Actor Amrita Rao, who is known for her roles in Bollywood films such as Main Hoon Naa, Vivah, Masti and Welcome to Sajjanpur, has a rather unconventional hobby of collecting LP (Long Play) records, or long-playing microgroove records, which are a format for gramophone records. “The interest and passion for collecting LPs has grown stronger since the last five to six years,” says Rao.
As to how she developed an interest in this activity, the 31-year-old attributes it to her uncle. Amrita, who made her acting debut with Ab Ke Baras in 2002, says, “My uncle, Ajay Pratap, had purchased a branded record player way back in the 1970’s and had a collection of many LPs. During my childhood, I recall him playing songs of Boney M (a vocal group created by German record producer Frank Farian) and American singer Elvis Presley for us whenever we met him. Later when the uncle’s LP player stopped working, I bought it from him and got it repaired in Chor Bazaar. I have been adding more LPs to my collection.”
But why does she like LPs so much? “For me, the sound of an LP is incomparable. I feel it is my ticket to the golden era of music. The sound of an LP stands strikingly distinct from that of a cassette, a CD player or radio. I am attracted to its regal charm,” she says. So, how many LPs does Amrita have in her collection? “I have about 50 LPs, including Neetu and Rishi Kapoor’s Khel Khel Mein, Dev Anand’s Guide and The best of Abba. I buy LPs from Chor Bazaar. The first LP I bought was the Khel Khel Mein one and the latest one is Elvis. The one LP that I hear the most is Bonny M. Also, I love listening to Elvis (it has got his songs and interview) and I want to add some Beatles to my collection,” she says.
Since vinyl records are very delicate, they need to be preserved with utmost care. Keeping this thought in mind, Amrita has made a special place at her home where she stocks all her LPs. “I have specially designed a rack for the LPs, which is right below the LP player in my bedroom,” says Amrita, adding, “Believe it or not, I am very particular about cleaning and taking care of each record. That’s because I am quite possessive of them. I don’t share my LPs with anyone as they are very delicate.”
The filmy side:
Beginning her career as a model, Amrita Rao made her acting debut with Ab Ke Baras (2002) alongside actor Aarya Babbar. The following year, she starred in the hit romantic film, Ishq Vishk with actor Shahid Kapoor. The year 2004 saw her in the blockbuster Main Hoon Naa along with actors Shah Rukh Khan and Sushmita Sen. She then went on to star in some forgettable films such as Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!, Shikhar and Pyare Mohan. In 2006, she got appreciated for her role as the coy Poonam in Vivah. Her later releases include My Name is Anthony Gonsalves, Shaurya, Welcome to Sajjanpur and Love U...Mr. Kalakaar!