We believed in him. We believed in his battle against mortality and his campaign for life. Thus it came as a complete shock to hear that veteran Bollywood film actor Dev Anand had died suddenly in London at the weekend.
The 88-year-old actor was full of energy and had a youthful spirit. His zest for life remained undiminished despite the growing wrinkles on his face. Even his films and songs haven’t really aged; they seem as fresh and meaningful as they were when he recorded them 30 or 40 years ago.
The universal themes of life and love dominated the striking songs of his movies, but nature has its own plans. Death is the ultimate shared fate for all of us, but this year has been one of particular loss for this country’s celebrity entertainers.
The renowned proponent of Indian classical music Bhimsen Joshi, the flamboyant film actor Shammi Kapoor, popular poet and musician Bhupen Hazarika, the singer Jagjit Singh, and the celebrated painter Maqbool Fida are just some of the talent that has left us.
It seems a generation has suddenly disappeared before our eyes.
These people were very much part of my generation’s youth, and although I never met any of them, I and tens of millions of others still felt a strong connection with these entertainers. They helped instill within each of us, consciously or subconsciously, a network of memories. When you see one of their films or hear one of their songs, you are whisked away to your past, remembering old friends, old lovers – times in your life that have long since passed.
Dev Anand wasn’t my personal childhood hero or icon. But I still always believed in his spirit and zest for life. His death is a tragic reminder we all must live each day to the fullest, because we never known which will be our last.