To Mr. and Mrs. Dutt, with love

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Mr. and Mrs. Dutt: Memories of our Parents, Namrata Dutt Kumar and Priya Dutt, Roli Books, Rs. 695

The past few weeks have seen at least three efforts to chronicle the off- and on-screen lives of yesteryear stars — Vyjayanthimala Bali, Sunil and Nargis Dutt and Dev Anand. While the first and the last penned their own memoirs, the Dutt couple has been chronicled ever so lovingly by their daughters Namrata Dutt Kumar and Priya Dutt.

With actor parents and a sibling to boot in the film industry, theirs is a life spent in the limelight; more so in the age of 24x7 news television where the cameras were omnipresent to catch even that stray tear trickling down when brother Sanjay was sent to prison. Still, the family retained its cherished space as is evident from the book.

Though it is the elder of the two sisters who carries the narrative in the book, the bonding between the siblings is there for all to see; in word and in picture. Take for instance the reproduction of the two rupee coupons that Sanjay gave his sisters when they visited him in Thane prison for Rakshabandhan in 1994.

Set entirely in black and white — with colour taken out of even the pictures of most recent date — the choice of these stark shades complements the narrative that has all the trappings of a reel story; complete with courtroom drama. Only, this one’s for real.

And, though it is a sentimental journey, the Dutt sisters must be complimented for not papering over the warts in their family. Film buffs and gossips are bound to say there are more skeletons in the cupboard, but then everyone has the right to privacy and these sisters make no bones about this book being a labour of love.



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