Book Review: Sanjay Khan’s The Best Mistakes of My Life
Pointless – This is what I felt about the book by the time I was 175 pages into it. By this time around I realised that there wasn’t really much content in there that had captivated me and the remaining 80-90 odd pages didn’t promise much either.
I did have good expectations from this autobiography of Sanjay Khan though. Unlike many stars and actors from the 60s and the 70s, there hadn’t been much written and spoken about this younger Khan (the elder one being Firoz Khan). A star in his own right despite a handful of commercial successes (let me talk about this later), he has earned the right to talk about himself. However, you do expect to be at least reasonably entertained, educated and enlightened about who the subject in question is. Unfortunately that didn’t really happen when I went through The Best Mistakes Of My Life, something that left me disappointed.
Though the current generation is hardly aware about the man who had been seen in films like Dosti and Ek Phool Do Maali back in time, the generation before had some idea around him, courtesy the TV series The Sword of Tipu Sultan. Sanjay Khan understands this as well and that’s the reason why he goes in detail about the genesis of the series, its making and most importantly what really happened when the sets on location caught fire, hence resulting in the death of over 50 crew members. Even he went through a life threatening experience where his chances of survival were less than 10%, courtesy third degree burns. Fortunately, and very bravely, he lived to tell the tale.
So far, so good. However cut to the time when he started his career as an actor and it all seems very sketchy, right from the time he decided to be an actor to the time he actually got a break as an assistant director to his first major entry as a leading man in the films and the success that followed. One expected a more detailed account of what really happened and how he actually scaled the height of success. However all that one gets to read is how after a couple of successes, he had 100 films signed in a go. It is a different matter though that in an active career of nearly a decade, he had only 40 odd releases, which actually says it all.
Moreover, the controversies in his life are just a touch and go affair in the book. That may be due to the fact that the people involved are still alive or perhaps it is his gentlemanly act but then the whole point of doing an autobiography is lost as he just doesn’t get into the specifics. So be it the assailants from the film industry itself who attacked him with a gun at his house or his much publicised tiff with a leading actress of the era hone by or the marriage proposal from another top actress that he had to let go, there is no name taking or even proper description of the incidents.
What one gets to read in good detail though are his relationships within family. So whether it is his love for wife Zarine which has stood the test of the times or the bond that he has with his children or the mingling that he has within the film fraternity or the political/royal connections that he has enjoyed over the decades, around 150 odd pages are dedicated towards these tangents which make one wonder how it would be of much interest to a regular reader.
This isn’t all as the writing style too is plain and simple fact-stating which further robs the book of any entertainment quotient that could have otherwise come in. No wonder, you are left asking for more, actually a lot more.
Price: Rs. 599/=