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REMEMBERING SUR KOKILA LATA MANGESHKAR : DR. JITENDRA SINGH

DR. Jitendra Singh, MoS,PMO and a passionate observer of Indian cinema.

 Talks  exclusively to Rakhee Bakshee, Founder and Editor-In-Chief ,Her World India on the sad demise of Lata Mangeshkar

On Sunday, 6th February 2022, India lost a gem, the most admired singer of the nation who inspired generations of artists in the sub-continent. Flawless rendition, purity of music and quest for excellence defined Lata Mangeshkar the iconic singing personality of India

Lata Mangeshkar was an Indian playback singer and music composer who ruled the music scene of India for more than 8 decades. She recorded songs in over thirty- six Indian languages and a few foreign languages, though primarily in Hindi, Bengali and Marathi. Though she stood out most in hindi cinema, songs, Ghazals, Devotional music apart from other regional languages. ‘Lata didi’ as, she was fondly called, came from a very humble background and her family included three other sisters and a brother. Her father Deenanath Mangeshkar was a musician himself and owned a drama company. Her childhood was spent listening to singers and other performers from the music industry. Lata Mangeshkar was a truly gifted singer, who stood as a musical genius as a child itself. She was shy but used to share her singing talent with her mother. Having worked hard on her talent and finding space in the music industry later she rose to great heights in the music industry and seem to be known as Nightingale of India.

Dr.Singh reminiscence “I still remember the time when in Mughal-E-Azam (1960) Lata ji went to the hall to create Echo effect for the song ‘ Pyaar kiya toh darna kya’. Since there was no advanced technology used then, such pursuit for excellence was really remarkable. That was the power or the range of her voice” “The next thing I remember that Raj Kapoor was elated when he found Lata Mangeshkar as the singer in his film Barsaat (1949) for the song ‘Barsaat Mein Hamse Mile Tum’ and said that it was a blessing for his movies to have her as the singer as her voice was really melodious and matched his requirement. His earlier movie ‘Aag’ had not done well and he thought that Lata would be lucky for him” He also remembered that on 14th August, 1947 at midnight when the whole of India was celebrating its Independence, the people of Mumbai came out on the streets singing ‘Barsaat Mein Hamse Mile Tum....’ which denoted the happiness of people enjoying the season of monsoon as well. ''During 1947-48 when the films came out, the singers name went unnoticed mostly but because of her immense talent, Lata Mangeshkar, then a 17 year old young girl found her name in the poster as the makers felt that her talent needed to be recognised. It in a way broke the mould in that era”

Dr. Singh also remembered as to how Dilip Kumar once lightly mentioned that coming from a Marathi background Lata could not be performing flawlessly as far as diction was concerned. But Lata proved everyone wrong by working hard on her diction and sang ghazals with equal ease and melody. At Albert Hall in London, when Lata Mangeshkar sang ‘Bekas pe karam kijiye’ from the movie Mughal-E-Azam, the audience rose in huge appreciation for her rendition. Lata Mangeshkar also sang in Dogri, the local language of Jammu and it only goes to show her versatility. Once Mr.C. Ramachandar, a celebrated music director said that if I give a 75 out of 100 to the male playback singers of those eras like Mukesh, Kishore Kumar and Md. Rafi, then I would give 90 out of 100 to Lata Mangeshkar as a playback singer. This statement also goes to show how Lata broke the stereotypical mould where the music industry was mostly dominated by male singers. Dr. Singh shares another very unique observation about Lata didi, the power of her voice was such that in a movie people remember her voice more in a song than the actress enacting it on the screen, for eg: “In the song ‘Kuch Dil Ne Kaha’ (Anupama, 1966) though Sharmila Tagore sang the song in the movie, everyone remembered Lata’s singing, Some of the

Some of the most favourite songs of Lata ji are : 1.Ajeeb Dastan hai ye.... (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai- 1960) 2.Aayega Aane Vala... (Mahal- 1949) 3.Abhi Baatein Hoti Hai...(Sunny- 1984) 4.Hamne Dekhi hai in aankhon ko...(Khamoshi 1969) Lata Mangeshkar was mature, Hardworking, focused and one of the great personalities of our country, we will truly miss her.