Sophie Choudry is back with her pop videos, this time the 90’s pop queen has come up with “Gori Hai”, a remix of the original “Gori Hai Kalaiyaan” from Aaj Ka Arjun starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Prada.

Sophie in this interview with opens up about her secret to staying relevant for over 20 year without acting in too many films, and coping with ageism in the age of social media.

Excerpts from the interview:

Why did you decide to release a remix after so long?

“Gori Hai” is a project produced by myself, the concept and whole thing. I sat with my team and I came up with it. It has been a long gap, but I knew people wanted to see me because thanks to social media, fans can reach out. Every day I get messages asking me when I’ll be doing another “Ek Pardesi”, when will we see that again. I think it is really hard to create something that epic, but I can create something that is a mix of old and new, and that’s what we tried to do with “Gori Hai”.

“Gori Hai” happened because of social media. I happened to do a cover version of “Oo Antava Oo Oo Antava” in Telugu which went nuts, which I never expected. My regular fans have always asked me to come back, but people who had forgotten that I sing, they all remembered me. The response to that is what really gave me that force to just get a song out. It is really funny how social media can work for someone and at the same time people also talk about the negativity around it.

Ek Pardesi was a huge hit, but then pop music took a dip.

I’ve tried to do other things and it’s been fun, but I feel this is where I excel. I know a lot of people will say it is a remake but when they hear the rest of the song, they realise that it is only the hook line and the rest is new. Somehow, whenever I’ve done a remake, people seem to love it, maybe because of the way we approach it. I just wanted to create a video that we all loved watching. I wanted to do something which brings back that nostalgic vibe but in a new way.

My mum has always said to me that I never understood how big Ek Pardesi was, and it’s true. Now through social media, people tell me how iconic it was. But I never understood it, maybe because even the record company would tell me, ‘haan, acchha chala hai‘, but today I’ve realised how it was one of their biggest selling albums ever.

When remixes were coming 10-15 years ago, it would be a different singer and a different face, it would be a model. But I was the only one who was singing and was in the video, that way we kept a pop feel. I guess the style, the way we present it, some how has always connected with people, and it has helped me create a very unique niche of my own, and I’m very grateful for that.

How have you managed to stay relevant today?

It is really hard. Somehow, to sustain yourself for a twenty year long career without any help from anyone is really not easy. I have started becoming more kinder to myself realising how hard it is. I think the name of the game is reinvention. You might get your break, but can you last, in which case the insider vs outsider debate and other discussions don’t matter.

When all my songs came, Indi pop was at a high and then it went through an extreme low. I think it is because music in movies changed. With people like Vishal and Shekhar, Pritam coming in, the sound changed, film music started sounding like pop music, there were special song, the look of movie songs changed too, and people wanted to hear that. Film songs were like pop songs with bigger stars doing it, so they didn’t need to see pop videos anymore.


How do you cope with ageism?

My experience with ageism is a funny thing. Every day I get messages where people tell me they were in school when Ek Pardesi came out and now they look old, but I don’t. Once in a while I get messages of people telling me to ‘act my age’, but what’s that? I’ve never though of age as a number. People are always going to comment on social media…

You recent did a video for “Gori Hai” with Malaika, you two are also great friends. While you have not experienced much ageism, Malaika faces trolls almost every day. 

If you look at a lot of the girls from the 90s, be it Malaika or Shilpa, they are still relevant because they work bloody hard, and I have a lot of respect for the women in the industry who work hard and maintain themselves and don’t take anything for granted. They’re all go-getters, and I think that’s incredible, no one’s sitting and doing nothing, everyone is enterprising and going out there, not necessarily because they have to, they’ve been around for long enough, been successful, it is not just about making money, it is about being passionate.

Yes, Malaika does get trolled, but I she is a really strong woman, she is gorgeous and she is an inspiration to many women out there, more power to her! I’ve never been a person to judge anyone for anything, I know how hard this industry is, sitting outside it is easy to judge but this is a tough place to survive, so if you’re doing it, hats off to you.

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