I had a crush on Shashi Kapoor but he was married: Runa Laila | tv | Hindustan Times
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I had a crush on Shashi Kapoor but he was married: Runa Laila

tv Updated: Sep 07, 2012 17:04 IST
Afsana Ahmed
Afsana Ahmed
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

She’s been missing in action for several years now, but Bangladeshi pop diva Runa Laila lingers in the memories of her Indian fans. Best remembered for numbers like O mera babu chail chabila and Damadum mast kalandar, this pop star of the ’80s is now back on Indian turf as a judge on Sur-Kshetra, the music reality show for the channel Colors, along with Pakistan’s Abida Parveen and Atif Aslam and India’s Asha Bhosle. In town last week (and a little nervous when the political party, MNS, made a fuss about a show featuring Pakistanis), Runa spoke about her idol, music and life in Bangladesh.

On singing in India:
“India is my second home. I come here often for shows and festivals when I am invited. I miss those lovely days when my songs were chartbusters here.”

On her big crush:
“I had a huge crush on Shashi Kapoor. Once, at a film awards function when I passed by him, he caught my hand and asked me to sit next to him. I still remember how my knees gave way that night. I think someone must have told him about my crush. We didn’t exchange numbers, obviously, since he was married. But later we met up when I came to India. I hear he is unwell now. I’d like to meet him. I also had a crush on Dilip Kumar.”

On her idol:
“I am very close to Lataji (Mangeshkar) and Ashaji (Bhosle) and every time I visit India, I visit them. Lataji always gifts me something lovely. She has gifted me a beautiful sari and a necklace which is one of my treasured possessions. Recently, Ashaji cooked some delicious biryani and bhuna ghosht for me.”

On the Assam issue:
“I have no interest in politics. But we are all human beings and must show love, care and respect for our fellow beings irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Life is short, so live in peace.”

On music then and now:
“There’s a significant change. It’s evolved, a lot. No doubt, technically it’s excellent, but substance-wise, it’s weaker. I miss the old music arrangements in which melody ruled. And music without melody cannot be sustained for long. Melody will return soon.”

On item songs:
“The item song is a superb fad! Even Pakistan and Bangladesh are following the trend. Hindi cinema is a trendsetter in every way on the subcontinent.”

On Hindi films in Bangladesh:
“Hindi films are banned in Bangladesh because the business of the Bangla film industry, which is very small, would suffer if Hindi films were allowed. The glamour quotient and the monetary aspect of Bangla films are way weaker than Hindi films and people would naturally flock to watch the Hindi movies. There’s no concept of a multiplex in Bangladesh and we have very few single screens. The economy of the Bangla film industry is very weak. However, Hindi films and TV serials dominate every household in Bangladesh. We get DVDs of new releases after a week. Ek Tha Tiger is a huge hit.”