Information On Salma Agha
Salma Agha's Profile
Salma Agha - her very name conjures up an enigmatic image of a gorgeous, light- eyed, nasal-voiced singer actress. A very rare combination. And when the girl with the haunting- ly vibrant voice came down to India from London (she holds a British passport), she generated enough excitement to whip up a musical frenzy. Her image of a liberated, totally Westernised singer, dramatically changed the scene in a staid Bombay, where the bhenji's, Lata and Asha, ruled the roost, even when it came to belting out sexy pop and disco numbers. In Salma, one saw the potential of bridging the Hindi music scene closer to the erotic Western pop culture.
Salma Agha born to a wealthy father and in Karachi, moved to London at age 9. She was married at 16 years of age to a prominent Pakistani settled in London. A divorce soon followed. Salma along with sister Sabina produced and sang for a record called AGHA - Salma and Sabina Agha sing ABBA hits in Hindi. The record made a few waves and was applauded by critics. However, it didn't create any major ripples in the Hindi film circles at the time. When acclaimed Indian director Raj Kapoor was at the London reception of his son Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh's wedding. He invited his cousin Zarina Agha (Salma's mother) to the reception. Present at the wedding were many other prominent Indian directors, including B.R. Chopra. Chopra had just finished a female oriented hit with Zeenat Aman called Insaf Ka Tarazu. He had just commissioned a heroine oriented movie called 'Talaq Talaq Talaq' and was on the look out for a Muslim actress. Zeenat Aman (even though, half Muslim) he felt had a much too urban look to portray the character of Neelofar in his movie.
Salma's panache was a happy augury for the Indian music scene. She was the forerunner of the likes of Alisha, Sharon, Swapna, Nazia, and, with due apologies, Sulakshana, Mandakini and even Padmini Kolhapure, singing pop with Bappi Lahiri. Frankly, the pop culture had yet to emerge in India and was preceded by the ghazal instead. Her debut album' Abba and Agha' with sister Sabina was sung on the backing tracks of Abba, the erstwhile Swedish pop group. Muzaffar Ali's' London Dialling' which introduced the green-eyed lass to the home crowd, met with moderate success. But when the young lady let it be known that ghazals, too, were included in her repertoire, Music India released 'Jalwa-e-ghazal', which ' was a much greater success, and quite naturally because of the demand.
From B R Chopra came the breakthrough where she acted in 'Nikaah' as the 'leading heroine'. By this time Salma was already well known as a singer of repute. And Chopra, after listening to her nasal twang, wanted Salma to sing her own playback because, as he succinctly puts it," she had a unique charismatic tone in her voice."
Salma worked on many other movies in Pakistan, none with major recognition other than a movie that later got adopted into a Hindi version Pati, Patni aur Tawaif. Salma played the same character she had, in the Paksitani version and was once again teamed with Mithun. Whiel shooting for it in Bombay she also did Oonche Log with Rajesh Khanna (another remake of the Pakistani movie Dehleez) and Salma (also a remake of the Pakistani hit Anjuman of the 1950s). All of these movies flopped massively at the box office.
Soon Salma was going through another divorce with Javaid Shaikh. She carried on with a few more Pakistani movies then settled with the squash Champion Rehmat Khan. She now shuttles between Islamabad and London with Rehmat Khan and put s out an album of Ghazals every few years. She recently went on tour promoting her album 'Husn'. She has a daughter with Rehmat and also runs a high end boutique in Islamabad. She has no desire of returning to filmdom - at least for now.