KARACHI: Emraan Hashmi isn’t our regular Bollywood star. His proficiency in the genre he has so nonchalantly created during a rather conservative Bollywood era, and his convincing performances have often left us baffled about his mysterious personality, as little is ever highlighted about his personal life. However, The Kiss Of Life manages to swiftly take us through his journey from being a careless hippy during college to a responsible affectionate father.
The Kiss Of Life is Hashmi’s first book, penned with help from Bilal Siddiqui, highlighting a father’s struggle to save his son from a debilitating disease, cancer. The book opens not only via an emotional account of Hashmi learning about his son’s building tumour, but also gives a glimpse of India’s costing celebrity culture. Trying to find his way to the doctor, few hours after Ayaan’s traumatic surgery, Hashmi narrates how he stops a compounder to guide him through only to be asked for an autograph instead.
Smartly transitioning through the emotions of sorrow and grief to that of triumph and happiness, Hashmi manages to keep the readers hooked, not giving too much or too little of either phases of his life. The book is kept engaging with many anecdotes about his Bollywood life that Hashmi shares intermittently.
When four-year-old Ayaan was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, Hashmi had signed three movies – Raja Natwarlal, Mr. X and Hamaari Adhuri Kahaani. Although he went on to give his 100% for the movies, while leaving Ayaan in Canada for chemotherapy, the pain that Hashmi underwent through this period is neatly summarised through the chapters. As you flip through the pages, the period of uncertainty, the suspense about the cure, the suggestions around various medications, the multiple opinions sought, and above all, the mental and physical trauma faced by the one who is suffering from cancer and those around him, is bound to leave the reader teary-eyed.
However, what serves as the best part of the book, which may read like a textbook, are the guidelines and medications for cancer that Hashmi mentions throughout. Without sounding preachy, The Kiss of Life is the story of a father’s unending love for his son and his desire to save him, even if it means playing Batman to help little Ayaan cope.
The writer is a subeditor at The Express Tribune Commissioning desk. She tweets @ChauhanNisma
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2016.