For fans of Masoom, a letter from ‘mini’

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.

No talk of Masoom is complete without the mention of its amazing songs! And as a singer and lover of music I’m in complete awe of each song in the movie. Cudos to Gulzar ji and R.D.Burman ji! Needless to say, I’ve grown up singing ‘Lakdi Ki Kathi’ like every other child, but now I just love to strum ‘Tujhsey Naaraz Nahin Zindagi…’ on the guitar. It is one of my favourite songs and I feel amazing that I am a part of such a masterpiece!

After Masoom I did two more movies, Pt. V. Shantaram’s ‘Khuda Hafiz’ with Urmila, (I did my own playback in this movie) and ‘Ram Terey Kitney Naam’, with Late Sanjeev Kumar ji, Rekha, Late Vinod Mehra and Prem Chopra, besides two ad films, ‘Ju-C’ and ‘Parag Butter’ with Jugal. I remember when Rekha ji was told that I am the little ‘Masoom’ girl, she came up to my mother and me, gave me a big hug and said “When I saw Masoom, I told my mother that this little girl should have been my daughter, ye pehley kaisey paida ho gayee…”! I was fortunate to get various awards for ‘Best Child Actress’ for all three movies, including UP Journalists Association Critic Award. This was my entire Bollywood stint. My parents had no desire for me to compromise my studies, and also, it was a promise they had made to Gulzar ji. So I returned to my studies in Kanpur at St.Mary’s Convent.

Initially, I would be amazed and taken aback to see swarms of crowd surrounding me wherever I went, that I would be made chief guest at various cultural shows…which was quite strange, of people vying to get my autograph or my attention. I remember an incident, when in a TV interview I was asked what my favourite food was and I said ‘Bhindi’! And next day two people from a nearby village carried a big sack of fresh ‘bhindi’ from their field, and came all the way searching for my home on a scooter! And they were not the only ones. Wow…. I wonder what happens with Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor!

It took a few years for life to ‘normalize’. I stayed in touch with Urmila for a while, and Shekhar Uncle. From the very beginning, my passion was music, and I have done various stage shows throughout. My first stage performance was at the age of 3.5 years, when I sang a bhajan. My heartfelt gratitude to my parents…it is because of them that my brother and my taste in music have been very rich and diverse. We have grown up on Mehndi Hassan saab and Pink Floyd, Talat Mehmood, Madan Mohan, Ustad Amir Khan and The Doors, Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel. I picked up playing the guitar from my older brother at the age of 6 years….and have never stopped thereon. From Bollywood numbers, to ghazals, to rock and pop numbers, we would sing it all. My parents, brother and I would often have musical sittings at home, and we would spend our entire evenings or afternoons singing. Such beautiful memories…

I did my college form Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Pune. My cousin, with whom I lived, has been a very active member of Jasraj Mitra Mandal, Pune, and I had the opportunity of meeting Pt. Jasraj in person at home and at various informal gatherings and stage shows. My real interest in Hindustani Classical Sangeet developed then. It influenced me deeply and I went on to complete my Masters and Ph.D in Hindustani Music (Vocal) along with my IT studies. Not finding a clear goal to my passion in music I fell in the rutt of the big IT revolution happening in the late 90s and successfully completed the various Microsoft and Cisco Certifications.

I got a job with a leading IT training firm in Delhi but my heart was still in music and I didn’t quite enjoy working with computer software and hardware….just the wrong place for an artistic person. But I believe that nothing is a coincidence and everything happens for a reason….and so it was. As this is where I met the love of my life and my future husband. It was love-at-first-sight for us and within two years we tied the knot, before which I quit my IT job for good.

My husband shares my passion for music and I share his passion for travelling. We go out for vacations atleast twice, or even thrice, every year. He encouraged me to follow my heart and I am very fortunate to have been married to a very supportive family. Infact, I can’t praise my mother-in-law enough! Thank God for her!

I have been privileged to have been accepted as a student by Pt. L.K.Pandit, the stalwart of Gwalior Gharana, and to have found an inspiring friend in his daughter and scion of Gwalior Gharana, Meeta Pandit.

Following my immense love for children and music I took up a job as music teacher and am fortunate to be doing so in one of the best schools of the country, where I’ve met incredible students, amazing parents, talented colleagues and some of my closest friends. The institution has given me several opportunities to challenge my creativity and musical talent. We do at least five productions in a year besides other stage shows and fund-raising performances.

