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When Dev Anand lost Zeenat to Raj Kapoor

Dev Anand's autobiography Romancing With Life released last week on his birthday, and gave us a chance to finally know him.

The book, which captures the star right from his struggling days to the present, gives us great details about his acting years, his family, and the women in his life.

One of them was Zeenat Aman, whom Devsaab launched in Hare Rama Hare Krishna. The actor, who admits to falling in love with the young actress at the time, talks about their relationship in this excerpt taken from his autobiography.

And keep reading on about Devsaab's interesting interaction with former Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan, and Aamir in his film, Awwal Number.

Zeenat and I started being linked with each other in the magazines and newspapers that people hungry for gossip love to read. For, while she was the adorable painting that they loved to watch, admire and emulate, I was the painter who had etched that painting. The colours were mine as was the finished drawing on the canvas. While she as a person was God's creation, her image was of my making, and together we became inseparable in the public eye.

Whenever and wherever she was talked about glowingly, I loved it. And whenever and wherever I was discussed in the same vein, she was jubilant. In the subconscious, we had become emotionally attached to each other.

At the silver jubilee celebration of Hare Rama Hare Krishna at a theatre in Calcutta, as Usha Uthup, the famous pop singer, sang the Dum maro dum number on stage and reached the crescendo of her rendering, she pulled Zeenat, who was sitting in the audience, on stage; Zeenat in turn pulled me on stage too, so that together we could sing along with Usha. The audience in a moment of spontaneity also jumped up on stage and the song became a chorus of over a hundred voices. The maddened crowds picked Zeenat up on their shoulders, raising her heavenwards. I felt proud of her, and yet, at the same time, I felt a stab of jealously; of possessiveness as well. How could they own her in that way? She was my prized possession! I knew it was a stupid thought on my part, but I couldn't help it.

A couple of years later, after the premiere of Ishq Ishq Ishq at Metro cinema, Raj Kapoor kissed Zeenat in full view of the invited audience, congratulating her for her sparkling performance in the film. That must have made her evening all the more sparkling. Again I felt proud of her, as much as I admired Raj Kapoor for his honest and spontaneous reaction. Complimenting her was indirectly complimenting her mentor, and I inwardly saluted my contemporary filmmaker for his sound judgement.

Yet, I was jealous of him for making advances on what I considered my sole possession, my discovery, my leading lady, and desiring her with a kiss.

Excerpted from Romancing With Life, with kind permission of Penguin Books.

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