You really can’t do much with a Sridevi number, because you really can’t improve on perfection. Hence when Vidya Balan in Tumhari Sulu decided to take on Sridevi’s iconic ‘Hawa Hawaii’ song from Mr India, it seemed more like a move designed for daring than an actual homage.
No one expects Sridevi herself to approve of the new version of her song. Gracious and generous Sridevi surprises with her ample praise for Vidya’s efforts. Says Sridevi, “When I did the Hawa Hawai song, I never thought it is going to be rated as one of the best songs of my career. It is very close to my heart.”
Sri shyly admits she is loath to see someone else doing her number. “Honestly speaking, as an actor it is not easy to see someone else in your song.”
But Vidya Balan surprised Sridevi. Says the iconic diva, “I am very pleased that one of my favourite songs is filmed on one of my favourite and always adorable actor Vidya Balan. I wish her all the best.”
Shekhar Kapoor recalls with pleasure what it was like to shoot Sridevi in the two iconic songs ‘Hawa Hawaii’ and ‘Katey Nahin Kat-Te’ of Mr India. “She was amazing. She understood what she had to do so perfectly and then give more to every shot that I asked for. I don’t know of any other director who got the opportunity to get that kind of an ebullient performance out of her in the songs. After Mr. India I lost contact with Indian cinema for a long time. But I saw Sri in Moondaram Pirai .I saw bits of her from Mr. India in Moondram Pirai. She surrendered completely to me.”
Speaking of the genesis of the two songs Shekhar says, “I will tell you how that whole idea for ‘Katey Nahin Kat-Te’ came along. One day I was sitting at Anil Kapoor‘s place. Boney came to visit Anil raving about Sri’s dance number with Feroz Khan in Jaanbaaz (‘Har Kisko Nahin Milta’). Boney said, ‘Shekhar, nobody can make Sridevi look sexier than that.’ He shouldn’t have said that to me. I took it as personal challenge. When I heard Boney say that I said, ‘Oh, really?’ That’s when ‘Kaate Nahin Kat Te’ started to play in my mind. I thought of Sri making love to an invisible man in a blue saree. Why a blue saree Good question. I don’t know why it was blue. It could have been flaming orange or a crimson red. She’d have carried them off just as sensuously. Sri was very unwell when she shot the song. If Boney hadn’t provoked me I wouldn’t have done it. All it took was to tell me that no one could make her look sexier than Feroz Khan….As for ‘Hawa Hawaaii’ it was all done in dollops of improvised craziness. Everything was just achieved in a rush of madness. And Sri grasped that element of madness perfectly.”
Kavita Krishnamurthy who sang ‘Hawa Hawaii’ is delighted to see the song make a comeback. “It has been thirty years since that song was first released. I am happy to know the number still has a value. To my delight and surprise, they’ve kept my voice in the re-mix.”