Life of Shahnaz Husain through a daughter eye

New Delhi: The life of Shahnaz Husain who attained legendary heights in the beauty world for creating a global cosmetic brand that has patrons in personalities like the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn, has been chronicled in a biography.

In a warmly recounted memoir Nelofar Currimbhoy provides a closeup into her mother`s flamboyant persona beginning with her early childhood, marriage at the young age of 16, motherhood soon after as well as the origins and the growth of a business that came to be established as the Shahnaz Husain Group.

"Shahnaz is a dear friend and all of us of my generation and younger generation have grown up inspired by her to look after themselves not only aesthetically but also health wise," said I&B Minister Ambika Soni at a function to release the
biography late Wednesday evening.

The minister pointed out that the glamorous Shahnaz had refused requests from many authors including the author of Princess Diana`s biography to write about her life before finally allowing her daughter to pen the story of a woman who "exuded warmth, friendship and buddiness".

The idea if the present book titled "Flame: The story of my mother Shahnaz Husain" by Hachette India was conceived in a coffee shop session between the mother-daughter duo. The book is priced at Rs 295. "With her quintessential abilities, my mother has risen to become one of India`s foremost businesswoman, a glamorous personality, a formidable competitor to every multinational who has entered the country," said Nelofar.

Shahnaz Husain is CEO, Shahnaz Husain group of companies. Nilofar speaks about Shahnaz Husain`s association with the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. "My mother had a host of celebrity clients and admirers but none as special as Mrs Inidra Gandhi. At the time, mother was constantly quizzed about whether she was responsible for the Prime Minister`s perfect porcelain skin. Today, with so much time gone by, one can come out and say, indeed she was."

Shahnaz, became a regular at the home of Indira Gandhi`s, with whom she began to share an easy camaraderie and for whom she created a special moisturiser, writes the author. The book includes portions of her speech at the Harvard after attending US President Obama`s summit of world entrepreneurs in Washington DC.

Nilofer has managed to tell a story that is as compelling as Shahnaz, a woman who has been fiercely protective of her personal life, according to Hachette India Editor Nandita Aggarwal.

The book takes readers through various stages in Shahnaz`s life,including wedding bereavements and recounts the her struggle setting up a 1800 people brand that retails ayurvedic beauty products starting off from a small clinic in the verandah of her home.

The biography contains pictures of a young Shahnaz with her long tresses, one with her clutching a doll, family portraits of sword fighting tradition followed in her household, pictures of her husband, children, grandchildren.

She is shown photographed with her trademak hair and nosepin with foreign buyers at her herb farm, with author Barbara Cartland in Paris, accepting the Padmashree and with personalities like Hillary Clinton and Cherie Blair.

The biography also mentions how Shahnaz won over the western world with stores at Harrods, Selfridges in London and how her products got popularity in places like the Middle East and other countries. She walked the red carpet at Cannes and has been featured in various international publications.