Sharon Prabhakar: Evita's Back!

Mumbais earliest pop stars, and best loved theatre personality, Sharon Prabhakar rode on the crest of a success, she had worked hard for. With her best known role of `Evita' coming back to the theatre, to be followed by her new album, Sharon is all set to create new waves. In conversation with Sharon, a multi-facetted personality.


I've had a tough childhood, emotionally and financially.

I was born in Delhi, but I grew up in Nainital. My father was in the government and my mother was a music teacher in Nainital. They separated when I was young, so we(my brother, sister and myself) lived with mom.

Their split affected me terrible. One thing they did wrong, was to ask us to take sides. And because of that, today, I am a completely non-policitical person. I won't be a part of any camp. I am always very upfront.

In school, I always felt like the odd one out.

I was never a scholar, and nor did I belong to any group, because they would always be bitching about teachers, and since my mother was one, I didn't fit into their talk, so I never belonged anywhere. And there was always a sense of rejection. That is what prompted me to be in a business where public acceptance is very importance.

In school I was always a great dreamer, slipping into vivid dreams. But today, it's different, I am a very practical person. I have no time for dreams.

My father was a stranger to me

After school, I went to Delhi for college and stayed with my father. I stayed there for a year and studied at Lady Shri Ram College, and then I ran away and came to Mumbai. I could not adjust to Delhi and my father.

On coming to Mumbai, I started looking for a job, and though I was under age and under qualified, I was lucky to get a job with the Sistas ad agency. I did another brief stint with Air India (I flew for them). It was in the 80's that I started to gravitate towards singing.

My first break...

It happened quite by accident. I had done a casette on nursery rhymes, when Bhagyashree's (the actress) father heard my voice and offered me a song in a Hindi film. After that there was no looking back. Offers poured in for playback singing, but I was not too confident about my Hindi, so I started training under a Guru and slogged hard for a year. His training has stood me in good stead even today.

84-85 was a good time for me. That's when I married Alyque and Evita came by my way.

I was terrified of Alyque when I first met him

We met through an affiliated circle of friends and I found him very intimidating. It was not even a year after meeting him that we got married. I had no apprehensions that he had been married before, as I too had a bad and brief marriage behind me.

Alyque and I are like chalk and cheese

He is the director, even at home. And I am quite happy being directed. He is very confrontational and dicatorial and I never get into arguments with anybody, no matter what. I am a very good listener and he loves to talk.

Evita was the biggest break for me

At that time theatre and music were happening simultaneously for me. The whole bilingual world was opening up and I was flooded with offers from record companies and show organisers. I would be doing 3-4 music performances a month, and I managed to build a great rapport with my audience. Even today, I have with me an established network of organisers and I do my fixed shows a year. I've done some great plays-- Evita, Roshni, Butterflies are Free, Cabaret, the Odd Couple and released 7 albums in my career.

I took a two year sabbatical when my daughter Shahzahn was born. She is 11 today.

I am saddened by the mediocrity of the pop music today

There is a lot of fly by night performances happening. So I have never been insecure of the competition. In that sense, I am quite fatalistic about life. I feel that you must continue to grow and create oppurtunities. What could be more exciting than performing Evita, a role that is so encompasses vocal prowess, glamour and talent.

My greatest achievment....

Is to come to Mumbai from nowhere, and become what I've become. It's unbelievable, because I didn't even have any guidance. I am very proud of what I've become.

What about some of the worse reviews of Elizabeth - including one eminent reviewer who said that Mr. Kapur's technique was pathetically Indian? Mr. Kapur dismisses that airily saying that he makes films the best way that he can. All art, he says, is an expression of the artist. "To come to a filmmaker and say this is not the right way isn't acceptable. Art is never a factual interpretation of reality, it's the artist's interpretation. The artist relies on his instincts because that's the only way for him to succeed. Later, you're asked to analyse the instinct. That's a lie. There's no logic -- only instinct. I can find the reasons later."

Evita is an awesome platform for a singer who has a range

Pop music doesn't allow me to explore my range. Evita maximises all my potential. And it's so exciting to be doing it all over again. This time round it is far more superior technically. And it also marks the coming together of some pretty awesome talent. Our sponsors Electrolux have been so supportive, I am really hoping that Evita will give theatre goers a sumptuous treat, when it opens on September 26.

I remember every single word of Evita

So it's not been any different for me. Its like all this time just never passed. I could go on stage tomorrow.

We have been doing intense rehearsals and working round the clock. We are all very excited about it.

It's very tough managing the work and home front

It's all about scrupulous time managment. Everything has a slot in my life. I am not perfectly organised, but I am getting there.

I am a late riser, and my first hour of the day is to myself. At 11 am, my assistant arrives and I am with her till 2.30, finishing all my banking and paper work. Then I go to the gym for my workout, while Shahzahn goes for her tuition. If I have rehearsals then they go on till dinner time. And after that, I am with Shahzahn till she's off to bed. After 10.30, its my time to myself again.

Shahzahn is a child of the theatre

Shahzahn understands my work and she has been brought up in theatre. She's seen us at work and mingled with people from all ages and I think it is marvellous, because it is shaping her up to be very confident.

I don't have the time to socialise

I'd like to mix with more people, but I have no time. I have 1-2 close friends and we meet often, or even meet on holidays.

I try and avoid clothes which need ironing

And that's why lycra stands me in good stead. I am a non fussy dresser and I don't shop in Mumbai. Every year I take two weeks off abroad when I buy all my stuff.

The loss of my parents have brought me hurtling back to ground

For long, I was a cocky person, the kind who'd do a thums up to the world. I thought I was the master of my own universe, but the loss of my parents, brought me back to ground. I now realise the vulnerability and inevitability of life.

I want to put Shahzahn on her feet

I want to give her the foundation I didn't get. My greatest fears are for her and not for myself. I want to be in good health so that I can put her on her two feet.

My greatest regret....

Is that I couldn't sort out many issues with my parents and they passed away before I could.

I am frightened to be too happy...

Being happy all the times, brings about complaceny. I enjoy living on the edge. I like the excitement. In the canvas of life, happiness is just one of the many emotions. A very strong emotion.