Strangely this morning Kaveri asked me if i was really a pop star because one of her friends mums had mentioned it. I told her yes i was…many years ago before she was even born. She looked sceptical. I had to show her one of my videos on you tube to convince her. She looked at it and told me a bit apologetically that though she thought it it was nice she likes Hannah Montana better!
And then I just watched rock on…the film starring Farhan Akhtar, Purab Kohli, Luke Kenny (oh i remember him very well from the Channel V days) and am spinning in a nostalgic tizzy. That was exactly my life a decade ago….it bought back so many memories of glory days in the music world. My friends in the music business. Channel V and MTV roadshows, jamming with musicians, the frenzy of the crowds, the competiveness amongst the artists, the chaos the and sheer thrill of waiting backstage waiting for your name to be announced and the adrelanine rush as you walked on to stage flooded in light. And then the magic of losing yourself in your performance, the applause, the madness the euphoria… One was on the road constantly. Touring, performing , jamming, recording…singing singing singing. It was all such fun…except for that one time…
I remember during my first performance in Dubai, carried away by the applause that greeted the announcement of my name, I went and said something ridiculous that Dubai was wrongly perceived as a haven for gangsters (this was late 90’s -a decade ago-so i was not way off the mark-Dubai has turned into an international business hub just recently) and that i was so happy to see the family audience that had showed up proving that impressions and rumours can be so misleading. You see I have had the ‘foot in the mouth’ ailment since i was a child :-))))
No sooner had I got off the stage that i started being followed by men in dark green suits telling me that NooraBhai wanted to meet me. I told them that i knew no Noora and to get lost -they stood outside my make up room and refused to let me leave till i personally went and met Noora and aplogized to him for using the gangster word publically. My organizers and company executives and the hotel staff and everybody vanished-because Noora happened to be the brother of Dawood Ibrahim as i later found out. Shaan who was also performing at that show was the only one who stayed back-stayed with me in my make up room even as the men in the green suits barricaded the door,knocking threateningly every few minutes. Shaan held my hand and told me that he would see to it that no harm came my way. Anu Mallik who was also at that show slurred ” Dont be scared. Hum sab hain na. You are shekhar Kapurs wife-nobody can touch you” The next minute he had dissapeared too-nobody wanted to take panga with Noora bhai.It was just me with shaan by my side, the goons banging on my door. Even the hotel staff had vamoosed.
I finally managed to make a collect call to Shekhar from the hotel phone. He was in Los Angeles then. He spoke to a cousin of his-a businessman in Dubai and explained the situation. A few minutes later the cousin pushed through the goons mouthing filmy dialogues “She is my bhabhi. If you touch her you are in trouble…” There was shouting and threatening voices. The cousin whisked me off…i had to check out of the hotel where the organizers had put me up and move in with shekhar’s cousin. The cousins wife held me and fed me warm soup as i trembled and sputtered through the night. I cancelled all my other performances in Dubai on that tour out of sheer fright.
I read recently that Noora had died. So has Shekhars cousin…So much time has passed
I miss those days on days like this when i watch a film like rock on and am reminded of everything that was. Its a pity that pop music does not exist in our country anymore. I wonder what has happened to my colleagues… there was some great talent back then …Shaan has ofcourse gone on to become one of India’s leading playback singers but the rest…?I wonder what Daler Mehdi is doing today… or Sagarika…every time i see Nicole from the pussycat dolls singing Jai Ho I think of Shweta Shetty… they look so alike…
Those were the days my friend
We thought they’s never end
We’d sing and dance for ever and a day
We’d life the life we choose
We’d fight and never loose
Those were the days oh yes those were the days