Monday, 30th October 2017

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A tale of changing relationships

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  • Published 20.07.08

A twitter from Chennai tattles that Kamal Hassan’s first-born, Shruti (in picture), is packing her bags for a long shooting stint in South Africa for her Hindi film debut, Ashtavinayak’s Luck. The buzz is that her dad’s live-in girlfriend, actress Gautami, with whom Shruti gets along like a house on fire, is also packing her bags for South Africa, as escort for the young debutant.

What an intense tale of changing relationships!

Just a few years ago, after the rather dramatic Sarika had walked out on Kamal and taken her two daughters with her, Shruti had watched her mom and empathised with her struggle to begin life anew in Mumbai. Prior to the walk-out, there had also been the ‘accident’ where Sarika had taken a toss out of the balcony and was hospitalised. Whatever her methods to garner Kamal’s attention, nothing worked with the essentially polygamous actor. Kamal never hid it either, he was a disaster at marriages and said that about himself. Whatever made Sarika think that the man who’d cheated on first wife Vani Ganapathy wouldn’t do it to her too? If Kamal could snatch forbidden moments with Sarika at the erstwhile Holiday Inn in Juhu, when wife Vani wasn’t looking, and announce that a love child was on its way, whoever expected him to remain faithful to Sarika?

Anyway, once Shruti grew up and could make adult choices, she walked out on mom Sarika and moved into dad Kamal’s bungalow in Chennai. Yes, with his live-in girlfriend Gautami and her daughter! Shruti, to be fair to Kamal and Gautami, has flowered wonderfully with them and the bond she now shares with her dad and G is rare and close. Shruti hasn’t looked back since she left her mom and even when she was in Mumbai last week, performing at the Blue Frog, she didn’t touch base with Sarika. Shruti, by the way, is a hard rock singer and she performs live at elite night clubs.

One may recall here that years ago, actress Sarika had also walked out on her single mother and struck out on her own. All through her happy times with Kamal and the kids, Sarika never really did patch up with her mother in Mumbai. Perhaps the actress now knows how a single parent feels to be separated from one’s own daughter.

Life does come full circle.

That way, Shruti’s Luck co-star, Imran Khan of Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na fame, who also comes from a broken home, has a life without rancour. Imran’s dad, a Hindu, had left his mother (late film-maker Nasir Husain’s daughter and Mansoor Khan’s sister, Nusrat) when the actor was just a kid. Imran grew up in his mother’s house, in Nasir Husain’s sprawling Pali Hill bungalow. His mother later married a character actor called Raj Zutshi before divorcing him too. But Imran has had a steady life in the bungalow and he has an easy friendship with his real dad as well as with Raj Zutshi.

Imran’s story is so today, it stands for all that India does. There was a time when Yusuf Khan had to call himself Dilip Kumar, Mehjabeen turned Meena Kumari and Abbas Khan had to take the Hindu screen name Sanjay, to be accepted in Hindi films.

Today, Imran does not take his father’s surname Pal, but prefers to take his mother’s surname. A Khan sells better than any other surname and that endorses the changing face of a truly secular India!


It isn’t a question of religion but of making a choice. Prateik, Smita Patil’s son with married man Raj Babbar, who was brought up by his mother’s family, did just the opposite of Imran. Prateik too was recently seen in Jaane Tu… as heroine Genelia’s reclusive brother. Off-screen, he saw tragedy at the hospital itself when his famous mother died within ten days of giving birth to him. Raj Babbar and his wife Nadira had two kids of their own, so the Patils felt that Smita’s son would get the best attention only from them. But as the years rolled by, Nadira and her kids came around and had no problems accepting Prateik as one of their own. They are all so close today that when Jaane Tu… was premiered, Raj Babbar (who was in the midst of hectic Delhi politics to prop up Sonia Gandhi’s government) took time off and fetched up with Nadira and son Arya to be with Prateik on his big night. So, although he grew up as Prateik Patil, when he turned actor, it was as Prateik Babbar!

Bharathi S. Pradhan is managing editor Movie Mag International