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Romancing with Life: An Autobiography Paperback – December 7, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (December 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143418564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143418566
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,158,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Abhinav Agarwal VINE VOICE on February 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, and Raj Kapoor, were the first three superstars of Hindi cinema, before there were superstars. Each was born within a couple of years of each other (Dev Anand in 1923, Raj Kapoor in 1924, and Dilip Kumar in 1922), each started his career around the same time (Dev Anand in 1946, Raj Kapoor in 1943, Dilip Kumar in 1946), and while Raj Kapoor died in 1988, and Dilip Kumar has been in retirement for more than a decade, Dev Anand continues to go strong, acting in and directing a movie every few years for over six decades now, the latest one released in 2005. Dev Anand had the screen persona of a dashing, evergreen, ever youthful happy-go-lucky city chap, with a legion of a mostly female fan following. Even in real life he has carried himself with the same elan, and at 85 years is an inspiration for many people.

The book is a celebration of Dev Anand's (Dharam Dev Anand is his full name, as he informs us) life and times, and his romance with life. It proceeds in pretty much a chronological fashion, starting with his childhood and ending with the year 2007, when the last chapter was written. It is written in breezy and mostly frank and honest style. Whether it is his sexual education, first on the upper berth of a train, and later while shooting for his first movie, whether his struggles to find a footing in the Hindi movie industry, or his encounters with the censor authorities, or his crush for Zeenat Aman, or his first love with Suraiya, and the heartbreaking end to the affair, or his visit to communist Soviet Union, he comes across as refreshingly honest.

The book is divided into numbered chapters, each small. Sometimes only a couple of pages, but rarely more than 4-5 pages. Each chapter covers a specific episode.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Makarand D. Nalgirkar on January 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dev Anand is of course a living legend of Hindi Cinema. The story of Dev Anand's life spans 60 years, from pre-independence to present day, and it is a fascinating account. The movie milestones along the way include such gems as Baazi, Taxi Driver, Guide, Jewel Thief, Johnny Mera Naam, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Des Pardes and Man Pasand among many many others. Dev Anand provides interesting facts and stories about the making of these movies, and the people involved in making them.

For fans of Hindi Cinema, Dev Anand and Navketan -- his film company -- stand also for the glorious music from S.D. Burman and Kishore Kumar that charms listeners to this day. To my disappointment, Dev Anand has spoken precious little about the music of Navketan, and also about these legendary music directors and singers who were such an integral part of the success and romance of Dev Anand's films. Navketan is also about Vijay "Goldie" Anand, his younger brother who no doubt was a very capable director and who infused much of the magic in these movies. Dev Anand speaks fondly of Goldie and narrates several incidents, but again, it falls a little short of the stellar credit that his brother deserves in creating Dev Anand the phenomenon.

Dev Anand comes across as being very honest and open about his narrative, and no doubt this is an "open book" on his life. He also speaks well of his contemporaries like Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar although they were also his competitors of sorts, and about the leading ladies that he introduced in his films including Zeenat Aman, although he clearly feels betrayed and hurt by some of their actions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mozeena Bano on April 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As I was an ardent fan of all Dev Anand's old movies, the book was quite an interesting one to go through, to recollect back on his many movies with famous actors. The narration was intriguing at times and well described many times. He has almost mentioned all the persons related to his work. But being a fan of most of his songs with Mohd Rafi, I was little disappointed that he had not mentioned his or Hemant Kumar's names even once!

Written quite boldly at times, the whole narrative is interesting though a bit stretched at the end of the narration. All the best to the famous/ old, Ever Green Hero of Golden Old Era!

Mozeena Bano, Virginia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Kamath on May 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Bollywood screen legend Dev Anand finally opens up about his life and times in an autobigraphy that is as entertaining as almost any movie he has ever starred in. For a man who has repeatedly claimed that he doesn't dwell on the past, his memory of events that took place more than a half century ago is remarkably vivid. His struggles in Bombay, his failed romance with then reigning superstar Suraiyya, his friendship with film maker, and real life tragedian, Gurudutt (Dev Anand was one of the first to witness the film maker's dead body), his many encounters with women (the one with the middle aged Parsi woman on the train is absolutely hilarious), are all narrated with admirable eloquence and honesty. However, there are other moments in the book when he is not as forthcoming and one gets the distinct feeling he has something to hide. His confession of love for protege Zeenat Aman comes as a shock not because it cannot be true but because by the time he makes it, his relationship with her is almost over.

It's only in the latter part of the book, where he talks about the last couple of decades, that the narrative slips somewhat and I found myself skimming over some of the pages. Clearly, he is not too proud of the recent past (who can blame him) but his youthful, 'evergreen' image won't allow him to admit it. There is a bit of bluster about his many directorial disasters (which, as a Dev Anand fan, I must confess has been painful to witness. One is tempted to sing 'Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya' like his character in the classic 'Guide'.) If he is to be believed, hits and flops don't matter to him at all! What he seems to be concealing is that he, like many 'has been' movie makers before him, is desperate for another hit, just so he can finally bid us farewell and ride off into the sunset.
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