Bollywood Buzz

What’s up with Mini from Shekhar Kapur’s Masoom

So we know what’s been happening with Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Supriya Pathak, Urmila Matondkar and Jugal Hansraj — but where did the Mini of Shekhar Kapur’s Masoom disappear? For that matter what was her real name? It’s Aradhana Srivastav and the lil’ moppet is now in her mid 30s, quite happy crooning Lakdi ki kathi to her five-year-old daughter Yashetta.

After Masoom, unlike her onscreen siblings, Aradhana just vanished into the blue. Mirror tracked her down to Delhi where she’s living with her husband, Prashant Kaura, and their child. And the media shy young woman had to be really coaxed into giving this interview.

Rewind to 1982 when playful Aradhana accompanied her father to writer-lyricist composer Gulzar’s house. He recommended her name to Shekhar Kapur to play the youngest child in his 1983 Indianised cinematic adaptation of Man, Woman and Child. And before she could understand what was happening, she was in the film and had found a mother figure in Shabana who fondly called her Ijji-Bijji.

After Masoom, Aradhana was seen in V. Shantaram’s Khuda Hafiz with her Masoom co-star Urmila, (she did her own playback in this movie) and Ram Terey Kitney Naam with Sanjeev Kumar, Rekha and Vinod Mehra. She also featured in two ad films. But the films flopped and Aradhana faded away from public memory.

“I went back to my studies in Kanpur. Due to my stint in the movies, academics had taken a backseat and my parents wanted me back on track,” she reminisces. She completed her studies at Pune’s Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce and then took up an IT job but soon realised her heart was not in it. So she went ahead and did her Masters and got a PhD in Hindustani vocal music.

In 2002, she got married to Prashant, who runs a boutique investment advisory firm which specialises in raising institutional money in real estate. The couple have no links with Bollywood. Doesn’t she miss the glitter and the glam? “Not at all,” she says.
“I don’t even see many movies apart from those starring Aamir Khan and Farhan Akhtar. I was always more interested in music. I had sung a bhajan on stage even before I was cast in Masoom.”

Today, Aradhana is teaching music in one of the best schools of the country. She points out that they put up at least five productions in a year, besides other stage shows and fundraisers, admitting that she did try to get a job with a music company but soon realised that her idea of music was not cutting albums or signing three and five year agreements. “But I have written the lyrics for the Delhi anthem, One Billion Rising, set to music by Karsh Kale and Gaurav Raina.”

She says she will continue with her musical journey. “My daughter loves music and dance and has a flair for acting too. She has seen Masoom and loves Lakdi ki kathi,” she laughs.

“I’m in touch with only Shekharji. Urmila and I kept writing to each other for nearly four years after Masoom. But then…” her voice trails. Then… Aradhana disappeared till Mirror resurrected her in public memory.

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