Khullam Khulla is an unapologetically honest biography

 First things first. This isn’t a fanboy’s musing. Any writer worth his/her salt can never ‘dare’ to write on ‘Khullam Khulla – Rishi Kapoor Uncensored’ without including this excerpt from the book, where Neetu Singh writes: 

“First, a checklist:

Is Rishi Kapoor a grouch? Guilty as charged.

Is he loud, gregarious, and prone to wound with words? Check all three please.

Is he suspicious of people, stiflingly possessive, difficult to live with? You seem to know my husband well. 

Is he generous with gifts? Not really.

Does he sulk? Do we fight? Have I ever thought of leaving him? Yes, yes, yes. I ‘ve entertained the thought of walking away every single day of our life together. 

So why am I still Mrs. Rishi Kapoor, thirty-seven years after saying ‘I do’?

Because thirty-seven years is a long time. And I cannot, would not, live with any other. Because once you get to know my husband, he’s the most straightforward man there is. Though, admittedly, it’s not easy to ‘get to know him’.”

The closest I could manage to get to Rishi Kapoor was during the recent Vadodara Literature Festival organised by Syahee.com, an online platform for authors and poets, where Rishi Kapoor launched the festival and spoke eloquently about his book. Excited to meet up the ‘Luck By Chance’ actor, I took along my copy of his biography (That I had ordered online right on the day of its launch), along with two books penned by me, which I wanted to gift him as mementos. 

He took my books and kept them aside, speaking in an irritated tone, “I don’t want this…I don’t read books!” Dejected, I meekly took them back, along with his book, thinking, ‘Why should I read a book of someone who doesn’t read?’ He smiled and asked my name, and insisted on signing his book. This stark contrast between his tones of ‘I don’t read’ and ‘What’s your name?’ within a single minute, defined Rishi Kapoor for me, who is unapologetically honest and sincerely affectionate. 

Like Neetu Kapoor would like to put it, ‘Once you know Rishi Kapoor, he’s the most straightforward man there is.’ And the only way you could get to know a celebrity is through interviews and biographies. Khullam Khulla is a free-flowing conversation between Rishi Kapoor and the reader, which could well have been christened as ‘Ek mein aur ek tu’. 

To be honest, I have never been an avowed ‘Rishi Kapoor Fan’. He is one such actor from our film industry who is loved and adored by one and all, but seldom revered or put on a high pedestal. The actor was never a superstar and makes no bones in admitting this fact that he has always been around, battling many a superstar storm. I am yet to come across anyone who dislikes Rishi Kapoor. Well, how can you not like an actor with the most innocent smile? 

A simple YouTube search of songs like ‘Mein shaayar to nahin’ and ‘Hum tum ek kamre’ from Bobby, ‘Tere dar par’ from Laila-Majnu, ‘Ek mein aur ek tu’ and ‘Khullam khulla pyaar’ from Khel Khel Mein, ‘Dard-E-Dil’ and ‘Om Shanti Om’ from Karz, ‘Chug chug Bombay se Baroda tak’ from Rafoo Chakkar, ‘Hoga tumse pyara kaun’ from Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai, ‘Mil gaya humko saathi’ from Hum Kisise Kam Nahin, ‘Parda hai parda’ from Amar Akbar Anthony, ‘Sochenge tumhein pyaar’ from Deewana or ‘Gawah hain chaand taare gawaah hain’ from Daamini, encapsulates his illustrious filmography. 

As for his ‘Privileged second inning’, his roles in films like Agneepath (The shocker), Luck By Chance (Strangely, he doesn’t speak about this film in the book), Do Dooni Chaar (A role of a lifetime) and the recent Kapoor & Sons (Warm and memorable role), which introduced us to a whole new terrain of his craft that remained unexplored all through his ‘Jersey days’.

Meena Iyer approaches the autobiography of Rishi Kapoor with a style that complements with the actor’s temperament. Rishi Kapoor has always been a spontaneous actor (A fact he has vouches for in his book) and his book is replete with honesty and spontaneity, especially in chapters like ‘Dream run, defeat and depression’, ‘Buddies, bad men, peers and contemporaries’, or ‘Fights, flare-ups and fans’. 

The actor minces no words in coming clean about the awards he bought, the Bachchan tirade, the Javed Akhtar grudge or the incident that distanced him from his buddy, Jeetendra (They do share a cordial relationship, but not like the good ol’ days), or the love and affection he has for his wife, Neetu Kapoor. In fact, the chapter, ‘Neetu, my leading lady’ comes across as a heartwarming love letter that every husband or lover would cherish and relate to. 

It would indeed be a crime to include any excerpt written by him because that would spoil the fun of reading Khullam Khulla. After reading this book, you’d end up knowing Rishi Kapoor so well that you wouldn’t mind if he doesn’t reciprocate to your ‘autograph/selfie requests’ or reject your gifts. You’d understand that he is a man who is incurably honest. Well, to sum it up, ‘Khullam Khulla – Rishi Kapoor Uncensored’, written by Meena Iyer is a book that engages, enthralls and entertains with an effortless ease. To quote the marketing cliché, ‘Rush, grab your copy today!’

Rishi Kapoor’s response on this book review:

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