Biographies and autobiographies are my favourite genre of books—there’s something exceptionally personal and intimate about the real stories of real people, who have made their mark in the world with their grit, passion, work, fearlessness, and relentless desire to be different. These titles have taken me through a gamut of emotions—I remember being awe-inspired by Viola Davis’s nerve-wracking and horrifying journey and thoroughly charmed by Rishi Kapoor’s candour—both left me with newer perspectives. These are books I would recommend for a lazy Sunday read for an insight into an often misunderstood world of glamour and a tad bit of inspiration. And if you want to experiment with the genre, here’s a list to get you started.
Stories I must tell: The emotional life of an actor by Kabir Bedi
With a career spanning three continents and a few decades, Kabir Bedi has some of the most incredible experiences to share. He bares his soul into this book—beginning with what he describes as a magical encounter with the Beatles in Delhi, and goes on to tell the story of moving to Mumbai, away from his home and family; his exciting years in advertising; his travels; and his setbacks. He lets the reader in on his relationships, the adventures of working in the film industry, and the battle of saving his schizophrenic son.
Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor uncensored by Rishi Kapoor
True to the title (inspired by the actor’s famous song by the same name), Rishi Kapoor’s story is as honest, candid, and open as it can get. Only a few actors in Hindi cinema have had such a versatile and tumultuous career arc as his—from the romantic and ever-so-charming young man in his twenties to a mature and wise father figure in the latter part of his journey. In his book, Kapoor embraces his inner Punjabi while sharing experiences of living in the shadow of his legendary father, his love affair with acting that began with Mera Naam Joker, an encounter with Dawood Ibrahim, and a lot more. He writes in detail about his craft and how he navigated his way through clinical depression. Overall, we love the book for its wholeheartedness, fun, and energy.
Finding Me by Viola Davis
“My biggest discovery was that you can literally re-create your life. You can redefine it. You don’t have to live in the past. I found that not only did I have fight in me, I had love.” This line is a testament to Viola Davis’s journey. She’s been through it all—abuse, assault, racial discrimination. Through her book, she showed the courage to relive these experiences and heal from them. Davis takes the reader through her traumatic childhood of bed-wetting and being chased, beaten up, and neglected. She tells us about her first inkling for acting, and how it served as an escape from the reality she lived in. This heart-wrenching read will leave you feeling grateful, inspired, and informed of the reality of the African American community in ‘60s America.
Unfinished by Priyanka Chopra
Unfinished by actor, entrepreneur, and new mama, Priyanka Chopra narrates the story of her life so far. She writes about her two worlds—the one of her childhood and early years in India and the one she lives now in the United States with her husband, Nick Jonas. From winning a global pageant at 17 and having an enthralling acting career, to navigating her way as a singer in a new country—she’s done it all. Her bold, rebellious, and courageous personality is reflected in her words as she pens down the triumphs, the obstacles, and everything in between. What we loved most about the book was that it was well…unfinished. Her journey is yet to unfold and we can hardly wait to see what’s in store.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Greenlights by actor Matthew McConaughey is unconventional and off-the-beaten-path. The book describes his journey of navigating 'this riddle known as life' (so he describes it). “This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops,” he writes, describing the book. And it is just that. The book takes us through his passions, trials, tribulations, and twists and turns along the way. The read will leave you feeling inspired beyond imagination.