• Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Entertainment

Popular 1990s cinema pin-up Sonam Khan discusses her career and comeback

Sonam Khan

By: Asjad Nazir

SONAM KHAN was so hotly in demand after being launched by legendary Bollywood director Yash Chopra with 1988 film Vijay that she had more than 30 films released in the first four years of her career.

She starred opposite the biggest heroes in high-profile films in different languages and became a hot pin-up for a new generation in the early 1990s.

But then, after a whirlwind six year career, she walked away from the spotlight to start a family shortly after turning 20. Now, after a 30-year break, the talented actress is back and looking to step back in front of the camera.

Eastern Eye caught up with the Bollywood beauty to talk about her journey, inspirations and future hopes.

What was it like being launched in Bollywood by legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra?

It was great. Yash Chopra was very supportive and helpful. Not only do I owe him my career, but the livelihood of me and my parents. He was graceful.

Which of your film roles were closest to your heart?

The movie closest to my heart is Mitti Aur Sona. It’s something (producer) Pahlaj Nihalani gave me when nobody trusted me to be an actress. Everybody thought I was just good for wearing a bikini.

Who did you enjoy working with most?

I enjoyed working with all of them. There is no such thing as a favourite actor; they were all very nice to me. I really enjoyed working with Shashi Kapoor Ji in Ajooba. He was a brilliant human being and a very kind and gentle person. He will always be my personal favourite.

Although you predominantly acted in Hindi cinema, you also starred in Telugu and Bengali movies. Can you talk about that?

I was first introduced in Telugu cinema with Samrat (1987), which was a remake of (Bollywood movie) Betaab, opposite superstar Mahesh Babu’s elder brother Ramesh Babu.

I was 14 years old when I started working for this movie. The Bengali movie I did opposite Prosenjit Chatterjee was called Mandira.

I did Aakhri Baazi opposite Kunal Goswami, which was made in Hindi and Bengali. There was also Telugu movie Kodama Simham with Chiranjeevi. All were great experiences.

Being in demand resulted in you doing a massive number of films at one time. How did you keep up with that incredibly busy schedule?

Yes, I did a lot of movies simultaneously, and it was very demanding.

Sometimes I used to shoot for 24 hours without stopping, doing three shifts a day. That was my day, basically day and night. I did turn down a lot of projects before I got married. Later, these films turned out to be blockbusters. All I want to say is that work never gave up on me. I said goodbye to work to start a family. But let’s not dwell on the past.

You recently paid tribute to the late actress Divya Bharti on social media…

Yes, I paid tribute to Divya Bharti. It was a great shock when I heard about her death, her passing away so tragic.

Do you regret retiring from films at such a young age?

I do regret giving up work in movies and kind of lost my identity in the process.

How much does it mean when a song like Oye Oye from the film Tridev, which you featured in, is still popular today?

The Oye Oye song is still popular today, and very important to me as well. I remember, I met Naseer saab (Naseeruddin Shah) for the first time on the first day of the shoot. We started shooting the Oye Oye song with the entire crew of Tridev on the first day itself, and it became an overnight hit.

What kind of roles are you looking for?

I’m looking for work in an OTT series where the story cannot move without me.

What inspires you?

I watch a lot of OTT shows and see a lot of young talent around.

I also see people from the past who have emerged as different kinds of actors today, and I really appreciate that about them.

I hope I can adapt to today’s times as they have.

What are the key important life lessons your journey has taught you?

I have no advice to give anyone. I don’t believe in giving advice because there is no such thing as right and wrong. Right and wrong are all in the mind, so I cannot advise anybody on anything.

Why do you love cinema?

I love cinema because of its creativity. Anything creative has always fascinated me. I’m very fond of music and I love singing too. So, I like all aspects of cinema. If I were not an actress, perhaps I would have been a school teacher. But I landed up being an actress and enjoyed every bit of it.

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