With Saif Ali Khan all set to do a tell-all memoir(not an autobiography) it’s time to look at 5 Bollywood biographies that told the truth.
1. Rishi Kapoor Khullam Khulla: Lively chirpy ebullient and seemingly forthright this was Rishi Kapoor as he was. Candid about his father Raj Kapoor’s affairs, one didn’t see Rishi saying anything about his own indiscretions before or after his very successful marriage to Neetu Singh. We believe you. Nonetheless a biography/memoir , co-written by journalist Meena Iyer that did some plainspeak , albeit selectively. And I wish the title was a little classier than a hit song from Rishi’s film.
2. Asha Parekh The Hit Girl: Thankfully this biography was not named Kati Patang or Sayanora Sayonara after Ms Parekh’s chartbusters. Written by the illustrious film critic Khalid Mohamed The Hit Girl took us through all of the super-successful actresss’ secrets including that eminently forbidden lifelong relationship with filmmaker Nasir Hussain. We like.
3. Shatrughan Sinha Anything But Khamosh : Brutally frank, and not willing to gloss over his scandalous and longevous relationship with Reena Roy, nor did this biography ignore Shotgun’s conflicted relationship with his brother(the Dhoni bio-pic eliminated Dhoni’s brother because they didn’t get along) Anything But Khamosh is a lively interesting read just like the subject himself. Author Bharati S Pradhan did no fawning here. She told the teekha Sinha’s tale as it is. Peppery and irreverent.
4. Dilip Kumar Shadow & Substance: Author Udayatara Nair being a very close friend of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu,one thought this would be an exercise in hagiography. But surprise! Shadow & Substance is a well-researched deeply-felt probing and objective look at the life of India’s most accomplished actor.It also discussed the Thespian’s romances and didn’t shy away from his brief second marriage. Proper in format but not willing to sacrifice the improper interludes this was a rare comprehensive Bollywood biography.
5. Naseeruddin Shah And Then One Day: A Memoir: Telling like it is.Naseeruddin Shah’s memoir is just like his performances: you can see right into the soul of the protagonist. He uses words as tools to probe into his past and doesn’t blink when he encounters uncomfortable home-truths. This is by far the most honest Bollywood memoir I’ve read. Not that Naseer would enjoy his book being branded as ‘Bollywood’.