For a man his age, I expected wrinkles on his face. Surprisingly, there was none. But his face was darker than in the movies. The skin on his face appeared stretched at places while sunken elsewhere. So, it resembled a semi-deflated football.
His eyes were tired. I stared deep into them searching for the twinkle. It was evident in the movies when he nods his head sideways for impressing beautiful women on screen. I didn’t find it. The eyes appeared unfocussed when he was talking and instructing with his hands. His hands moved slowly and effortlessly.
He carried a cane in his hand. The cane barely touched the ground. It reminded me of the old English teacher who taught me in Std IV. My English teacher used the cane for terrifying us although he never used it on us.
He was dressed in his trademark style. He wore a jacket on top of his shirt. The jacket was buttoned up at the bottom and opened at the top to reveal the knotted shawl hanging around his neck.
His head was adorned by his trademark cap. There were strands of hair sticking outside the cap. I strained my eyes to identify texture of the hair. I was curious if it was a wig. I could not spot the difference.
The crowd was busy clicking his pictures using their cameras – traditional, digital and mobile. He obliged everyone who was eager to be photographed with him. Very soon, his assistants interfered. They requested to clear the way for him. He nodded at the crowd before walking to the next location.
I watched him walk away. Now, the crowd had dispersed. Two aides walked by his side talking to him. He looked down at the earth and walked forward with the help of his long cane.
He was tall. But his shoulders stooped into an hunch. The weight of old age has changed his appearance while the grace remained intact.
That was Dev Anand, shooting his new movie at Mahabaleshwar.
But there are still mysteries. How does he find energy to do this? And most importantly, where does he find money to do this?