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Saturday, October 6, 2007

I was madly in love with Zeenat : Dev Anand

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 the top of the city, where we had dined together once earlier.

No setting could be more appropriate, I thought, than a quiet candlelit table in the corner, the candle throwing its gleam on Zeenat’s face, just as the glow of her cigarette-lighter had lit up her face when I first met her.

The dimmed lights of the city below, shining out of the darkness, would certainly light up the romance of the moment.

I called her up to say, ‘Zeenie, I want to go out on a date with you tonight.’ ‘But aren’t we already going together to a party tonight?’ she asked me.

‘Of course we are. But let’s just go there only for a brief while, say ‘Hi’ to the gathering and then quickly disappear!’ It was an order, but very lovingly conveyed.

She was quiet.

‘H-e-ll-o’; I said.

‘Yes I am listening.’

‘Is that a date?’ I asked.

‘If you so desire. See you then.’ And she hung up.

I picked her up. Together we went to the party. The first person who greeted Zeenat from a distance was a drunken Raj Kapoor, with a gallant drawl. ‘There she is’. He 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.

She quickly bent down to touch his feet, and then gave me an embarrassed look. Raj grasped my hand in a very tight grip, like never before, as if trying to make amends for some wrong he had done, suddenly overflowing with affection.

A hint of suspicion crossed my mind. A couple of days earlier, a rumour had been floating around that Zeenat had gone to Raj’s studio for a screen test for the main role of in his new movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

The hearsay now started ringing true. My heart was bleeding.

‘You are breaking your promise,’ Raj was now telling Zeenat in his drunken joviality, ‘that you will always be seen by me only in a white sari.’

More embarrassment was writ large on her face and Zeenat was not the same Zeenat for me anymore. My heart broke into pieces.

I wanted to leave the party at once and go off somewhere alone, to be just by myself, so that I could swallow the humiliation thrust on my ego.

But a struggle within me transformed itself to a ‘hell-with it all’ attitude and prompted me to say goodbye to a relationship which, though had been non-committal emotionally on both sides, had been honest all the same.

There was no space in it for professional dishonesty.

The painting I had made of her showed signs of cracking. 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.I quickly detached myself, convincing myself that I had blundered, taking too many things for granted….

I had prepared her for the world and she was free to go into the arms of anyone who would help her further her ambitious dreams….

I closed my eyes. Zeenat still remained beautiful in my eyes with an honest soul. And Raj, a passionate filmmaker.

Excerpts from Dev Saab's autobiography Romancing With Life.

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