When Zeenat Aman Chose Raj Kapoor Over Dev Anand – Blast From the Past
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When Zeenat Aman Chose Raj Kapoor Over Dev Anand – Blast From the Past

Dev Anand launched Zeenat Aman in Hare Rama Hare Krishna and did several films with her but she chose to work with Raj Kapoor

Dev Anand  loved women. And I  mean that in  a pure sublime way. There  was  nothing sleazy  about his attachments. He fell in love with  his heroines, much in  the same way that a painter  falls for his model or the poet for  his  muse. Of all the heroines that Dev  wooed and won on screen, the one that he  loved the most was Suraiya. He lost her to her over-protective grandmother who just wouldn’t let a Hindu marry her precious grand-daughter.

Religion  was  never  a problem  between  the debonair Dev Saab and Zeenat Aman. Her  overweening ambitions were. After a flop debut in O P Ralhan’s Hulchal, she  was  re-launched in style  by Dev Anand in Hare Rama Hare Krishna. They played  siblings in the film and made such  a  strong impact that all  of  their subsequent films together as  a conventional romantic pair — Heera Panna, Ishq  Ishq Ishq,  Darling Darling, Kalaabaz,  Prem Shastra, Warrant — were miserable flops.

Yet  out of his  love and a sense  of  loyalty, Dev Saab continued to work with Zeenat as  his co-star until one fine day he woke up to the announcement that his ‘Zeeenie’ had signed  a film with Raj Kapoor.

That she had  decided to work with his arch-rival  did not hurt Dev Saab as much as  the fact that she didn’t tell him about the big career move. Zeenat not  only shifted allegiance, bag and baggage  to the rival camp, she also ended her relationship with Dev Saab  to do Rak Kapoor’s Satyam Shivum Sunderam.

The  relationship  lasted  for  as  long as  the  film was shot. Recalling her association with Dev Anand, Zeenat Aman once  told me, “What does one say about a man who meant so much to one’s career? Dev Saab was indefatigable. To the end he continued to believe in what he did. Do you know, I was on the way out of the country with my mother to join my stepfather in Germany when I got that call from Dev Saab’s office to do Hare Rama Hare Hare Krishna? It wasn’t as though the role fell into my lap. I got to play Janice in Hare Rama Hare Krishna came to me almost by default. Not too many established actresses wanted to play Dev Saab’s sister specially when Mumtaz had already been signed to play the romantic lead. Tanuja had almost been finalized, then she opted out. That’s where I came in. Through O P Ralhan Saab I got in touch with Amarjeet, an associate of Dev Saab at Navketan.”

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