Bollywood ‘s famous divas talk about why Raksha Bandhan is so special to them.
Lata Mangeshkar: “More than a brother, Hridaynath is the son that I never had. When I sing for my brother, I feel a mixture of elation and fear. He’s such a perfectionist. To work with him is taxing but ultimately very satisfying. When I sing for other composers I’m always unsure about whether I’ve done my best. Hridayanath doesn’t hesitate in ticking me off if I go wrong. Even if I go wrong with one word he doesn’t let me off the hook. He makes me sing it a hundred times over no matter how tired I get. At the most he’ll let me off until the next day. But he must have the flawless recording. I agree with him when he says, ‘Right now only the recordist and I can hear you. But tomorrow the entire world will hear you. How would you feel if listeners pinpoint the errors in your singing?’ He’s a very knowledgeable human being and not just in the field of music. Hridayanath is very particular about the way I sing. And I like that. He is as particular with any singer, whether it’s my sister Asha or Usha. Happily Hridayanath has the knowledge to achieve a high quality in the recording. He not only has a sound base in classical music but also listens to the old songs of my father (Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar) and uses them as a foundation for some of his compositions. I’m always on tenterhooks singing for him. He’s a very learned musician. His knowledge of Marathi literature and poetry is so vast. He’s familiar with both modern and non-contemporary poets. By God’s grace all my albums with my brother have been perennially popular. My first non-film album with Hridayanath was Mogra Phulela 35 years ago. And that’s still selling.
Shabana Azmi: “My brother Baba is most precious to me. He is my son, my friend and guide. Raksha Bandhan is a festival I get most sentimental about. This year I am at my native village Mijwan for Raksha Bandhan. I feel really sorry that I can’t be personally present to tie him the rakhi. I make sure I am with Baba on this day. I think I missed being with my brother for raksha bandhan only 4-5 times in my entire life. Sadly this is one of those years of absence. Baba is my most precious gift. I don’t need anything from him. He doesn’t allow anyone else to tie a rakhi on him. No mooh-boli bahens for my brother! I wouldn’t tolerate them.”
Parineeti Chopra: “My brothers Sahaj and Shivang are my buddies ever since they grew up. I am the eldest. So I am going to be pampering and spoiling them this Raksha Bandhan.”
Pooja Bhatt: “I am older to my brother Rahul. So tradition be damned. I’ll be gifting him this Raksha Bandhan, not the other way around.”
Manisha Koirala: “I have the most precious gift in the world. My brother Siddhartha. I always wish him happiness and success, and not just for Raksha Bandhan but every single day. I consider myself the luckiest sister in the world. More power to my adorable bhaiya.”
Celina Jaitley: “My brother Vikrant is a major in the Indian army. Considering the crisis at the LOC he may soon be deployed as he is on the Special Forces. The only Raksha Bandhan wish I have for him is to be safe. And to have a lil baby of his own soon as he’s newly married.”
Bela Sehgal: “I am very lucky to have a wonderful brother like Sanjay (Leela Bhansali). He is thoughtful caring and loving, understanding and always concerned about my well-being. For Raksha Bandhan I pray for his good health and the super-duper success of Ram Leela. The only gift that I want from him is that he should always continue to love me.”
Divya Dutta: “My brother Dr Rahul Dutta is more a friend than an elder brother. And he knows exactly what I want. The other day I liked a piece of jewellery while window-shopping. Before I knew it, it became my Rakhi gift. He is traveling but will be back in time for me tie the rakhi.”
Minissha Lamba: “My brother is the closest person I have in Mumbai. And just to have him around is gift enough on raksha bandhan.”
Pooja Bedi: “I deeply miss my brother Siddharth who died 15 years ago. And I’m grateful for my brother Adam who is 12 years younger to me. Being so much older I don’t look at him in the traditional role of the protective brother. On the contrary I feel I need to protect him and take care of him. All I expect from him is some time to spend together and oodles of love.”