Nargis and Sunil Dutt were married in 1958. Their marriage gave them much happiness and three children: Sanjay, Namrata and Priya. In 1981, Nargis Dutt died of cancer and in 2005 twenty-four years later, Sunil Dutt suffered a fatal heart attack. This is a deeply touching and thoughtful look at the life and times of stars Nargis and Sunil Dutt, from childhood, through the many ups and downs they faced, to the moment they passed on and became memories forever embedded in the hearts of their children.
Unlike many celebrity biographies, which by necessity often rely on second-hand views and opinions, this book gives us the detailing only a first-hand narrative can offer.
Lavishly illustrated, Mr and Mrs Dutt is an honest and full of feeling account, told by their children who, at a young age, witnessed the many happy and tragic events, the big and small moments of life that shape a family history.
Namrata Dutt Kumar graduated from Sophia Polytechnic in 1982 with a five-year diploma in Commercial Art. She is a trustee of the Nargis Dutt Charitable Trust. She lives in Mumbai with her husband, Kumar Gaurav, and two daughters, Saachi and Siya.
Priya Dutt graduated from Sophia College in 1988 with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and studied television production in New York. She was elected as Member of Parliament in November 2005, representing the North West district, Mumbai, she is a trustee of both the Spastics Society of India and the Nargis Dutt Charitable Trust. She lives in Mumbai with her husband, Owen Roncon, and has a two-year-old son Siddharth and another baby on its way.
People often think the children of film stars lead glamorous and exciting lives, attending countless parties and premieres, but as the children of Nargis and Sunil Dutt, we had a simple, down-to-earth life rooted in strong family values, we were not brought up to think of our parents as famous actors, or even celebrities, nor were we raised as thoughtless and spoilt kids. To us Nargis and Sunil Dutt were just Mom and Dad - caring, warm and wonderful parents, as well as being a husband and wife deeply in love with one another.
The glitz of cinema was not an environment we knew and despite the fact that Mom had begun her career in the 1940s, we did not see her movies until we were much older. Neither were Dad's film activities part of our lives. Of course once Sanjay started acting in 1980 (debuting in Rocky), we became more aware of the film world.
Although our parents came from amazingly different worlds, we had the benefit and joy of receiving the best two most unusual people could offer. After Mom's death in 1981, Dad took on both roles, becoming Mom and Dad to us. It was a magnificent transformation and another proof of how much they had loved each other.
Mom was given tow names when she was born. Her Muslim mother called her Fatima Abdul Rashid, while her Hindu father named her Tejeshwari Uttamchand Mohanchand. But the world knew her as Nargis. When Dad was born, he was named Balraj Raghunath Dutt and later became known as Sunil Dutt. The most incredible part of their story is how two such dissimilar individuals - a Hindu from rural Punjab and a sophisticated Bombayite born into a Muslim family - met and fell in love. The answer lies in the fact that if our parents were unconventional, our grandparents were even more so.
If the reader is looking for an understanding of the films Mom and Dad were involved with, or an analysis of their politics, this is not the book to provide that view. Mr and Mrs Dutt is about their personal and very private lives, seen through precious memories of them. The reminiscences of us three children are at the heart of this book, which also includes letters and pages from childhood albums carefully preserved by our parents so that one day we might recall the invaluable days spent together. Countless photographs, old and worn files, tattered bits of papers and frayed scrap books help us to paint the story of our parents - where they came from, what they had meant to each other and what they continue to mean to us. The aim of this book is to share the things that Mom and Dad told us and taught us. And although the memories of our parents are not confined in this book to one point of view, it is Namrata who carries the narrative in the first person.
We are deeply grateful to our family and many friends who were so generous in recounting their memories of the past. We would like to thank Mr Dheeraj Chawda. Dayanita Singh, Shaukat Khan, Zahida Sahay, Jaywant Ulhal and Anil Gaba for contributing some rare photographs. Thank you to Kishwar and Meghnad Desai for their help. We would also like to thank our editor Nasreen Munni Kabir for her careful work on this book. There are thousands of people in many different countries who knew both Mom and Dad, and we continue to be deeply touched by their affection.
Mr and Mrs Dutt is a celebration and tribute to the exceptional people whom we knew as Mom and Dad. To friends and admirers, they will always be the most remarkable and special people. Seen from the eyes of their children, an unrealistic expectation. In all humility and quite simple, this book is a sentimental journey through cherished memories.
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