When I first met her, I had already seen her on television and knew her through her song ‘One night in my life’. It was a time when pop dance music was coming out in the early 90s. Later, working with her, as she became a video jockey (VJ) just like myself, was really exciting. During that time music television was just beginning in this country. We were absolutely awed by whatever we were hearing. Working with her was really unbelievable. During those days, I was just a small-town boy, living far away from this city. To be thrown into such an international space was overwhelming for me.
When I first met Sophiya, we got talking and got to know each other well over the years. We used to have long conversations about music and the kind of tunes we both loved, and that helped us develop a very good working relationship.
Few people know that she was a big Prince (the pop star) fan. If anything could make her happy it was a Prince song. We spend lots of time listening to his music and he was also quite popular at that time. There were times when we are either waiting for some shoot to start or were travelling for some performance together, and we used to hear Prince’s music or discuss it at length; mostly his lyrics and variation of tunes.
There was nothing that you could ever dislike about Sophiya. She was always happy and smiling or humming some song when alone. She always wanted to be a singing star. And she was one.
Sophiya wanted to take a break as VJing had taken over her life. She then went back to music. Whenever she composed or wrote tunes, she always asked me for my opinion on them. She’d ask me if that tune would go better as a solo or chorus, whether it should be a ballad or dance song. Unfortunately, she will never be able to do it again.
She had a thriving career when she went back to London. She was on stage, on Broadway, at West End. She was in a wonderful relationship with a theatre director as well. Because of the distance, we were in contact on and off, until recently. We share the same birthday June 14. Every year, we used to share birthday wishes over Facebook. We used to keep each other updated on what was happening in our lives. I even shared the trailer of Rock On!! (2008) with her.
Her passing is a big loss for what she was doing in her capacity on the London stage. The city has lost a fantastic performer and A-grade actor. From the Indian perspective, those of us who knew her from that time will lament her loss.
— As told to Dibyojyoti Baksi