There is little doubt that 2017 is a great year for Indian readers. But while we wait for new books by acclaimed authors including Salman Rushdie, Jeet Thayil and Arundhati Roy, along with the biographies of Ratan Tata and Ruskin Bond to release, here are five biographies of much-talked-about Indian, from earlier this year, that should keep you occupied till the big ones start rolling.
An Unsuitable Boy, Karan Johar
Yes, we’re recommending this book. Karan Johar’s gift of the gab as well as the many controversies surrounding An Unsuitable Boy’s content make this a must-read. There is no insider in Bollywood who knows the industry as well as Johar does, so reading about his point of view on the industry is important for anyone who loves movies. Thankfully, the book is written in a breezy style, with Johar speaking up on a range of topics that show he’s a man who isn’t afraid to talk his mind. An Unsuitable Boy achieves a rare blend of candidness and bitchiness that only Johar could have pulled off.
Khullam Khulla, Rishi Kapoor
It is rare to come across the kind of honesty with which Kapoor has written Khullam Khulla along with veteran film journalist Meena Iyer. The reader can imagine the grandeur of movie-making in the ’70s and ’80s as Kapoor talks about his early career and peppers the book with interesting trivia. From having conversations with Dawood Ibrahim to talking about the Kapoor legacy spanning from Raj Kapoor to his son Ranbir, and other interesting details about personalities like Sanjay Dutt, Jeetendra and Amitabh Bachchan, this is a biography that is eminently readable for more reasons than one.
The Man Who Became Khali, The Great Khali
Dalip Singh Rana, whom we know as Khali, released his biography at a low-key affair early this year. The Man Who Became Khali charts Rana’s story, right from his youth, when he was ridiculed for his physique, to working as a labourer to his as-yet unknown love story. The book revels in revealing little-known anecdotes about Khali. The wrestler also reveals details about WWE, being the first Indian to play the wrestling entertainment tournament. Just shy of 200 pages, the simply-written book can be completed in a day.
Akhada: The Authorised Biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat, Saurabh Duggal
The Phogat sisters’ story refuses to fade away. After Dangal became the most successful movie in Indian box-office history, the curiosity around Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita’s incredible achievements at Commonwealth and Olympic Games has only increased. If you thought the movie was melodramatic, then this book is just right for you. Akhada puts the father-and-daughters relationship in perspective, and also includes little nuggets that the movie missed out on. It also subtly conveys the many gender discriminations that the Phogat family had to overcome on their road to success.
Foot Soldier Of The Constitution, Teesta Setalvad
The only offbeat read from our list, Teesta Setalvad’s memoir, Foot Soldier Of The Constitution, is a heavy read that will make you question our so-called ‘system’ even as it opens the wounds of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Setalvad reminds us of the bloodshed and fanatical killings, while also providing an account of her fight for justice for victims of the attack. The activist is brave enough to call gau-rakshaks the ‘cow Taliban’ and describes the Godhra attack as an orchestrated genocide rather than a spontaneous riot. What you take away from the book is up to you, but there is little doubt that this is a book that make you very uncomfortable by the time you finish reading it.
Mega Chiranjeevitham, Chiranjeevi
To coincide with South actor Chiranjeevi’s 150th movie Khaidi No. 150, the actor has released his biography, titled Mega Chiranjeevitham, that charts his story right from his humble beginnings to becoming a superstar in South India. Written with senior journalist Pasupaleti Rama Rao, the book was released only recently, and contains posters of the actor’s entire body of work. Recommended for die-hard fans and for those who want to understand the method to the madness of South Indian movies.
How To Be A Bawse, Lilly Singh
The girls are surely going to stand in queue for this one. Lilly Singh, aka Superwoman, is releasing her biography at the end of the month. The book, called How To Be A Bawse, is available for pre-order and has been praised for living up to the tone that Singh is known to use in her YouTube videos. Expect witty, slightly loud, mostly honest and an accurate re-telling of Singh’s life from obscurity to being one of the most popular YouTubers of all time. And since we’re talking about being ‘bawssy’, expect tips from Singh on how to be smart and confident in your own life as well. All in all, this one seems extremely promising.
Like this article? Also read: These Are the Books Bhagat Singh Loved to Read