Celebrating his 89th birthday today, veteran Marathi actor Ramesh Deo, still holds his backbone erect. Surprisingly, when those living legends of films of his time are resting in their own houses with restricted movements, Evergreen Ramesh Deo is still active with Marathi films and modelling assignments. Only 2 weeks ago, we saw him in hit Marathi film ‘Classmates’. On television, we regularly watch his washing soap ad, where his shoes are polished by his grandson, while he is preparing to go out.
No one really knows his exact age; but while talking to Zee Talkies, during the release of a song from his forthcoming film ‘Sankasur’, the legend of Marathi cinema spoke about his 68 year long acting career. Incidentally , he is playing a village khot in this film, who finances a master sculptor from his village who makes artistic Ganesh idols. Well dressed for the occasion, he was really looking smart.
We began with his birthday and Rameshji immediately responded, “30th January”. “It was on one of my birthdays in Kolhapur, while we all were at home celebrating the occasion, a mob walked in and gheroed our bungalow, shouting slogans against us. The news about Gandhiji's assassination had spread and they thought the other way. They had mistaken us as Brahmins. But, when all of us including myself, formed a chain to defend ourselves, the mob went away, after being convinced by the neighbours. This is what happens, when you don’t come to know what is happening outside, when you are busy with your celebrations at home,” he said.
As an actor Mr. Ramesh Deo has performed in about 300 Hindi films, 200 Marathi films, few Gujarathi films, about 30 Marathi dramas and one Hollywood film, which was shot in Jhansi, but was never released. He also started his ad agency under the banner of RDP, sometime in 70s and this company is still active making ad films, besides making Marathi films. Mr.Ramesh Deo made his first ad film with Hema Malini and since then, his company has involved many celebrities, to the modelling field.
When asked about his good friends in Bollywood, he quickly mentioned the name of Rajesh Khanna. “Ever since myself and my wife performed with him in the film ‘Anand’, Rajesh remained a true friend to my family, till his untimely death. After his marriage, he had come with his wife to our house for lunch. When, he had no offers from films, I remained in touch with him and we met over lunch or dinner, several times. During that period, he used to feel bad that those people close to him earlier, had lost touch with him. He was such a wonderful friend. I miss him today,” he said.
When asked about his energy to perform in films, even at this age; he said, “It’s all in your positive attitude. If you feel that you don’t need anybody’s support, it speaks about your will power. I think, at this age progressing towards 90, I am the only actor, still performing in front of the camera. It’s a great feeling to work at this age, that too continuously for the past 68 years.” He concluded.