First Tanmay Bhatt, Now Kunal Vijaykar Mimicks India’s Nightingale

It seems India’s most distinguished voice is being smothered in satire.

Barely had we gotten over internet’s most infuriating ‘homage’ to Lata Mageshkar from the one and only Tanmay Bhatt than we now had a distinguished elitist gathering on intellectuals from various walks of life at the Jamshed Bhabha auditoriam in Mumbai last weekend, laughing their heads off as  stand-up comedian Kunal Vijaykar did a take-off on Lataji.

Just a day earlier  composer Vishal Dadlani was booked, cooked and  smashed and hurled against the rocks for making a  barbed comment on  a religious guru. Then why are we silent when a religion is insulted? For millions of Indians across the world Lataji’s voice is a religious discipline. We Lata Bhakts belong to a sonorous sect. Our day begins with her voice and ends with it. Missing out on her singing is akin to us to skipping our prayers.

When you mimic Lataji you parody one of the cosmic marvels. Says Javed Akhtar a diehard Lata Bhakt, “It will take civilization thousands of years to figure out what her voice conveys and with what kind of precision. I remember meeting a music scholar Chaman Bharti in Bhopal.  I asked  him what he  found so special about Lata Mangeshkar. He explained to me, ‘If you take a strand of hair and put it under a  miscroscope there would be a center to  that magnified view of the strand of hair. Surkitna bhi bareeq ho usska jo exact center hai wahan Lata Mangeshkar gaati hai.”

The poet compares Lataji to the greatest artistes of the world. “Sometimes I think people  like Lataji, Ghalib, Beethoven and Shakespeare  are far removed from the normal  chain of human civilization . If  they were just role models how come no one was able  to achieve an iota of their perfection?They are intruders of civilization who come as  reminders   of the rule  of mediocrity that  prevails. Lataji   belongs to a  different  league.”

Javed Saab  recalls an illustrative anecdote about Lataji that truly defines the voice of India. “I’ll tell you an incident thatPandit Jasraj narrated  to me.In the 1950s he was in  Amritsar  when  he went to meet the classical genius Ustad BadeGhulam  Ali  Khan  who  was his God. When Pandit Jasraj got chatting Bade Ghulam Ali Saab  suddenly told  the young man to keep quiet. He heard  the sound of  the young Lata Mangeshkar singing Yeh zindagi usski ki hai from Anarkali. Bade GhulamAli Khan  was enraptured.  He finally said, ‘Kambhakt, kabhi besuri hoti hi nahin.’  That remark had  the affection of a father and the envy of an artist.”

Adds Sanjay Leela Bhansali, “When you insult Lataji you insult the very ethos of our country. Her voice is that touchstone on which we measure our excellence and national pride.”

Lataji chooses to maintain a characteristic distance from all the mimicry and parodies of her voice. “Mujhe dukhiss baat ka nahin ki log meri nakal utaarte hain. Mujhe dukh iss baat ka hai ki woh apna waqt aise kaam meingawaa rahen jab ki hamare desh mein itni badi samasyayen hai. Kabhi woh twitter pe mujhe maar dete hain kabhiwoh Instagram pe mera parody banaate hain. Chalo,khush rahen.(I am not so sad about the fact that they mimic me as I am about the fact that they  are wasting their time when there are so many problems plaguing our country.At times they kill me off in Twitter.At other times they parody me on Instagram. Hope it makes them happy).”



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