Article Hindi

It was a turning point for me: Singer Anuradha Paudwal on 35 years of Hero

Anuradha Paudwal spoke of her experience recording the popular songs of the Subhash Ghai film with composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

Sonal Pandya

The romantic drama Hero (1983), which became the breakthrough film for actor Jackie Shroff and actress Meenakshi Seshadri, has an evergreen soundtrack composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

The film, directed by Subhash Ghai, was released on 15 December 1983 under his Mukta Arts banner.

With six timeless songs from ‘Lambi Judaai’ to ‘Tu Mera Hero Hai’ to the peppy ‘Ding Dong’, the soundtrack of the film was all the rage back in the early 1980s.

In a telephone interview with, singer Anuradha Paudwal spoke about her experience recording the numbers for Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Like the lead pair, the singer also had a breakthrough of sorts that year with the soundtrack of Hero.

Paudwal was amazed that the film is still recalled fondly today, “Any day Hero is very special for me," she said. "It was a beautiful, romantic film that clicked, it was a super-duper hit.”

The story of Ghai’s Hero revolved around a young man Jackie (Shroff) who abducts the daughter of the police commissioner (Shammi Kapoor) upon the orders of his jailed boss Pasha (Amrish Puri). Jackie and Radha (Meenakshi) grow close and fall in love, against the wishes of everyone around them.

The film’s songs, written by Anand Bakshi, encapsulated their budding romance and the obstacles it faces. Paudwal recalled that the film’s mahurat began with the song 'Tu Mera Hero Hai'.

“Before Hero, a couple of times L-P had asked me whether I would sing for dubbing of a song,” she remembered. “In those days, I had refused because I thought people would take me for a dubbing artiste. During Hero and before that also, I had worked a number of times with Subhash Ghaiji, so he was very special for me. In fact, my first major break was his Kalicharan (1976) with the song 'Ek Bata Do, Do Bate Char'.”

When she heard the composers were to begin recording for Hero (1983), she approached them herself.

“I said if I even give it a chance, there is a 50% chance of the song being retained. It was meant for Lataji [Mangeshkar], that song, ‘Tu Mera Hero Hai’. So I said I would like to give it a chance as a dubbing artiste. That’s how I sang ‘Tu Mera Hero Hai’.”

But lady luck was on her side and the version she sang was eventually used in the film.

“Since the musicians and everyone played it right, they okayed it on the first take," she recalled. "In the evening, they decided that since ladki bhi nayi hai, awaaz bhi nayi hai [the actress is new, and so is the singer], let us retain this. On the third day was the song ‘Ding Dong’, which was also a dubbing song. So I said I’ll give this also a chance. That song was recorded and also retained.”

Paudwal recorded both songs with singer Manhar Udhas. When the film was released, her career got a big boost. She earned her second Filmfare nomination for Best Female Playback Singer while Laxmikant-Pyarelal were nominated for Best Music Director.

However, at the Filmfare awards 1984, Masoom (1983) picked up three awards for music — Best Music Director for RD Burman, Best Lyricist for Gulzar and Best Female Playback Singer for Aarti Mukherji.

“[Hero] was a turning point in my life, people began [looking at me]. The film was very successful and there were people asking me iske pehle aap kyun nahin gaate the [why didn’t you sing before]?” she laughed as she recalled.

The recording for Hero (1983) also holds another special memory for the singer: “Before we started the recording, Subhashji made me sing the Gayatri mantra for the Mukta Arts emblem. That was the first time I sang the Gayatri mantra which when afterwards I sang on its own became a universal hit.”