|Salman likes Asma
|People like Salman, but he likes me...Asma Rafi
She can't speak proper Hindi, but she sings Bollywood songs with ease. Asma Rafi, a contestant on music reality show "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009", floors everyone with her humorous antics and powerful performances, but praise by Salman Khan has her thrilled to bits.
"People love Salman Khan, but he likes me. What more can I ask for? I used to see his films on TV, but when I saw him in front of me, appreciating my singing, my dream came true," 17-year-old Asma told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
Asma is originally from Muscat, Oman, and met Salman and Katrina Kaif at a special episode of the talent show when both the actors appeared to promote their latest film "Yuvvraaj".
She sang "Chunari Chunari" from Salman's film "Biwi No.1" and the actor thoroughly enjoyed it.
Asma's mother tongue is Arabic, but she has dabbled in Hindi music to fulfil her father's dream.
"My dad is a big fan of Hindi songs. So when he saw that I sing well, he asked me to take interest in Bollywood songs. He wants me to be a playback singer in Hindi films.
"Initially I was apprehensive because I didn't know how to speak in Hindi. But my father has always supported me and been like a pillar of strength. He encouraged me so much that I participated in 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' competition in the Middle East and won it," said Asma.
Asma has a nasal touch to her voice and says her Hindi diction is not very strong, making her a weak contestant compared to others.
"I am the weakest contestant on the show. My diction is my biggest disadvantage. I know that's my weak point as compared to other participants and that is why I get nervous. But I'm working hard to overcome the problem. I hope to improve," she said.
Asma was eliminated from the show earlier, but she was such a favourite among the audiences and judges that she re-entered the show as a wild card entry.
Asma has also gained popularity because of her joke about making a film called "Mere Oont Ko Danda Kyun Maara" that would star all the Bollywood actors.
However, she feels that the joke should now end as it has carried on for too long now.
"The channel wanted everyone to be associated with some kind of joke. So I thought I'll start with this and people started enjoying it. But now I think we have done enough of it. But the channel still wants me to continue with it," Asma said.
The vivacious girl, who is the only member from her family to enter a singing competition, was recently in the news following her parent's separation.
"My mother was not in favour of me entering this competition; hence she broke all ties with me and my father," said a dejected Asma.
"I don't know why my mother is doing this. Sometimes when my dad calls, he tells me that my mother is filing a case on me. I feel terrible," she added.