‘Everyone from Zeenat Aman to Rajinikanth will feature in a special series on Dev Anand’s 100th birth anniversary’, reveals nephew Ketan Anand | Hindi Movie News
Written by on May 30, 2023
You recently attended the Chandigarh Film and Music Festival. What compelled you to participate in the festival?
This is a young festival. It’s in its third edition. It is for the youngsters at Chandigarh University. So, that’s what interested me because I always like interacting with the younger generation. I’m happy to come and meet people because I find all over India there are other states than Maharashtra that are jumping into the market or cinema.
I am happy when youngsters particularly want to expand and get into Indian cinema but also the global market which is where it’s all headed. Cinema is an international language. Just go make your film and show it to the world. You can dub it in any language you want.
You have decided to make a six-episode series dedicated to your uncle Dev Anand. Where did the idea for this series come from?
No Anand has ever attended one of those celebratory functions except for once when Ali Peter John got hold of me and dragged me as a guest for Dev Anand’s 98th birth anniversary, two years ago. There I was blown away because there was a club created by people who were professionals. They were lawyers, bankers, artists, dentists, teachers, and amateur singers who got up on stage and performed. It blew my mind that my uncle had left such a deep mark on so many people. Ali and I had decided that we must do something for the hundredth anniversary which will fall this year in September.
What exactly are you going to showcase in these six episodes?
It will be conversations with various cross-sections of people about six decades of Dev Anand. We will recreate each decade virtually. We will have new people playing songs along with Dev Anand’s songs because without songs you cannot have Dev Anand.
I will speak to the whole of India as far as the film industry is concerned. Mine is an emotional tribute and my family is behind me. Shekhar (Kapur) has come on board. My friend Kabir Bedi and my nephew Purab Kohli have come on board. I will get all people who have worked with Dev saab to come and give a byte or attend one of the sessions. So that we have a cross-section of the whole industry and the theme will run ‘Zamaana badalta gaya lekin Dev Anand chalta gaya. Zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya.’
He maintained his romantic image throughout those six decades. He never picked up a hammer and bashed somebody’s head. He ended up writing his autobiography and titled it Romancing With Life. So, I would say romancing with Dev Anand, for six decades. He never followed anybody’s fashion. He created his own fashion and changed it over the years but never changed his romantic image. He refused Zanjeer. Prakash Mehra was after him to do the film. He said, “Prakash, your story is good. But this is not my image. Dev Anand doesn’t take revenge.”
Will Dev Anand’s son, Sunil Anand be part of this project?
Yes. I will get him to do the last episode where he talks about his father during the years when he was writing his autobiography.
How do you intend to take Dev Anand’s legacy ahead?
We are taking his legacy forward. After these six episodes, I will announce Haqeeqat 2. Then I will make a personal film called The Magic Mantra in which my hero is only 9 years old. I am now projecting myself in my uncle’s shoes. I say I too am a Prem Pujari. That is my religion. Which religion in the world doesn’t have its roots in love? All this political façade is nonsense. People must get back to their roots of love, affection and understanding, which we’re losing and this electronic media is not helping.
Aren’t modern films showing what the audience wants to see? Isn’t cinema a reflection of society?
Yes. But you have to also remember when something goes superficial, somebody has to come and whack them on the head so that they wake up to their own realities again. You’re born out of a certain organic thing; you can’t become a mechanical robot. You can’t be picking up hammers and bashing people. They do that in the South as well. But their stories have emotions that the people in the Mumbai film industry are losing.
My uncle Goldie saab (Vijay Anand) got me involved in meditation. I have done Vipassana. I spent four years with Goldie saab at the Rajnish Ashram. My mother was a very evolved lady. She was educated and a large-hearted lady. She was a prolific writer, a news reader and an announcer. She was my first Guru. I studied cinema with my father and I studied the craft of filmmaking from Vijay Anand.
Do you feel cinema has been politicized today?
Cinema is an international and growing language because it incorporates arts, crafts and sciences. It’s a very exciting thing because when something is growing, it is always in a state of learning. Dev saab said, “I’m always in a state of learning.” One must not lose that childlike wonder in themselves. Dev saab was always like a child and that’s what I loved about him. He never kept looking at the past.
If cinema has got politicized that doesn’t mean it will remain stuck that way. We will shake things up. My father also made Haqeeqat which showed soldiers in defeat, the ugly side of war. When I make Haqeeqat 2, I will give the same feeling that war is ugly because at the end of the day, there are only dead people. You have to look at life from the other point of view also. But one should not let go of his soul.
Are you planning something on Vijay Anand and Chetan Anand as well?
We’re planning a book about conversations about my dad (Chetan Anand) between me and Sohaila Kapur. We want to make something about the combination of the three brothers and what they meant to the film industry. There was a decade separating them age-wise. Their thinking was different but they were always together and all three of them became famous.
Do you feel, your own journey has been a difficult one too?
Yes. I am blessed to be born in this family. But with great blessing comes a shadow as well and we went through that. That is part of life and that’s how you discover your soul. Do you know what Buddha said? He said, “You cannot find love unless you’ve understood the roots of sorrow.” That is what I want to point out also in this theme of Dev Anand that he never let go of his romantic spirit. I should stubbornly say that I will only talk about love. I am a Prem Pujari.
Zeenat Aman revealed a lot about Dev Anand in a series of social media posts recently. Will she also be part of your series?
I will announce everything in a press conference before we start shooting. I will get Babusha (Zeenat Aman). We did Hare Rama Hare Krishna together and we’re on good terms. I will reach out to everyone including Rajinikanth. He was a fan of Dev uncle and vice versa. They got along like a house on fire. Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Govinda, Mithun Chakraborty, Jackie Shroff have worked with Dev saab. I want directors, writers, singers, music directors, and even his fans to talk about him. He touched so many lives.