Dev Anand, who epitomised the dapper and debonair Hindi film hero in unforgettable classics such as “Guide” and “Hum Dono” and directed a series of hits, including “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”, in his later years, died in 2011 at the age of 88. He would have been 100 on Tuesday.
As paeans get written on the actor described as “evergreen” for his enduring stint in cinema and viewers young and old catch up on his films, Suneil said he is elated that his father's birthday is being celebrated.
With fans across the globe celebrating his father's legacy, it feels the actor-filmmaker is still around, the son said.
"I feel he is still with us, with me. He is a source of inspiration for millions of youth the world over even now. He continues to live as the evergreen romantic star," Suneil told PTI in an interview.
Also a filmmaker, the 67-year-old is currently working on a film dedicated to his father and features him as well as actors from Hollywood and England.
"It's a huge movie dedicated to my father. I am producing and directing. The show goes on. I will continue to take my father's legacy forward," Suneil said.
Dev Anand, who along with Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor, ruled the film industry for decades, stood out with his impeccable style, mannerisms and carefree attitude, summed up beautifully by Sahir Ludhianvi's memorable song: "Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata chala gaya, har fikar ko dhuen mein udata chala gaya" in the 1961 film "Hum Dono''.
Suneil said his father was an honest man and understood that he had a duty towards his audience.
"He was also a well-read man, well informed. He could converse on any topic with anyone in any crowd. He was as at ease with the man on the street as he was with royalty. He was very humble. It is difficult to be humble when you are such a big star.”
“He was the best of both worlds," Suneil said.
He said his father was "always conscious of his looks and physical appearance".
"...in real life and in movies, in front of the camera and while he was moving around in public. That's an actor's responsibility towards his audience and he understood that," he said.
Dev Anand would exercise and do yoga to stay fit, Suneil said.
"I was a witness to all of that. He was a very stylish man. He was forever creating, developing and working on his looks and that contributed a lot to his evergreen romantic hero image. He set many trends where people were imitating him, copying him all over the world and they still do," he added.
Dev Anand's most famous early movies are “Munimji”,”CID”, “Paying Guest", “Taxi Driver” and "Hum Dono". He's also known for crime thrillers like “Jaal”, “Dushman”, “Kalabazaar”, "Kaala Paani", "Johny Mera Naam" and Jewel Thief".
But the one film that stands out in his filmography is "Guide", an adaptation of RK Narayan's book, counted as a Hindi cinema classic with his portrayal of Raju considered by many as one of the actor’s best performances.
Suneil said he spent 40 years of his life just being with his father, taking care of his well-being, his schedule and their company Navketan.
"I even coordinated taking our classic movie 'Guide' to the Cannes film festival in 2008. It was the first Indian classic to be selected by the Cannes committee to be showcased at the festival. It was a major milestone for dad, for us, Navketan and India," he said.
Suneil made his acting debut in 1984 with "Anand aur Anand", which was directed by his father. His other movies as an actor are "Car Thief", "Main Tere Liye" and "Master".
Dev Anand and actor-wife Kalpana Kartik had two children --Suneil and daughter Devina.