×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

‘Aur ahista reminds me of innocent times’

'I could not meet Pankaj Udhas at the shoot because our schedules didn’t match. I met him much later, in Mumbai, after the song had become a hit. I thanked him for choosing me. But instead, he humbly gave me credit for working hard,' Reddy tells DH.
Last Updated 02 March 2024, 00:06 IST

My parents liked ghazals. The songs of Jagjit Singh and Pankaj Udhas always played in our house. I truly discovered Pankaj Udhas when I was given the chance to feature in ‘Aur ahista kijiye baatein’ (for his 1998 pop ghazal album ‘Stolen Moments’). I heard the song on a scratch cassette and asked myself if I could do it. I did not have formal training in acting. I was expected to stand next to a foreigner on a harbour in Sydney, looking cute and coy in a salwar-kameez. I accepted the role because which 19-year-old would refuse an all-expense paid trip to Australia. However, I was nervous and cried all through my flight.

I could not meet Pankaj Udhas at the shoot because our schedules didn’t match. I met him much later, in Mumbai, after the song had become a hit. I thanked him for choosing me. But instead, he humbly gave me credit for working hard. I was young and scared but he made me feel I had played a part in the success of the song.

‘Is that you in the video?’, my colleagues would quiz me. At the time, I worked part time as a marketing executive. I was flooded with marriage proposals from across the country.

Years later, when I started acting in movies, I met him at a party in Mumbai. I told him, ‘Sir, your song launched my career’. Yet again, with a sweet smile, he said, ‘It was your destiny.’ He was polite, calm and a thorough gentleman, and his songs projected that.

‘Aur ahista’ is special to me in more ways than one. In the song, I fall in love with a biker and in real life, I married a man who runs a motorcycle business, something fans point out a lot. My son, Hans, is also aware of the biker connection. When I heard the news of Pankaj Udhas’ passing from a reporter, I teared up. Struggling to find words, I asked my son, ‘You know mamma’s song?’ He said, ‘Oh! With that guy on the bike, like papa.’ He knows the song because I would play it a lot when he was born, to calm myself. No song can provide me more solace than ‘Aur ahista’. It reminds me of the phase of my life when I was a doe-eyed girl. It reminds me of the magic of ’90s songs.

Its recall value is such that two decades on, people still share the song on social media every week. People use it as a background song on reels featuring their poems, doodles, and paintings, especially of snow globes. (In the video, Pankaj Udhas holds a snow globe featuring a figurine of a couple — it became a symbol of love for millennials). I would tag Pankaj Udhas on these but I don’t know if he ever noticed. When the news broke, fans tagged me in numerous such posts. On the day his soul left this world, his song echoed all over again. This song is an emotion.

ADVERTISEMENT
(Published 02 March 2024, 00:06 IST)

Follow us on

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT