Singaporean singer Aliff Aziz says tweet from Shah Rukh Khan was a 2015 highlight
Tweet of praise from Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, new album Rebirth and upcoming nuptials - things are looking up for former bad boy Aliff Aziz
One of Singaporean singer Aliff Aziz's highlights of 2015 was a tweet from Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.
It simply read: "Thank u sounds good."
The 50-year-old Indian actor said this recently after his Malaysian fan club, SRKUniverse Malaysia, sent him a link to the song Warna Cinta, sung by Aliff and Malaysian actress and singer Kilafairy.
Warna Cinta is a Malay version of Gerua, a song off action-romantic comedy Dilwale, starring Bollywood's well-loved on-screen couple Khan and Kajol Devgan.
Naturally, Aliff, 24, was taken aback.
"I thought, 'There is no way this is real', but then I noticed it was a verified account. I feel extremely surprised and honoured.
"All we wanted was to deliver and do our job well... To have the man himself take even 10 seconds of his busy schedule to listen is really something," Aliff told The New Paper yesterday in a telephone interview from Kuala Lumpur, where he is based.
"Shah Rukh Khan is in a league of his own and he is, to me, one of the most powerful men in the world," said Aliff, who watched the film at the preview screening before it opened worldwide on Dec 18.
Dilwale, which has reportedly since raked in S$73 million worldwide, sees two rival families coming face-to-face with each other after 15 years.
The children, Rajand Meera (played by Khan and Devgan respectively), and Veer and Ishita (played by Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon respectively), fall in love.
"To others, it might seem small and insignificant (to have Khan say something like that). But to me, it is a very big honour.
"The Aliff in the past has made so many mistakes to the point I nearly killed my own career. But this is one positive step towards better things," he said.
Aliff's chequered past is well documented.
The former bad boy's misadventures include allegedly punching a Malaysian hotel employee in December 2014 and stealing two mobile phones in May the same year, for which he was fined $2,000.
When his showbiz career crashed and he was nearly dropped from his music label Sony Music Malaysia, he ate humble pie and worked as a barista for eight months.
Last year, Aliff vowed to turn his life around and he landed his first lead role in two years in an upcoming Malaysian drama series.
He is set to release a new album Rebirth and will be marrying his Malaysian undergraduate fiancee Dayang Ara Nabellah Awang Astillah, 22, this year. They were engaged last month.
Khan's words have spurred Aliff on.
"Everyone knows what a powerful man he is. This has inspired me to pave my own way.
"Sure, no one will ever compare to him, just like how there will never be anyone like (Malaysian pop diva) Siti Nurhaliza, but we can all be the best that we can be," said Aliff.
On recording Warna Cinta, which was released last month, Aliff said: "Working with Kilafairy was a breeze because she is someone open to suggestions. A challenge was making sure the song is relatable to the general audience."
Aliff, whose family is a big fan of Khan and Bollywood films, said the next best thing would be meeting the established actor.
"Even if it's just 30 seconds, it will be something I will treasure," he said.
Shah Rukh Khan her 'childhood love'
Malaysian actress-singer Kilafairy had Bollywood movie nights with her cousin when she was growing up.
Armed with three boxes of tissues each time, the ardent Shah Rukh Khan fan would laugh and weep her way through some of his top films like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001) and Devdas (2002).
Imagine her shock when her Bollywood idol posted a tweet of thanks, saying that Warna Cinta, her duet with local singer Aliff Aziz, "sounds good".
Warna Cinta is a Malay version of Gerua, off Khan's film Dilwale.
The song, she said, is featured as a bonus track on the film's soundtrack.
The 23-year-old, whose real name is Syakila Nisha Jangir Khan, told The New Paper in an e-mail interview yesterday: "This is definitely one of the most exciting things that has happened to me. I'm still in shock. It's a dream come true."
Kilafairy, who said she has been singing Bollywood songs since she was seven, added that she looked to Khan to improve her acting.
"I learn the ways of acting from his films, as well as a few other Hindi films. I feel they have the best actors," she said.
Known as Malaysia's Angelina Jolie lookalike, Kilafairy said it is her dream to meet her "childhood love" one day.
"I adore Shah Rukh's acting. He is pure talent. I want to meet him and get some acting tips," she said.
She hopes, too, to one day star opposite Khan himself.
"Being able to work on the same project with Shah Rukh would be a dream come true. It would be more than enough," she said.