I have so many questions from fans of Masoom about little ‘Mini’ that she has finally written a piece for all of us on her life post Masoom.
“Time has a way of breaking up our memory into fragments of miniscule pieces. Pieces so fragile and delicate that they get caught up in the winds of time and strewn along the pathway of life, and eventually forgotten. Trying to capture and preserve them within the confines of our mind becomes exceedingly impossible as time goes by, and slowly they begin to vanish for good… buried forever in the past…”
– Unknown Author
But that is not true for me. I thank God deeply, for being fortunate enough, to reminisce and cherish most of the moments of my life. And Masoom is truly one of the most amazing and pristine memories of my childhood. The seeds of my role in Masoom were sown back in 1975, when my parents (my father, who sings for passion, and my mother, a Professor in music and student of Late Ghulam Taqi Khan Saheb of Rampur-Sahaswan gharana) went to perform in ‘Mukesh Night’, organized by the War Widows Association, at The Ashoka, New Delhi along with Late Mukesh ji, Nitin Mukesh and Rakhi ji. That is where they met Gulzar Uncle and they came to know each other well. In 1980, my parents were invited to Bombay, now Mumbai, to perform in ‘Shab-E-Ghazal’ at Sur Singar Samsad, along with Jagjit Singh ji, Anup Jalota and others, and I accompanied them. It was on this trip that my father went to pay a friendly visit to Gulzar ji along with me.
I remember going to Gulzar ji’s home with my father and playing with his daughter, Boski. It was here that Gulzar Uncle observed me and thought of me befitting the role of ‘Mini’ …as I was as playful, witty and cheerful in person as I have been shown in the movie. The following day, Gulzar Ji asked us to meet Shekhar Uncle at his residence in Pali Hill. I remember spending quite a few hours with him and he made me feel so much at ease. My next vivid memory is of meeting the producer of Masoom, Devi Dutt ji followed by a photograph session at Shabana aunty’s place. I remember taking an instant liking to Urmila and Shabana aunty. Shabana ji made me feel so much at home and comfortable, I think I never got off her arms throughout the photo shoot.
The major portion of the shooting of Masoom took place in New Delhi, my present hometown. The entire cast was made to stay together in one place, and I remember all of us sitting together for dinner everyday….this built the strong family-like bonding amongst each one of us…something that was very apparent in the movie itself. Urmila and I would play non-stop! She was my favorite company and I carry very fond memories of her. Shabana aunty and Urmila showered so much love on me, I can’t ever forget. Shabana aunty used to call me her “ijji-bijji” and would engulf me in a bear-hug, even in-between the shots. I got so much motherly love and care that for me, the youngest of the children, only 4.5 year old, to live so happily, away from my mother (with my dad) speaks enough for itself.
The most important and crucial aspect was the comfort on the sets. All credit to Shekhar Uncle, he would often observe us kids playing during the shot breaks and add quite a few things we were doing during our playtime, in the scenes…that’s why it felt so natural. Like I was singing “Tayyab ali pyar ka dushman….” with Urmila while playing Antakshari, and it was incorporated so beautifully in the movie. And “Kisney banaya chidiyon ko….” was a rhyme I had learnt in my school and would often keep singing it. And it fit so remarkably in the scene where I’m getting friendly with ‘Rahul Bhaiyya’.
Honestly, at that age and till quite a few years later I didn’t quite understand the significance of being a part of a movie like Masoom, or even realize that I’m doing a movie and what importance it has. For me, it was the most amazing and enjoyable extension to my playtime and to have found a wonderful friend in Urmila.