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Old 04-21-2021, 12:39 PM
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Default Sanjeev Kumar's controversial book

Legendary actor Sanjeev Kumar gets his first biography 36 years after his death


Sanjeev Kumar with the National award in 1973 for Koshish

Harper Collins recently acquired the much-awaited and first-ever biography of two-time national award-winning actor Sanjeev Kumar.
Speaking about the book, HarperCollins Publisher Krishan Chopra said, "Sanjeev Kumar has always been an enigma--just what explains that superb ability to emote effortlessly and move the viewer, what drove him, did he love and was loved or did he die of a broken heart and just how he continued in a busy career despite a serious health issue. Reeta Gupta's biography promises to show Sanjeev Kumar as he really was. It will be an outstanding biography."

We caught up with the prolific biographer, Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta and prodded her to learn more:


1. Why Sanjeev Kumar?

Why not? His was a rich life dotted by precious friendships and scintillating performances. He was an institution, not just an actor. I am thrilled that the family worked with me on it. Three people, in particular, must be mentioned- Sanjeev Kumar Sahab's nephew and my co-author Uday Jariwala, his sister Gayatri Patel (who died recently, 17th February 2021) and sister in law Jyoti Jariwala.


2. Is it a controversial book?

It's a historical account. I'm trying to put the reader in the same room, with Sanjeev Kumar Sahab. That's the real challenge. Luckily, the family and some fans came forward who had saved many of his articles, posters of his films, songbooks etc.; It helped me reconstruct his life.


3. How long did you take to write it?

It's been more than two years now. The fact that I'm able to piece this together after 36 years, posthumously, is a testimony to the kind of man that Sanjeev Kumar Sahab was. His friends and well-wishers opened their hearts and narrated their experiences to me. Many of his inspirations are no more - notably Raj Kapoor, Sunil Dutt Sahab, and south Indian superstar Sivaji Ganesan. But the person I missed talking to the most has to be his manager Jamnadasji, who died in 2006 at the age of 85. I think he would've added a different flavour to the book.


4. What makes this biography relevant, 36 years after his death?

If anything, it makes it even more relevant; he died before the internet started chronicling information as it does today. A lot of the information in the biography is unseen.

Secondly, aspiring actors in India's best film schools continue to study Sanjeev Kumar Sahab to understand what voice modulation is, what 'becoming' the character is. They study how he moves on camera, his rendition of songs - I believe the biography will take their interaction with Sanjeev Kumar Sahab beyond the physical realm. Students will understand his methods and motivations, his context and his indomitable will. The greed of the biographer is to be of service to the reader.

Lastly, there is a global diaspora of Sanjeev Kumar fans, who have been waiting for this book longer than they should have.

In picture: Author Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta with Sanjeev Kumar’s nephew Uday Jariwala

5. What does the book revolve around?

The book takes the reader on a comprehensive journey from Sanjeev Kumar Sahab’s birth to his struggles, his dedication to cinema and stagecraft and the virtuosity of the vices he felt compelled to indulge in. The reader will come face to face with the actor's family and the ******** friends who loved him. Many people who have contributed to the book are not from the world of cinema, so they saw him as a human being. It also delves into his routines, habits, strengths, weaknesses, and how they played out in his decision-making. Hopefully, we can provide a portrait sketched in words rather than colours.

Fans of Sanjeev Kumar all over the world are sure to watch out.

Disclaimer: This article has been produced on behalf of The Network by Times Internet's Spotlight team.
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