In a grand affair on Saturday evening at Kalamandir, actor-turned-director Dev Anand released the biography of patriarch of the Birla clan BK Birla (90)— Basant Kumar Birla & Sarala Birla: Life has no full stops.
The biography has been penned by Rashme Sehgal. Film star Amitabh Bachchan has written the foreword, and the book has been published by Amaryllis.
Also present at the book release was Sarala Birla (87), BK Birla’s wife of 69 years. Echoing her husband’s Gandhian values, she said the Mahatma had taught them that “wealth could be amassed but must be spent for public use”.
She also shared with the audience stories of their courtship days, much to the entertainment of the audience. “I wrote him a letter after our engagement. The whole family read it before he did,” she recalled. As the story goes, BK Birla replied to the letter, but only after he sought his father GD Birla’s permission.
When asked what quality she cherished the most about her partner, Sarala Birla said with a smile, “everything”.
The couple also told the audience that the most difficult moment of their lives was the passing away of their son Aditya Birla.
Speaking at the book launch, Rajashree Birla, wife of the late Aditya Birla, said the occasion was meant to celebrate the contribution of the duo to the development of the country, in spheres like education and, art and culture. “The new generation must read it like the Bible,” she said.
On stage and donning a scarf in his signature style, Dev Anand said BK Birla was one of the most favoured sons of India and recalled an incident when he sat next to his father, GD Birla, on a flight. “I left everything to be here today. BK babu has been a friend for decades,” he told HT.