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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

Dabangg Bride

Over the years, much has changed inside Ramayan, the Sinha residence. For one, it is wife Poonam who quietly wears the pants in the house

Bharathi S. Pradhan Published 23.06.24, 07:57 AM

There was a time when this TMC MP would say that if wishes were horses, he would want a ghar jamai (a son-in-law who lives with his wife’s family) because he couldn’t bear the idea of his daughter moving out. “I cannot imagine the house without Sona,” he would say.

However, although once conservative and chauvinistic, Shatrughan Sinha is a man who has kept pace with changing times. Daughter Sonakshi who shares his initials and is a female version of her strong-willed dad, has had much to do with it.

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Over the years, much has changed inside Ramayan, the Sinha residence. For one, it is wife Poonam who quietly wears the pants in the house. The seemingly docile bride Shatru brought home in 1980 hid an educated Libran with opinions of her own. An early instance was when she overruled his objections and sent Luv and Kush to a boarding school in Kodai-kanal. Perhaps his compliance had to do with his traditional mindset where the wife was the Home Minister, responsible for the house and kids, while the man was the Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister (pun intended).

Six years after the birth of her twins, Promi also got her way when she went ahead with her next pregnancy, the gynaecologist looking at the big-boned baby’s sonography and pronouncing another male child. Shatru was near Calcutta shooting for Goutam Ghose’s Antarjali Yatra when Sonakshi made her surprise appearance in June 1987, upturning the gynaec’s prediction. That moment marked the beginning of Shatru’s transformation.

He wasn’t a dad who changed nappies or burped the baby but when plump little Sona demanded “godi”, he carried her in his arms and panted up three storeys on her first day at school. Her ability to wrap him around her little finger has been consistent.

He may have wanted Promi to wrap up her acting career but he watched Sona’s strides with pride and accepted with admiration her metamorphosis from daddy’s girl to an independent individual. At one time, Sona would sit and listen to him taping his interviews with me for his biography, Anything But Khamosh. The day Dabangg took off, she not just became her own person but also turned fiercely protective of her mother whose confidence soared alongside Sonakshi’s growth. Much of Sona’s decisions have been gently conveyed to Shatru by Promi, like a re-run of his life where he struck out on a path of his own with his mother as his staunchest ally. Like father, like daughter.

For a dad who’d joked about a ghar jamai, he supported Sona when she moved out and set up a home of her own while her brothers stayed on in Ramayan. Shatru proudly went to his daughter’s house when she threw a party for him on his birthday last December.

Years ago, when the controversial AIB Roast (2015) happened and there was Right-wing uproar over Sonakshi’s presence at the event, Shatru had pondered over his official response to it. Those were early days, so he didn’t say she was an adult who could make her own decisions and learn from them. But gradually, he has learnt to believe that Sona is a big little girl with the ability to take mature decisions of her own.

Contrary to stories about family disapproval, Promi has sent out personal invites which read: “Dear… We have some good news for you. Sonakshi is getting married on the 23rd of June and we would love you to share our joy. Promi, Sonu & Sinha Parivar”.

Shatru has been busy with his own political career, flying to Delhi after his victory from Asansol before coming to Mumbai. It has given him no time to be hands-on with the planning but there’s no question of not being with his daughter on her big day today. “Sona’s the apple of my eye. Always has been. How can I not share her happiness and bless her?” he wondered.

PS: If all goes well, I will be at the Sinha celebrations this evening.

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