Book Review: Romancing With Life (An Autobiography) by Dev Anand

The story dates back to 1943 with little money in his pocket and rain falling on the shutters of the Frontier Mail he gets down at Bombay Central Station. He wanted to pursue his Master’s abroad like his elder brother but destiny had its own plan.

The boy had ordered an ice-cold sharbat and was standing outside the Golden Temple. As soon as the Sikh vendor served the boy his order looking at his forehead he said in pure Punjabi which meant, “You have the sun on your forehead, boy. You will make it very big one day”.

On returning home the boy narrated this incident to his mother who was lying on her sickbed. She smiled and said: ‘He is right!’ And then clutching his hand, she said to the boy’s father: “This son of mine has my blessings the most. He will be very big one day. He should always be happy and never wanting – send him to the college he wants to go to.” The boy was none other than a prolific writer, actor, producer and director Dev Anand whom the world fondly called Dev Sahab.

In his autobiography ‘Romancing with Life’ released four years ago the author Dev Anand shared his remarkable life story and the ups and downs in his life from professional and personal angles. The story of this legendary actor, writer, producer and director is covered in the book spread across eighty-eight chapters starting right from his childhood days, career struggle, epitome of success, his family, filmography and many more giving the readers a detailed account of his life.

Reading the book one realizes how down to earth his personality was. After working for nearly two years in a military censor’s office he finally made up his mind and decided he’d rather quit his job, go to Bombay (now Mumbai) and become a star. The day he declared this to his office colleagues a lady at the censor’s office said to him, ‘Don’t forget us’ but in a friendly manner. Many years later the same lady was a receptionist in the studio where Dev Anand filmed most of his pictures and was also a star by then.

The story goes back to July 1943 with little money in his pocket and rain falling on the shutters of the Frontier Mail Dev Anand gets down at Bombay Central Station. A graduate in English Literature from the Government Law College in Lahore he wanted to pursue his masters and study abroad like his elder brother Chetan Anand. But destiny had its own plans. His father (a lawyer by profession) was going through cash crunch suggested him that he better started working and get bank job instead.

In his work there was his energy. A busy schedule always welcomed him. He never bothered what people said or wrote about him because defeat was not a word in his dictionary. One could never associate this man with dullness and depression. When sending invitations he would take the pain to write them down in his own handwriting followed by personal phone calls or meeting thereby exhibiting his courtesy and politeness.

The appeal of the book includes a collection of over 60 black and white and colored photographs sharing some of the best moments of his life. The book is not merely his autobiography but a wealth of information good enough to set the tone of motivation amongst each one of us.

He was not only a prolific writer but a compulsive reader as well and encouraged many of them to inculcate this habit including the actress Tina Munim. When he was not working, he kept himself busy and occupied by reading books or writing scripts. He worked hard and kept working till his death. To sum it up, one lifetime is indeed not enough for an octogenarian and legend like Dev Anand.

Author Dev Anand

Publisher Penguin Books India

Imprint Viking

Price Rs. 695/-

ISBN 9780670081240

Source by Niilesh A Raje

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