Nostalgia with Sallma Agha:“When I was 22, my favourite Kapoor was Shashiji. He was kind-hearted and handsome.”

The singer-actor talks about winning awards for Nikaah, singing and earning at shows and wanting to spend more time with her mother, in an intimate chat
Sallma Agha Khan at 22 (inset) and at 64 (above)
Sallma Agha Khan at 22 (inset) and at 64 (above)
Published on Sep 25, 2021 09:42 PM IST
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ByDinesh Raheja

Where were you career-wise?

I was on my way to the top with a big hit like Nikaah, for which I won a Filmfare award. Next up was Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki, the music album of which was a platinum hit!

Sallma concentrated on her career at 22 rather than whittle it away on admirers
Sallma concentrated on her career at 22 rather than whittle it away on admirers

What was your bank balance?

I was a singer and earning a lot from shows, which I continue doing. I even bought my first bungalow three years after Nikaah released.

Backstage with Padmini Kolhapure
Backstage with Padmini Kolhapure

Your romantic status.

I had many admirers, but nobody really caught my attention.

What was your fashion sense then?

Boots, pants and jackets.

Sallma with her idol, Noor Jehan, whom she met back then
Sallma with her idol, Noor Jehan, whom she met back then

What was your frame of mind?

I was carefree; I loved travelling, and I still do.

What was your focus in life?

I wanted to be a singer; acting happened accidentally when BR Chopraji spotted me at Naushad saab’s place. Along the way, I realised I was in love with both singing and acting. Even today, I like to do both.

Sallma and her sister Sabina pose for a picture with Dilip Kumar
Sallma and her sister Sabina pose for a picture with Dilip Kumar

One thing you would’ve changed then?

I was very busy when my mother was unwell. I wish I had more time to spend with her. One thing I have changed recently is the spelling of my name to Sallma Agha Khan for numerological reasons.

Sallma with her siblings Salman and Sabina when she was 22
Sallma with her siblings Salman and Sabina when she was 22

Tell us about your family equation then.

My family comprised my father Liaquat Gul Agha, mother Nasreen Mehra, sister Sabina Agha Zarooni and my brother, Salman Agha. I was closest to my father, and if my mother ever needed me, I would leave everything for her. My siblings are also musicians so when we meet, we always have a musical evening.

Sallma performing at one of her first few music concerts
Sallma performing at one of her first few music concerts

Who were your favourite singers?

Noor Jehan, my mother Nasreen Mehra, Pink Floyd and Whitney Houston.

Which Kapoor was your favourite then?

My grandfather Jugal Kishore Mehra was the brother of Raj (Kapoor)ji’s mother. My all-time favourite Kapoor will always be Shashiji. The time we spent with him in my London home at family gatherings will always be special to me. He gave me tips on acting; he was a kind-hearted person and one of the most beautiful men I have seen.

With Shashi Kapoor at a family get-together
With Shashi Kapoor at a family get-together

Your idea of a handsome man?

A humble and kind hearted man. Now it’s my son Shahaan (laughs)!

From HT Brunch, September 26, 2021

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021