Sanjay's open book
There's good news to flag off the new year. After the health scare that found him missing from action last year, Mithun Chakraborty is back in the studios. It's not just those sedentary sittings as a judge on some reality show but back to work as an actor.
It was a pleasant surprise to find him working on a new film being made by Anil Sharma, the man who helmed the Sunny Deol blockbuster, Gadar, and the Deol family drama, Apne. To shake off the feeling of a filmmaker behind times, Anil Sharma took off for the US and London for one-and-a-half years and did nothing but watch movies, plays and update himself on life as it is today in the modern world.
He's returned to launch his son, Utkarsh Sharma. Utkarsh had played Sunny Deol's son, Jeete, in Gadar and he debuts in a film titled Genius. Himesh Reshammiya (another man who's out to prove that you can't write him off just yet) is on board for the music. Genius, the film, doesn't have the new hero buffed up, riding a motorbike or a horse or speeding in fancy wheels as his introduction. In fact, his unconventional debut appearance is with veteran Mithun Chakraborty, in a work-related face-off that's more brainy than brawny. It was good to see not only a fresh face but also an old favourite back in action. Whatever the ailment that had caused some anxiety, Mithunda is fighting fit and that is good news for now.
Fighting to look fit are the over-50s, especially Salman Khan. While everybody knows about the hair treatment that he needs every year, a necessity that he's pretty open about, few know that he also has regular work done every few weeks on the bags under his eyes. He undergoes treatment in which an instrument sucks out the fat or whatever deposits create those age-revealing bags under the eyes. Every time he does it, he looks healthy and fresh. But it's scary. Although he's nonchalant about it, any procedure near the eye makes one hold one's breath until it's done. And Salman does it so frequently.
But he continues to be the invincible one-man army, providing the air beneath the wings of many. Take for instance rubber man Prabhudhevaa, the actor-director who can stretch and contort his body for any dance move. Prabhu may be going through a fallow period after the failure of outdated films like R...Rajkumar and Action Jackson, but he has something to look forward to. Dabangg 3 is being scripted and this time Arbaaz Khan will remain only a hands-on producer as Prabhu has been given the captain's job. Way back in 2009, it was Prabhu who had directed Salman in Wanted, a film that set off his golden streak at the box office. It's payback time and on that front, Salman is not known to default.
Meanwhile, Salman's mother turned 80 and Arpita (married into the richie-rich politically-connected Sukhram family from Himachal Pradesh) invited all of Salma's friends to a swank sit-down meal at her apartment. Each guest had a menu card before her and a little gift waiting. Of course, all of them sat down and played cards all afternoon, too.
Neither Salman nor Salim Khan wants to write an autobiography but there's a Juhu Khan who's been signed by Penguin. Sanjay Khan is writing his life story, which his wife Zarine says will be quite a read. I'm sure he'll include his secret marriage and (violent) separation from Zeenat Aman. But wonder if he'll admit to the physical assault on Zee that ended their relationship and damaged one of her eyes forever. Also, Zee's pragmatic mother's worry was over money and property. Sanjay (Abbas in real life) and Zee had had a secret nikaah, so when they broke up, her mother ran to lawyers to ensure that the personal law doesn't give the husband rights to the wife's assets. Or that Zee isn't held liable for anything he might owe anybody. It was one of the ugliest break-ups we've seen. If Sanjay Khan's autobiography is honest and as colourful as his life has been, it will be quite a read.
Bharathi S. Pradhan is a senior journalist and author