Two-and-a-half years back I was blessed with a beautiful daughter, and life has blossomed like never before! No words can describe the joy and vibrancy she has brought to my life. As of now my life is all about her….and life has almost taken a full circle, because now it is she and I who spend many afternoons and evenings singing and dancing together, and my brother, far away in New Jersey, with his son and daughter!

Music is my passion and music is all that I want to pursue. I have big dreams and aspirations and want to dedicate my life to music, but am waiting for my daughter to grow up a little and be more independent.

Life is never a smooth ride….real joy lies in cherishing moments where the half-glass was full and to forgive and forget that which was empty…But is the empty side really empty? Not as I see it….I feel the empty side of the glass is full of opportunities and reasons for spiritual growth, insight and empowerment!

So as I enjoy my full glass brimming with endless joys and blessings, and move ahead on my sparkling path of life, I would like to turn back and thank deeply all the people who have touched me with their presence, their thoughts and wishes from my birth to now.

A big thank you and lots of love to Shekhar Uncle, Naseer Uncle, Shabana aunty and my dearest Urmila and Jugal. My deepest thanks and gratitude to Gulzar ji, for if not for him, Masoom would have never happened to me and my life would not have been what it is….thank you…! And God bless you all!

61 thoughts on “For fans of Masoom, a letter from ‘mini’

    Much dua!
    Where do we hear your classical renditions, anything on you tube?
    The bhindi episode was hilarious.
    Loved your description of musical sittings with the family, brought back so many memories of antakshari when the power would trip in the good old days. Poora medley.

  2. Whenever I watched Masoom (cos I’ve kept a personal copy), I used to wonder about the current status of ‘Mini’ as Urmila & Jugal are in the Bollywood circle…nice to know about you….would like to see your recent pic.

  3. was in ramgarh (near nainital) last month and went to a village in that area. It had a very meditative atmosphere.

    someone told me some scenes/song of Masoom were shot in that area.
    i felt more connected: )

  4. Shekharjee,

    Masoom film is close to my heart… Lakadiki kaathi was the staple song of my childhood… In fact, that was the first song I knew by heart… My sis and I used to sing it loudly and jump up and down…. Mini was so cute in the film, I was wondering where is she? Thank you to you and Mini for writing this piece… It made my day!

  5. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for sharing this post… Masoom holds a very very special in my heart like almost every other kid born in that era.. This note of lil Mini brings all the memories back of not only those times but also how the movie had affected my childhood too. This movie told me how much love can hurt and what is good companionship about (I was a 6 year old when I first saw it in 1988). In fact, this movie is responsible for making me interested in all the non – filmy movies of Bollywood. Thank you!

  6. thanks for publishing this post of “mini” , i really want to know about the character mini as other two characters are already in limelight. One thing i want share…. i have never seen such a good movie uptil now!

  7. Dear “Mini”,

    It is really wonderful experience to read this letter and sharing with us your feelings. Thanks to Shekhar Sir as well to include the same in his blog. We always remember you as Mini of Masoom. Evergreen movie for me, rather for all the fans of this movie.


    With lots of love,

    Minakshi Karan

  8. Wonderful to read about how life went on for one of the most vibrant characters in Masoom… Wish her all the best in all her current and future endeavors…

  9. Thanks Sir for sharing this with all of us!!

    Hi Mini, I till date do not know your real name. Your character in Masoom is still very clear in my memory after so many years. It is a character that cannot be forgotten and I am a big fan of you.
    I have been searching for you for many years in movies, trying to guess that you would be one of the many actresses of today.
    Hope to meet or see you some day!!
    Take care and enjoy life. Would be good if I can know your real name.

  10. Just recently stayed in the PWD guest house at Mukteshwar.. Still some of the old guards cant hold themselves back raving about Masoom(esp Kids) and how it was shot… Felt like being part of the film itself in those settings… Thank you Shekhar Ji for such a masterpiece.

