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Dev Anand brings 9/11 to Bollywood

New Delhi, Nov. 28: Up close, the shake of the head that set a thousand hearts aflutter is not so pronounced. Nor are the wrinkles on his face.

Dev Anand, touching 80, has taken age in his stride. And, if you go by his new film, he has kept up with time as well.

Love at Times Square — his latest film — is a love triangle set against the backdrop of 9/11. Anand, an Indian billionaire who watches the twin towers of the World Trade Center come crashing down from his apartment in the film, donates $1 million to the New York mayor’s fund — all on celluloid, of course.

“When people ask me to define happiness, I ask them, have you ever been to Times Square on a Saturday evening' If you have not, you should. Then you will know what is happiness. And the happiness builds many times over if it is New Year’s eve,” he told a group of reporters.

The actor-director, who has dominated Bollywood for over five decades, flew in from New York to publicise his new film. At a tête-à-tête with journalists at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club this afternoon, he gushed about his latest project. “It is an international film, yet it is Indian in spirit,” Anand said, while announcing plans for a worldwide release on January 26 with a premiere in New York.

The Rs 12-crore film with three newcomers — Heenee Kaushik, Shoib Khan and Chaitanya Chaudhary — has been shot extensively in the US. Four music directors — Lucky Ali, Adnan Sami, Aadesh Srivastava and Rajesh Roshan — have set the score for the “musical love story”. The lyrics are by Javed Akhtar and Sameer. Not one to take chances, Anand has got Salman Khan and Rishi Kapoor to put in special appearances.

For one who came to Bombay with Rs 30 in his pocket in 1943 to join the film industry, it’s been a long journey. “Within two years, I made it as an actor. In 1949, I started my own company, Nav Ketan. Then I became a star, a bigger star and a bigger star...,” Anand recalled. “In the ’50s, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was stepping into Parliament for the first time, I was already a star.”

Cut to present: Anand returns to the job at hand. “The film is for the Indians living in America. It is for Indians living in England. It is for Indians in India. I want everyone to watch the film. Love at Times Square is now. Love at Times Square is forever.”

Since love was the leitmotif of the session, he was asked which of his many beautiful heroines he was in love with during his six-decade-long-and-still-going-strong career. Pat came the reply: “I love everyone. I love myself, films, music, books, paintings and you all.”

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