Mumtaz who is in her London home when we speak on 14 September, is surprised that it would be a 100 years of Dev Anand on 26 September.
“How time flies! It seems like just the other day when we were shooting for Hare Rama Hare Krishna in Kathmandu. Those were fun times. And with Dev Saab it was even more fun. His energy level was infectious. I would ask him how he maintained that slim energetic physique . Dev Saab was a master of self discipline . He ate frugally. I learnt the art of self discipline from Dev Saab. To this day I don’t eat anything after 6 pm.As I speak to you, I’ve dinner guests coming in. But I won’t eat with them. Pet mein jitna daloge utna atega. Eat frugally and live a healthy life. This is what I learnt from Dev Saab,” says the gorgeous actress.
Speaking of Hare Rama Hare Krishna, why did Mumtaz agree to do a relatively small role of Dev Anand’s sweetheart while the bigger female protagonist’s part went to the then-unknown Zeenat Aman?
This is where Mumtaz drops a shocker. “Do you know, Dev Saab offered me the sister’s role first? But I said no. The other film that Dev Saab and I did together Tere Mere Sapne was shot almost simultaneously. We played husband and wife and had passionate love scenes in it. How could the audience accept us as siblings during the same year? Maybe if there was a gap, I would have taken up that part…But not so soon after Tere Mere Sapne. Anyway, no regrets. When Dev Saab offered me the romantic lead in Hare Rama Hare Krishna he warned me it was a smaller part. But we had so much fun shooting it. Do you know I selected all the scarves that Dev Saab wore in Hare Rama Hare Krishna. As we all know, he loved his scarves. Every morning before the shooting he would ask me to select one. He would say, Mumsy(that’s what he called me) , aaj kaun sa scarf pehnoon?’ All the scarves you see Dev Saab wearing in Hare Rama Hare Krishna were selected by me.”
Coming to Vijay Anand’s Tere Mere Sapne, it is regarded as one of Mumtaz’s best performances.
She agrees. “Dev Saab was my co-star,his very talented brother was the director. They helped me a lot with my performance.Dev Saab was always helpful, kind and warm. He brought a positive energy to the set. He would be everywhere at the same time.I never imagined he would be gone. Such a stylish man and so handsome. I worked with a lot of stylish handsome actors like Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna and Feroz Khanna. Lekin Dev Saab ki toh baat hi kuch alag tthi.”