Happy birthday Zeenat Aman: When the actor said that she was clueless about Dev Anand’s feelings for her

Happy birthday Zeenat Aman: Dev Anand, in his autobiography, had written in great detail about his feelings for Hare Rama Hare Krishna actor. Here’s an account of how she felt about it.
Zeenat Aman and Dev Anand worked together for the first time in Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
Zeenat Aman and Dev Anand worked together for the first time in Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
Updated on Nov 19, 2020 06:47 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Any mention of 1970s in the Hindi film history would be incomplete without naming Zeenat Aman. Along with Parveen Babi, she blazed through the cinematic firmament, giving us a very different kind of a heroine. Coy and bashful no more, the Hindi film heroine was here to enjoy the pleasures that came her way. In no time, Zeenat was among the most sought after actors of the day.

When Zeenat starred in 1971 film Hare Ram Hare Krishna she was all of 20 years old. Her co-star and one who played her brother in the film was iconic actor Dev Anand, aged 48 then. Despite the age difference, Dev fell hopelessly in love with her. A family man with two kids, Dev couldn’t get enough of Zeenat. They went on to star in a number of films together - Hera Panna, Prem Shastra and Warrant among others. However, Zeenat never felt the way he did.

Dev wrote freely and honestly about his feelings for Zeenat and how he had decided to confess them to her. Writing in his autobiography, Romancing With Life (2007), Dev had written: “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. 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 top of the city, where we had dined together once earlier.”

Zeenat Aman and Dev Anand in Heera Panna.
Zeenat Aman and Dev Anand in Heera Panna.

Dev wrote how he had called her and fixed up a meeting after a brief presence at a party. However, what transpired between Zeenat and Raj Kapoor at that party changed matter forever for Dev. “A drunken Raj Kapoor 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,” he wrote.

Dev grew suspicious as he had heard of rumours of Zeenat’s proximity to Raj during the making of Satyam Shivam Sundaram. “The hearsay now started ringing true. My heart was bleeding,” he wrote. “In drunken joviality Raj told Zeenat: ‘You are breaking your promise that you will always be seen by me only in a white sari’.”

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Something shattered within. “More embarrassment was written large on her face, and Zeenat was not the same Zeenat for me any more. My heart broke into pieces... The rendezvous had already lost all meaning in my mind. I sneaked out of the place,” he wrote.

But how did Zeenat see the situation? Speaking at Algebra in 2018, Zeenat had said: “I respect Dev saab greatly. It is because of Navketan that I became a movie star. But he had his perspective of what was happening that evening, which was completely different from mine. The thing is I did a lot of movies with Dev Anand and he considered me his protege. And I had been shooting with Raj ji, and he had mentioned that he would at his place and Dev saab was also suppose to be there at the same place. So I went and greeted him. Obviously he was my co-star and I had aspirations to be in his movie. Honestly. I don’t know what Dev saab took away from that because that was kind of weird. I had no idea that he was going to tell me that he was in love with me or he wanted to marry me. I was completely clueless.”

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