Asha Bhosle at the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award function in Mumbai on Sunday evening,proved Shakespeare wrong. There is plenty in a name, especially if the name is Mangeshkar.
Remembering her Didi with infinite fondness, Ashaji spoke of how much pride Lataji had in being a Mangeshkar.“When she said her own name Lata Mangeshkar her voice brimmed with ownership….LATA MANGESHKAR,” Ashaji mimicked her legendary singer and admitted she didn’t mind living in her shadows.
Ashaji also sang two lines of her sister’s iconic number Aayega aanewala from 1949’s Mahal.
Remarkably Asha Bhosle took us through Lataji’s career to illustrate her pioneering spirit. Asha Bhosle reminded us that in 1949 when Ayega aanewala became Lataji’s first chartbuster she insisted on the singer’s name on the record.
“Didi got her way,she always did,” laughed Ashaji and went on to remind the congregation that Lataji fought for royalty for playback singers in the 1960s and when initially she was not so politely turned down, she decided to stop singing until her demand was met.
“Tu mere saath hai, Asha?” Lataji asked her sister who readily decided to go wherever her Didi went.
According to Asha,Lataji told the producers, “Now you can get Naushad Saab to sing Mohe panghat pe nandlal (for Madhubala in Mughal-e-Azam)”
This sounded far-fetched. But a bit of memory reshuffling given the age and occasion is completely excusable.
On Sunday evening in her speech for her sister,Asha Bhosle made a very important point on the importance of Lata Mangeshkar to film music: “Whatever we are today, if playback singers are here even today, and that includes me, it’s because of Didi.”
High praise indeed, coming as it does from a singer who was constantly given second place to her sister.
Once Ashaji in an unguarded moment had told me, “It’s not the comparisons that bother me. I know she is far ahead of me in everything. It is the constant efforts to nullify everything that I’ve done that irks me. Otherwise Didi and I are like any siblings. We fight. When we were children she would always win all the fights. There was only one way to stop her . I’d pull her long hair. That always worked.”
On Sunday Asha Bhosle broke down when she said, “Every year on 24 April our family gathered together for our father’s death anniversary. I never imagined a day would come when I would be standing here talking about Didi leaving us.”