A little more than a year ago, TV journalist Yasser Usman had come up with a book titled ‘Rajesh Khanna – The Untold Story of India’s First Superstar’. A fantastic read, it scored very well on telling it all as a humane tale where the focus was on the many emotions that the late Rajesh Khanna had gone through in various phases of his professional career and personal life. In this process, Yasser had succeeded quite well in establishing connect between the superstar and readers.
Now, with ‘Rekha – The Untold Story’, he manages to do that all over again!
It is apparent that he understands the pulse of the readers and hence to hit the right nerve, he gives this entire 200 off page book a tabloid/glossy read. He doesn’t try to bring on an intellectual element into play, he doesn’t aim at boasting of/showing off any great literary skills and he doesn’t allow the entertainment quotient to go away under the weight of heavy research. Instead, he keeps it all simple and gives readers what they want.
All of that means that he kick-starts the book with a bang. Well, literally so, as quite a few pages right at the beginning are devoted to Rekha’s marriage with businessman Mukesh Agarwal, the differences that cropped up, the divorce that followed and the suicide that shook the nation. Of course, it is one chapter in Rekha’s life, something that didn’t last any substantial duration either, but, then, continues to be etched in the minds of those who were fed with sensationalism in the times gone by.
With the stage set for the book, Yasser goes on to one of the continued chapters in Rekha’s life – her supposed love affair with Amitabh Bachchan. Was it an illusion? Was it one sided? Was it secretive? Was it eventually the case of just hero worship? Was it about yet another Meera who was fascinated with her object of affection? Or is it a lifelong romance that she has carried right through her lifetime? Well, a lot of it and more occupies close to half the pages of ‘Rekha – The Untold Story’.
That said, the very title of the book is a bit of a misnomer actually. Reason? Rekha didn’t even collaborate with the author on this book. As a matter of fact, the very subject in picture, wasn’t even around when the book was being written as she politely stayed away from it all. This means Yasser was pretty much on his own and there weren’t many around whom he interviewed either. Most were not even available on the records. This means the content of most of the 200 page book has actually sourced from the material that is already available in the archives.
Of course, Yasser had to actually dig it all down from these very archives. However, it would be a tad incorrect to say that this is ‘an untold story’ because somewhere, sometime and to someone, all of this was told after all, though Yasser had a job in hand to bring it all together and give it a cohesive form. In that aspect though, the author does really well as he picks up the threads, spins around some good story telling around it, and (as mentioned earlier), makes it an entertaining read.
So, whether it is Rekha’s earlier years when she signed films left, right and centre for survival, to the unprofessional outlook she had towards work where she prioritized her personal life over anything else to the various love affairs that she had to the complete devotion that she had for the men she gave her heart to the admiration she had for Jaya Bhaduri till she became Jaya Bachchan to the love she had for Amitabh Bachchan to the ‘real actress’ that she became in early 80’s to the experiments that she did in her career to the series of flops that she delivered to the diva image that she eventually built – the book says it all.
The book does really well in sourcing a lot of quotes from anyone and everyone who was important in Rekha’s personal and professional life and even though they are from the archives, they are indeed worth reading to know how the lady has transformed over the years. As for those looking for the gossip, ‘masala’ and the scandals that must have kept the glossies and evening tabloids occupied during the 70s/80s/90s, do check out various short-n-snappy chapters that Yasser has drafted for book – it would indeed make for an entertaining read.
Price: Rs. 499/=