Frankly, it’s not really a book review. It’s more of a love affair with a book which happens to be my hardly-known-to-me hero’s autobiography.
Biddu was a name that I had read a lot of times, on a lot of tracks that I loved during the Indipop revolution of mid to late ’90s. And so, somehow without even knowing him much, he was a hero for me. At that time, all I knew about Biddu was that he was a guy who didn’t know much Hindi (that was my reason that he didn’t sing himself and didn’t take out his own album) and most probably he lived outside India. That he was a south Indian was my common sense because he didn’t know Hindi.
Now when I suddenly saw his autobiography in Crossword, it was an instant pick for me that I started reading right away, finishing 30+ pages in the first time itself. Before this I didn’t even know how he looked so this was certainly interesting for me. Yes, this is my bad that I had searched little about a person who had once been my hero at a time when I could.
So finally I started reading the book and the first very first sentence of his first chapter was lovable. Biddu says, “I was born at a time when man had learnt to walk upright.” The childhood days of Biddu are interesting and his journey from Bangalore to Calcutta, Mumbai, and Middle East, finally ending in London, is something worth reading. Once he earns success, things start to get a bit boring but thankfully his sense of humor adds a lot to the book and keeps the reader interested even when things are not so interesting.
His back to India parts might not be that good for a patriotic Indian (like me?) as one might have wanted them to be since he doesn’t write much about his association with Indipop of ’90s and summarizes it pretty fast, or so I felt as my knowledge about Biddu started and ended in that part itself. Though there was a part of Biddu’s tryst with India that I had no idea about – his filmmaking. Yes, in case you don’t know, Biddu produced an Indian film (a Hindi film to be more precise), Star. And Biddu has written quite some stories about that.
Overall, I loved the autobiography of a musician who has not only been my hero once but has also made his country proud, outside and inside the country. Read it if you are an Indian and/or into music, and would like to dive deeper into the earlier life of a musician.