  11. Thank you Shekhar sir for such a Master piece…. Masoom is my All time Favourite and feels no other movie can replace its position… My mom used to tell me she went to see the first movie since i was born…

  12. Dear Sir, I have been trying to figure out a way to get in touch with you. I am a huge admirer of your work and think you are one of the most gifted artists of all time. I grew up watching Masoom endless about of times, and now, my toddler son too is the biggest fan of your song” Lakdi ki kaathi”. It is amazing, how much power that song has; even now, after so many years, I cant stop marveling at how each and every child simply falls in love with that song. It draws children. I just wanted to share the special moment when my son learnt his first hindi song with you. I do not live in India, so to watch my english speaking son, love nothing more than a hindi song, and that too my favorite one; it is a very emotional moment. I just wanted to request if I could just share that with you so you can see the joy that song still brings in children’s hearts. Your help would be much appreciated. Just wanted to send you that video Your posts on this blog, are brilliant. Just brilliant.


  13. Hey mini… plz post your pic…so that we all can see u… we want to see yr present look… n R u married or Single..??? 😉

    Plz reply…


  14. 🙂 Thank you for giving us a special “bonding” song. I love it just as much as him. One of the finest movies ever. Ever.

  15. Hello Shekhar,

    I had this huge debate going on with a friend about who Mini really was. Was she the girl in Jassi (nope.. that was Rakshanda Khan) or was it Bhagyashree’s sister (no again.. that was Poornima Patwardhan). With no surname to track, it really became difficult to find out what happened to Aradhana after Masoom.
    Thank you so much for resolving this mystery. Its so heartening to know that she is happy, well settled and doing what she likes best…. she is truly God’s child.

    On an unrelated note… is it a very long wait for “Paani” ? 🙂

  16. I often where she must whenever I think of Masoom and the lakadi ki kati song. Movie I have cried the most I think. Thanks for letting us know how she’s doing. Much love..

  17. I belonged to the same age group as that of the kids in the movie. Co-incidentally I too have an elder and younger sister. But believe me, I am nowhere as ‘masoom’ as Jugal 🙂

    We used to watch the songs in “Chitrahaar” in the good old Doordarshan days. I started humming the ‘lakdi ki kari’ song and somehow my mother thought I did it well. Thanks to her encouragement, I started singing more often and am trying to find a foothold.

    Want to see a performance of mine? Please click on my name 🙂

    Shekhar – I would dearly love to hear what you think of my performance.

  18. keen to see a present picture of minni… what is she doing now, or what are her feelings to see urmila and jugal at present…

  19. Minni, sorry for the previos post, as the entire post was not showing i failed to read the entire story then, but thanx a lot for sharing such a nice, well written story with us… may god shower all his blessings on ur life n keep it as fulfilled as ever..

  20. Grt story. All the characters played well esp by “Mini”.

    Good to hear that Aradhana is doing well in life. God bless. Though a remake it was made beautifully. It was warm and heartening. Thank you Shekar for giving us a timeless movie. My daughter is 1.8 years and she loves “Mini”. She asks for Lakadi ki kathi song every day and I love to see the spark in her eyes every time she hears it.

    God Bless.

  21. Dear Aradhana
    It was Heart warming to hear from you as I often search for people who have faded away from limelight as to what they are doing now some stories are happy and some are sad. I accidently stumbled upon your blog and I am glad you are doing great in your life. I wish I can find out another child star “Baby Guddu” as to what she is doing now in her life

  22. DEAR Aradha,

    I have grown up humming “lakdi ki kaathi” song in my childhood and loved the character “Mini”you played in Masoom.Masoom is a masterpiece and your performance in this movie is truly amazing..It is my favourite character in the movie.Now my daughter is 10 months old,and every time she hears this song ,she becomes very happy and wants to hear it again and again.

    Pls post your pics..I am very eager to see ur pics.

  23. Sir,
    Such a beautiful movie and top acting from Shabana ji, Naseer sab,…..all. I don’t think anyone can go better than Shabana’s acting. “Lakdi ki kaathi” song is my & my daughter’s favourite song. Movie has beautiful story too. Never gets you bored. Wonderful acting…! Thank you.

    Ravi Yaji.

