Anything But Khamosh – Biography of Shatrughan Sinha gets as candid as possible. I picked up this book like any Indian who has grown up watching Indian films and is curious about the Bollywood stars. Tried recalling the films of Shatrughan Sinha that I have watched – and I could not recall any. I do remember some scenes that I have watched on television. Some films that I have seen in bits and pieces. Nonetheless, he intrigued me as someone who has been as successful as a politician if not more as he was as an actor. From his persona, it felt that his biography would be candid and not just another fiction presented to the world. I would say he came across more candid than I expected. Author and the subject presented an all around personality including the weaknesses that people mostly tend to brush aside.
Anything But Khamosh The biography begins with Shatrughan Sinha’s childhood in Patna. The legend of his parents following a temple in Varanasi to get 4 kids and getting 4 sons whom they named after the 4 brothers of Ramayana. You see his journey to being an actor rooted in his youthful antics. His episodes in college, his lack of interest in studying science. His relationship with each member of his family is brought out very well. Bharathi very nicely brings out the Black Sheep character of her protagonist. How he grew up in a family where everyone else is so educated. This thread would continue till the later part of the story as the family equations change with the rise of Shatrughan Sinha as a film star and as a politician.
Anyone who has seen a bit of success in life would be able to relate to these change in equations.
The most expected part of this biography was, of course, the flamboyant days of stardom of Shatrughan Sinha. His affair with co-star Reena Roy before and after his marriage to his wife Poonam. I am sure there was a lot of gossip and speculation around this love triangle. Author has presented the facts right from the horse’s mouth. She brings out the patriarchal attitude and his own macho image. His image getting a boost from all the affairs he had.
This period brings out the heroes of the 70s and 80s and how they treated their female colleagues. I am sure more biographies of many stars of that era will bring out a lot of dirty linen in public. Poonam Sinha’s personality amazes you. How much do you have to be in love with a man to take so much humiliation at his hands? The mindset she requires to walk into a marriage knowing well that the husband was having an affair with someone? How do you live with a man when you know he has a girlfriend and the whole world is talking about them? Yes, today it seems like a perfect marriage and happy family. But what about the younger days that she must have spent being lonely by choice.
The politician is seen through the eyes of various political colleagues. Both within BJP – the party Shatrughan Sinha belongs to and those in opposite camp. You see him naturally inclined to politics when he joins BJP at the peak of his career. He goes on to become a cabinet minister and then becomes a victim of politics within his own party. Having said that, his commitment to politics comes across strongly.
His image of Bihari Babu keeps building throughout his story. What is interesting is how skillfully he builds his image and uses it to strengthen his political career. His filmy career is narrated through various voices like Subhash Ghai, Pawan Kumar his secretary and colleagues & neighbors like Hema Malini.
Last part of the book focuses on his relationship with his children. They talk about the highs and lows of each other. You can not but envy his bond with his daughter, which you may say is natural. However, in this case, it has also to do with the fact that daughter turned out to be the most successful one of all the 3 children.
The author of Anything But Khamosh must be applauded for doing justice to Shatrughan Sinha – the man, the actor, and the politician.
Read it if the life of Shatrughan Sinha intrigues you.
You may buy this book Anything But Khamosh – Shatrughan Sinha Biography at Amazon.
Recommend you read the review of the book Shashi Kapoor by Aseem Chhabra.