settle for nothing less.

Hundreds of admirers flooded a crematorium set in a beautiful corner of southwest London on Saturday to bid a tearful farewell to their favourite superstar.

Inside the chapel where the service was held, the heaving crowds joined in respectfully muted choruses of Dev Anand's evergreen hits, Abhi na jao chhor kar and Din dhal jaye. Hundreds more stood outside in the bitter cold, watching the service on a television screen.

It was a fitting farewell to the silver screen giant who died at the age of 88 in London after suffering a heart attack on December 3. True to his last wishes, the all-wood coffin did not show his face but fans inside the chapel weren't complaining: there was a giant poster of a smiling Dev.

The multi-faith service was led by his son, Suneil Anand. His daughter Devina was also present at the service.

Waqar Ahmed, UK representative of former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, recalled his meeting with Anand. In 1998, Dev Anand, who studied at Lahore College, accompanied Atal Bihari Vajpayee on a goodwill mission to Pakistan.

"He, undoubtedly, belonged to us all," Ahmed said.