It was interesting to interview with Mr. Frank Huzur few years back in connection with Pakistan India relationships. He was writing biography of legendary Pakistani Cricketer later turned to politician Mr. Imran Khan. I inquired “why not an Indian” and “why a celebrity from Pakistan.” He replied,
” I was fascinated with Imran since early childhood, more so because of his acute concern for social evils like corruption and poverty. There are a great number of crusaders in my country. But in those days it was mesmerizing for me to discover these qualities in a cricketer. I never thought a sportsman of legendary status can be so selfless. He is not opening restaurant or building mall or investing in real estate like most of the sportsmen in our part of the world do. He was building hospital and university. This was a very enlightening experience.”
Now his book has been published and soon will be available in Pakistani markets. I have talked to him regarding problems he faced while writing biography of Mr. Imran Khan. here is what he told:
It has taken me over 1500 days across 4 years to complete the definitive biography of Imran Khan: Imran Versus Imran: The Untold Story. Running around in the course of research, live-spot interviews and sneaking into street chit-chat about the Subject (Imran Khan) in streets of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London, Birmingham, Bradford and other locations in UK has been one helluva of a remarkable journey. The path was not strewn with roses all the way. Rather, there was a time when the ride turned virtually bumpy. There are scores of anecdotes to share and record in the search of Imran Khan, the politician and philanthropist and Casanova cricketer. One rib-tickling incidents I could recall for the benefit of readers at the moment is my run-in with a butcher from Turkey in London. When I asked him about Imran Khan, he wondered whether he was the son of Mohammed Al Fayed, the Egyptian tycoon who owned Harrod’s at the time. Then he corrected himself and teased me, “Now I know who is Imran Khan. He is a Pathan warrior who is fighting to restore the old glory of Islamic Caliphate.”
Indeed, I read all the previous work on Imran Khan, his cricketing biographies by Ivo Tennant, Christopher Sandford, his autobiography and various other sources and streams of information available over my subject. Besides, I relied on my personal access to Imran Khan and his family, friends, ex-cricket colleagues and hundreds of workers of his fledgling political party, Tehreek-e-Insaf and scores of volunteers and workers at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital Research Centre. I spent a considerable period of time in the shadow of Imran Khan, accompanied him on several political rallies, talk shows in Pakistan, India and UK.
I was born in a sleepy town of India, Patna, the provincial capital of Bihar. My fascination with Imran goes back to my early days at school. I grew up admiring his cricketing exploits, his tactical wonders as a captain of a highly talented yet temperamental squad. While I was taking to professional writing as a career, he was on the course of debuting in national politics of Pakistan. Being a student of his game, his crusade for building a state-of-the-art Cancer Hospital in memorial of his mother, Shaukat Khanum and his jet-set celebrity lifestyle, I decided to write a definitive biography of Imran. It was not an easy journey for a writer of Indian nationality and origin to accomplish the tall task. Without establishing direct contact with Imran, it was virtually next to impossible to pen a credible work.
My passion to do justice to my instinctual fascination with Imran Khan encouraged me to visit Pakistan on eight occasions in the last four years. There was high-voltage confidence within me to push the boundaries in writing the biography. More so as international press and his previous biographers in addition to acerbic Pakistani press have been focusing more on his off-the-political pitch, rather than his core political ideology. He was reviled more often for his dalliance with beauties of the world rather than building a poor man’s gold in heart of Lahore or for hitting his streets to create massive awareness in populace about education, health and corruption.
I wanted to set the record straight. There was intense belief and drive within me to peel off layer after layer of Imran Khan, the Enigma. I embarked on a journey pregnant with multiple arrows of high and low. Quite a great number of political and social commentators in Pakistan ridiculed my ambitious drive to write a non-cricketing biography of Imran Khan. Some observers quipped, ‘Imran Khan political life and times can be summed up in three pages, not three hundred or six hundred pages. He is not a politician, but a cricketer and a womanizer.’
I retorted each time over being doled out with the stereotype saying the world knows what the press has been reporting. Even while Imran Khan is a disaster in political minefield of his homeland, it does make a great story in trial by fire. What if he didn’t succeed in one go?
I realized there are many shades to odyssey of Imran Khan. He has taken to politics like duck to water, yet he doesn’t swim across the banks of brothing river. There was tremendous amount of dedication in the pursuit of his unknown, hitherto untold stories.
I believe I have been able to achieve more than little what I had set for myself considering the fact that this biography has been undertaken in the face of terrible political violence, terrorist naked dance in history of Pakistan.
Imran, in course of four years, has emerged as the biggest hope for a vast crowd of disenchanted and disgruntled Pakistanis. His stainless political account arouses great hope in those who are sick with the military and pseudo-democratic set up, tugging at apron strings of the Western doles.
At end of the day, I was convinced that the real story of Imran Khan, a legendary cricketer-turned-philanthropist, celebrity fund-raiser for the causes of downtrodden, underprivileged and politician has not been told. I simply wanted to tell the story in real time. Imran Versus Imran is a story of grit, grind, gut, heart, soul and crusade of Imran Khan. It maps out nearly all the virgin territories in his life and times, which has hitherto remained behind the curtain.
The reader will find the biography, Imran Versus Imran-The Untold Story gratifying read on many counts. First, this is the first of its kind, not a cricket biography alone. There is as much thrust and hit on cricketing legends of Imran, as it is about his social crusade against corruption, terrorism, criminalization of politics and independence of judiciary. Politics, education, healthcare, celebrity hotspots buzz, confessions, controversies unknown so far and the secret to his romantic associations and a powerful account of his nine years old marriage with the British beauty Jemima Goldsmith Khan.
The reader will feel satiated at end of the day with the exclusive account of Jemima Khan. Her story is absorbing and motivating in myriad ways. She has shared her moments of joy and sorrow in a very intense manner.
The reader will be face to face with Imran Khan in the role of a husband, a father, a family man and his struggle to strike a chord between celebrity commitment, political engagements and domestic compulsions.
Similarly, the biographical novel opens the door to Imran Khan’s private moments of rest and recreation, his moments in contemplation and conflict, his battle with personal demons and deviations as well as his incessant and unquestionable pursuit of his faith, Islam and the roots of trouble spots in modern times of terrorism and violence. The most powerful side of the book is the candid confession of Imran Khan and Jemima about their personal and public life. Jemima has been brutally honest in owning up some very ethical and moral issues, so has been Imran. Both the characters are honest to the hilt and don’t go on ego-trip like many celebrities couple.