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Making Gods Human

Dhruv Mookerji

By Mushtaq Shiekh
Om International Books, Noida, 2009, pp. 355, Rs. 395.00

VOLUME XXXIV NUMBER 12 December 2010

Deewanawas a hit. The audience loved him. Shah Rukh Khan, the actor, had made it. A hundred and six pages into Mushtaq ShiekhsShah Rukh Can, the lines wash over you and ring loud the words that youve been waiting for from the moment you started reading it. Careful choice of wordsShah Rukh Khan, the actor, not Shah Rukh Khan, the star. That journey follows later and comes alive with Mushtaqs Sheikh expert analysis of a God-figure from every perspectivepersonal interaction, public opinion, industry buzz and the horses mouth. The beautiful thing about making gods out of humans is that you can deify them and live a life of a devotee and yet there is always the truth in the back of your head that they too are made of flesh and bone. Mushtaq Shiekh starts before the beginning; before SRK. He shows the roots from where the man sprang, his parents, their journey, the life he lead as a child, the hardships and frustrations he felt, the challenges he faced and the dreams he dreamt. Shiekh is clear in the manner in which he shows SRK up as a talented and spirited child, no doubt, but one who had to earn his respect, one who was as vulnerable as the next man. But the deftness with which he keeps subtly reminding us that phenomenon was always a-brewing and that the King Khan was a little prince for as long as he remembers, is what gives the book the edge. Any book on the Hindi film industry demands anecdotes, scandals, conflict, gossip and the like. Theres plenty of that in this book. Much has already reached public knowledge through the grapevine but much is brought to light in Shah Rukh Can. And just about each anecdote that Shiekh throws in serves the dual purpose of hooking you to the story and simultaneously opening a new window into the heart and sometimes, the soul of Shah Rukh Khan. How did he get into theatre? How did television happen? What happened at his St. Stephens College interview? How did he behave himself at his marriage? Where was his honeymoon? Why on earth did he ever agree to act in Guddu? Each of these is a story. A storyteller can tell stories. A biographer worth his salt, as Mushtaq Shiekh proves to be, will weave the stories into a coherent narrative of the making ...

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