Evergreen romantic star Dev Anand, who epitomised the debonair, urban gentleman on screen and gave classic hits like 'Guide' in his career as actor and filmmaker spanning over six decades, died after a cardiac arrest in London. He was 88.
From the film fraternity to fans and political leaders, everyone mourned the death of the ageless actor with an indefatigable spirit.
Mohan Churiwala, Dev Anand's manager, told IANS that the actor passed away in a London hotel where he was staying with his son, Sunil, a one-time actor. According to Churiwala, Sunil found that Dev Anand was not responding and called the doctor. 'The doctor said that he had a heart attack. He died at 10 on Saturday night in London,' he said.
The Padma Bhushan awardee is survived by his wife, former actress Kalpana Karthik, Sunil and a daughter.
According to Churiwala, the cremation will be held next week in London. 'He will be cremated in London only after Tuesday. Cremation cannot take place till his daughter reaches there. His body is kept in a hospital,' he said.
Dev Anand, who started his career in the black and white era with 1946 film 'Hum Ek Hain', spent 65 years under the arc lights as an actor and filmmaker.
Known as Mr. Charming and the Adonis of Indian cinema, the Dada Saheb Phalke award winner worked tirelessly, coming up with new films after short intervals. He never hung his boots or sat on his laurels. In fact, just before his death, he was planning another movie. His latest film 'Chargesheet', which he acted and directed and was released this year, became his swan song.
His nephew and acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur summed up his journey in showbiz aptly by saying: 'Dev Anand lived n died at his own terms. He was working one minute. Sat down and smiled. And was gone the next. So much 2 learn.'
From colleagues to fans - everyone woke up to a rude Sunday morning shock as the news of the legendary actor's passing away in London unfolded here.
Actress Preity Zinta tweeted: 'Woke up to the sad News of Dev Saheb's demise ! May God give peace to his soul! He inspired us all by living his life 2 the fullest. R.I.P'.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and yesteryears actress J. Jayalalithaa condoled the death of Dev Anand, saying India has lost 'a great actor, an illustrious son and a true patriot'.
Expressing grief, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said: 'The country has lost an iconic film personality who gave immense joy to millions of movie buffs and his admirers and will be remembered for his varied roles in memorable movies over the decades.'
Prem Dube, Dev Anand's driver for the last 22 years, said: 'I have been praying why God did not take me away instead of Dev Anand? He had given his entire life the industry and they needed him... He was himself a God.'
A close aide of the deceased actor, Chandra Shekhar, (himself 89), said he was 'shaken' when he heard the news from a friend, the first thing this morning.
'I only wish that this time the news should be wrong... Dev saab had given his soul to the industry and now his life... I personally feel that he could not accept the fate of his latest movie,' Shekhar told IANS.
Dev Anand seemed to have adopted the philosophy of the song 'Main Zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya' from 'Hum Dono', in real life too. His body of work speaks volumes about the man who was not only a great actor, but multi-tasker and a trendsetter.
If as an actor he proved his versatility with hits like 'Tere Ghar Ke Samne', 'Jewel Thief' and Guide', as a director he made a 'zara hatke' movie 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' that also gave Bollywood its first anglicised glamour icon in Zeenat Aman. He was also instrumental in bringing Tina Munim, Richa Sharma, Jackie Shroff and Tabu into the glamour world.
He played a long innings in filmdom, but his never-say-die spirit reigned supreme. All this is encapsulated in his autobiography 'Romancing with Life'.