Deepti Naval, co-star of Deven Verma in many movies, remembers the warm and effortless actor who passed away in Pune on Tuesday.
Deven Verma was one of the most endearing people in the film industry, a delightful and natural actor. He stood out in every film he acted in, including Chori Mera Kaam (1975), Chor Ke Ghar Chor (1978), Khatta Meetha (1981), Angoor (1982), and Kissi Se Na Kehna (1983).
Unki sabhi yaadien bahot hi pyaari hain. Though I worked with him in other movies as well, my strongest memories are of Angoor. No matter how long or how demanding the shoot, we never saw him tense or nervous. Full of positive energy, he truly belonged to a film set.
Haribhai (Sanjeev Kumar) and he were a riot on the sets, they had a crackling chemistry and perfect comic timing. With Gulzarji
(director), they worked very closely for Angoor. Even when we didn’t have a shoot scheduled, we would drop by to watch the trio at work. This is why even when you watch the film today, their antics crack you up.
We kept in touch regularly. A few years ago, his wife, Rupa Ganguly, contacted me. She wanted to gather his co-stars, directors and writers together and prepare something for Devenji — a sort of tribute to his life and career. There was so much we wanted to say to him, to thank him for his influence in our lives and his contribution to the film industry. I can only imagine how happy it would have made him.
Unfortunately, before we could organise something, his condition deteriorated.
On November 28, I was in Pune performing the play, Ek Mulaqat. After the show, I called Rupa and expressed my wish to drop by. She said he would have been delighted to meet me, but he was very weak. As she put him on the phone, I thought of all the things I wanted to tell him: How much we love him and miss him, and how we wished he would get well soon. I tried to string together these thoughts as much I could in a brief telephone conversation. He listened to me patiently, and said, “Haan Deepti, thank you.” I was happy that he had recognised my voice and promised to see him when he was better. I didn’t know the end was so close.
December 2, the morning he passed away, was a sad day for me and everyone who knew this wonderful and warm person. I hope with that brief phone call, he realised what he meant to us.