Friday, June 17, 2016

Dark Star:The loneliness of being Rajesh Khanna - Gautam Chinamani

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken." - Albert Camus. 

These popular Camus words summoned up into my mind after completing the book,'Dark Star-The loneliness of being Rajesh Khanna',written by Gautam Chinamani..In my schooldays,I happened to watch Anand for the very first time on TV..Though I'm not old enough to understand all that serious existential sort of stuff at that moment,this movie gave me an entirely different perspective on life..Must say,it introduced an unfamiliar sense of life to a 14 year old quite eloquently..Perhaps that's the very first time I sensed 'death',and thus I sensed 'life'..Till that moment I'm unaware of the word 'melancholy'..The face behind that experience was none other than Rajesh Khanna's,no wonder I made him my idol that instant..Later,driven by that madness,I started writing a diary in which the first page starts with his lines from my all time favourite song "Dil jane mere sare bhed ye gehre.. hogaye kaise mere sapne sunehre"..:) Though I'm a hard core fan of Big B,Khanna is someone special,who is so dear to my heart (Not to forget Hrishikesh Mukherji here)..Briefly that's my Rajesh Khanna story.
Image courtesy Google
Whosoever are familier with the phenomenon of Rajesh Khanna,if they happened to read this work,they would definitely feel the constant clash between the images of their idol 'The Rajesh Khanna' and a very ordinary human being next door 'Jatin Khanna'..The book widely discussed the Super star's film career,a journey of shocking ups and downs..Mostly the author shed light on the 'human being' behind the 'Superstar' image..In this we would be acquainted with an entirely different human being from his screen image,an insecure,jealous and complex Khanna..But if we examine his life in a different perspective,we don't easily jump to conclusions and brand him as an arrogant/bad person..Instead we'll realize the fact that he is as childish and insecure as any other ordinary human being,just like us..That simply makes us love him even more,the real Rajesh Khanna behind the Superstar...We would learn from the bitter experiences of the man for leaving his success,jealousy and insecurities unguarded..In this work,all his movies were discussed briefly along with the story plot and the foreword by Sharmila Tagore is brilliant and justifying..
She says "I am glad that at last there is a book on Rajesh Khanna. If ever a Hindi cinema star deserved a book, it is surely he."
The easy flow and narration broke my regular habit of noting down all my favourite lines from reading,however I managed to note down a few...

Goutam Chintamani-Image courtesy Google
Here are few lines from the book..
Describing him as someone with the ‘charisma of Rudolph Valentino, the arrogance of Napoleon’, the BBC’s documentary Bombay Superstar (1973) reinforced the tag that Khanna had got used to.

‘Saawan Kumar through Sahir's lines : 'Le de kar fakat ek nazar hi to hai humare paas; kyon dekhen zindagi ko kisi ki nazar se?’ (I had made my films the way I saw life. Why would I ever choose to see things from someone else’s perspective?)

From epilogue...The essence..
Every time Khanna made an overseas trip, he returned with gifts. Sometimes he presented them to the people he had picked them up for and sometimes he forgot about them. Many a time, he didn’t even bother opening the suitcases he returned with. After his death, almost sixty-four unopened suitcases were found strewn across Aashirwad – quite odd for someone who loved to play the host and lived to regale people he considered close. Rajesh Khanna’s loneliness was not something that was locked or hidden from sight. Neither was it a burden left behind by unprecedented fame. As is evidenced by the unopened boxes, it was possibly ingrained deep within him. Locked up in the suitcase of his heart was the need to be alone – something that had always existed. But the world was either too blinded by the radiance of the star or too lost in the darkness surrounding it to notice.


Amit Agarwal said...

We all were Kaka fans in our pre-teens in early seventies..
Great tribute, this book, to the legend! Thank you Nagini:)

Ranjana's craft blog said...

Even I was his fan.
This happens with many celebrities. Their personal life is entirely different from their image.

Rajeev Moothedath said...

Nice... Thank you for the review.

joseph said...

insightful review