On the racks – September 2022


In the shadow of a legend: Dilip Kumar

Author                  : Faisal Farooqui
Publisher             : Om International
Pages                    : 186; Rs 439

As an ardent Dilip Kumar fan, I was extremely excited to know that a book about the “ultimate method actor” as Satyajit Ray called the legend, was out just within a year of his death. I greedily laid my hands on In the shadow of a legend: Dilip Kumar written by his long time adoring fan and spokesperson Faisal Farooqui, to get an additional insight into the man… beyond his fascinating biography/autobiography Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow, written by the film journalist Udaya Tara Nayan and published in 2014.

Call it sad or ironic, it is the author’s excessive admiration and awe for the man that comes in the way of the narrative being interesting or gripping. And most of the text descends to fawning admiration and mere hero worship of the man. But if as a reader you are willing to set aside these flaws, and are a real fan of that mesmerising charmer, that drop dead gorgeous pathan from Peshawar, you need to have a copy of this book in your library. For Faisal does give us some interesting and intimate anecdotes from the actor’s life, which make him come through as the endearing human being that he was… that doting friends like Dharmendra talk about.

Read this book to find out how a great and established actor like Dilip would make time to inaugurate a random dermatologist’s clinic, attend a wedding, or any other event, just because he had promised he would do so. “This inspired trust, respect, honour and faith in his word.”

There are many gems in this book which talk about the mega star’s passion for reading all kinds of books, his love for literature and poetry, the earnest role and hard work he put into developing Jogger’s Park in Mumbai, and also his sheer joy in discovering the eternal melody ‘Ae mere dil kahi aur chal’ on YouTube on the author’s phone.



Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar

Author                  : Rohini Nilekani
Publisher             : Rohini Nilekani
Pages                    : 264
Free download/Private distribution

In this book, the focus is on the ‘citizen-first’ approach when it comes to either society, government or the markets, as the author sums up her varied experiences in the civic sector over three decades. In this collection of her articles, speeches and experiences, she recalls the setting up of a public charitable trust Nagarik in 1992, for ensuring safe roads. That initiative crashed “because we were unable to sustain a momentum of citizen interest and involvement,” she says.

But over the years, her journey as a philanthropist evolved; she joined the board of the Ashoka Trust, a not-for-profit trust for the environment. She went on to co-found one of the best educational ventures for underprivileged children by funding Pratham Books “to democratise the joy of reading”. Watching children’s eyes light up when a good storybook is put into their hands gave her immense pleasure. A journalist by profession, Rohini Nilekani was now referred to as a “social entrepreneur” and in 2005, when she got “some serious money” through the sale of her Infosys shares, she put it all into Arghyam to support the water sector in India.

As she expresses deep concern on the degradation of the environment, depleting water resources and a plethora of problems faced by citizens, the author says they will have to demand good governance, by coming out of “lackadaisical attitude towards governance practices”. Only a strong samaaj will be able to get the desired results. A must read for those who believe in self-help through activism, struggle and belief.

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