  24. Hi Aradhana,
    I knwo ypu very well.
    I was your junior when you were in sheiling house for some time.I still rem your face when you were a kid.
    Enjoyed reading this letter..amazing.
    I must say you are good too at words.I felt as if it was happening in front of me.
    If you wish please share you email address.
    take care
    congrats for a baby girl

  25. Dear Aradhna aka Mini

    Film Massom mere dil mein hamesh zinda rahi hain, sabke bare mein pata tha but mini ke bare mein sochta tha ki itni gudia jaisi ladki kahan hain bhai,

    Thanks shekhar Ji mere prashno ke uttar mil gaye. thanks

    Thanks Aradhna, achcha laga aap ke bare mein jan kar, badhayee ho aap ke paas ek aur mini hain.
    app ka letter dil ko chu gaya ek baar phir aap ke kirdar mini ki tarah.
    as a mini aap aaj bhi lakho logo ki yado mein ho.
    all the best, god bless you.

    with regards


  26. Dear Aradhanaji and Shekharji,

    I just wanted to let you know that “LAKDI KI KAATHI” is no more just a song from a movie called “Masoom”.
    It is now almost a FOLKLORE in India!

    Like all kids, even my 3 year old son loves it and looks damn cute while singing it!

    Thank you all for such a wonderful cinematic treat… Will never be forgotten!

    Much pyaar,


  27. Hi i was just watching masoom after a very long time, last time i remebered i was 12 when i saw the movie now i am 35 , it just bought my child hood memories back . The mini character was very nice and cute but it was very difficult to look for the pic as i could see jugal and urmila on the net . Good thing was i met urmila in person on the cruise ship and i was talking abt the masoom she was quite excited to hear abt that .Ardhana all my good wishes (mini) take care and if u wanna escape from busy life and wanna come for vaccation come for a cruise we call it freestyle cruising ncl. take care and god bless 🙂

  28. was searching the little mini frm masoom n came across this letter…
    good to learn u r leading a great life and also learning frm it….
    to follow ur heart is nt an easy decision to make…bt u did it…
    bless ya…!!..

  29. HI.. sherkarji,,,, this is realyl good…. love ur movies .. there was one movie u were supposed to make with aamir khan ( time machine) .. pls do make it.. i m gret fan of you and aamir.. love to see you both working….

  30. God bless you, girl…for the innocence..and for keeping yr feet firmly on the ground..wish & yr family, all the good luck

  31. Dear Sir,

    My son is 4 now and still loves Lakdi Ki kaathi. Do you remember seeing his video? I am a huge huge fan of your work! The tabloids are saying you will be directing MR. India 2. Is this true? I hope it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Nice to hear about Mini from Mini.Her chirpy role brought smiles whenever she appeared,in otherwise a serious film.

  33. Aradhana, I am really impressed reading this. We all have fond memories of Masoom and especially your role. I am 58 years old and at that time when Masoom was released, my sons were young. I used to entertain them singing Lakdi Ki Kathi. You were really amazing in that movie. Thanks Shekharji for reintroducing Aradhana to us all. Love and respect you.

  34. Thank you Aradhana for sharing your experience.
    I am a thirty two year old man now but can’t stop tearing up every time I think of the boy, without his own fault, going through the predicament with his father and step mother when I hear ‘Tujhse naraz nahi zindagi’. In some ways, I blame you Mr. Kapur for introducing me to this whole different genre, where rationality and common sense take over unrealistic fantasy. Before, I was happy in my cocoon watching Dharmendra bury bad guys neck deep with his hammer like fist. Now, it takes some trying to finish watching a movie that takes liberty on rationality and common sense. However, my life outside the cocoon hasn’t been that bad. I have found a lifetime of movies from world over that share my sensibility. So, my sincere gratitude to Mr. Kapur and the crew of Masoom for bursting my bubble.
    -Milan (a Nepali movie buff)

  35. Dear Mini, thanks for your wonderful letter which answered so many questions of mine. god bless u n ur family. i’ve a beautiful daughter (1 yr old) who luks xctly like mini. n i’ve started to teach her ur song. n she enjoys a lot while singing that song. once again thanks to you n to the entire ‘masoom’ family.

  36. Hey Aradhana,
    I was a kid when i watched the movie and am 35 now. Always used to wonder where that little girl is gone? 🙂 Great to read about you. Wish you all the best!
    Take care,

  37. whenever I watch Masoom, only thought is how brilliant and touching the movie is, and WHERE IS MINI? Thanks a lot for writing to us Mini 😀

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