As ‘rebel’ MP Shatrughan Sinha jumps to the axed Kirti Azad’s support, observers ask: will he be next? We look for answers in these excerpts from his recently released official biography, Anything but Khamosh
When it is about Shatrughan Sinha, it is straight from the lip. Journalist-writer Bharathi Pradhan’s official biography ‘Anything but Khamosh’ is in true Shotgun style. The biography, released on December 21, delves into the actor’s political and personal life, including his famous affair with Reena Roy, which continued even after his marriage to Poonam Sinha and his love-hate relationship with the BJP, which continues till today.
Khamosh and Shatru? Never. The book cover
Producer Pahlaj Nihalani, one of Shatrughan’s closest friends during his stint in films and in his career as a politician, endorsed Poonam’s graciousness about the situation with Reena Roy. Pahlaj’s professional association with SS began with Hathkadi (1982), which also starred Sanjeev Kumar and Reena Roy in important roles. And he was caught in the crossfire between the two lovers.
“After Hathkadi, I was keen to repeat the same setup of Shatru, Reena, Sanjeev Kumar for my next film, Aandhi Toofan,” divulged the producer. “But Reena said a firm, ‘No’ to my offer. She said to me, ‘Tell your friend to make up his mind. If he gives me an answer, I’ll do the next film with him. Otherwise, it’s a “No”. I’ve made up my mind that if he doesn’t marry me, I’m going to get married in eight days.”
In 1982, Shatrughan was already married to Poonam but was still emotionally bound to Reena Roy and wouldn’t cut off ties with her. “Sonu (Shatrughan Sinha) was shooting at night for a film called Telephone (1985) in a hotel in Juhu when I went across and repeated Reena’s message to him,” Pahlaj gave the details. “He called her up and cried like a baby. For the first time, I saw him cry; he was very emotionally involved with her.
That was the one time I spoke up and told him, ‘Let go, let her get married.’
In 2014, the politics within his party had almost brought him to breaking point, almost up for grabs to an Opposition party.
“Amit Shah, our Party President, had predicted with great confidence that we would win with 2/3rd majority. Perhaps it had become a habit with him because he had said the same thing in Delhi also. But ultimately we got only two or three seats there instead of 2/3rd,” SS smirked. “Right from State President Mangal Panday to Sushil Kumar Modi to Rajiv Pratap Rudy to Shahnawaz Hussain, anybody and everybody repeated his words like parrots with full zeal, enthusiasm and over confidence.”
In the media too, no anchor, pollster or journalist had counted on the possibility that the Shatrughan Sinha/Bihari Babu effect (i.e. the voice of dissidence) could also be a contributory factor in the Bihar elections.
By the time the Bihar Assembly elections rolled along, the disregard for SS had snowballed. The new frontline of the party blocked him to the point where his open dissidence was ignored like he just didn’t matter. There was hurt and humiliation.
“Just as you find messages like ‘Prabhu, ab tera hi sahara (Lord, now you’re my only support)’ behind lorries and trucks, I was left with no other sahara but to use Twitter as my platform,” he said.
He used Twitter to air his comments, “unabashedly and effectively”.
His tweets, which he considered more advisory than accusatory, cautioned his party not to underestimate Nitish Kumar. He openly said, “Don’t count on the anti-incumbency factor because there is no anti-incumbency evident anywhere in Bihar”, and tweeted on the need to name a chief ministerial candidate from the party.
There was disbelief and disappointment in SS as Hema Malini and Ajay Devgn were brought in to campaign for the BJP in Bihar. It was like a personal affront to his celebrity worth. Both actors were people he respected —Devgn was his daughter’s co-star; Hema was a family friend. But what was their grassroots connect with Bihar?
“Some people in Bihar who conveniently played deaf-mute hijacked the party. They were not ready to listen to (me) or to speak (to me). That’s how they created an impression, which the Opposition seized as an opportunity, and the ‘Bihari versus Bahari’ (Outsider) slogan was coined.
Extracted with permission from Om Books International
From Anything But Khamosh: The Shatrughan Sinha Biography
By Bharathi S Pradhan
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