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How Many Languages Has Lataji Sung In?



asha bhosle and lata mangeshkar

To millions  of  Indians  like me the two words Lata  and Mangeshkar signifes  every thing  beautiful harmonious  and  desirable  in this universe.  For 75  years she has regaled…no…healed us  with her melodies, each one of her  thousands  of songs…there is  not  conclusive clarity on  how many songs Lataji  has actually  sung,  though she  does remember recently during a  conversation with me that she  has sung  in  26 languages!!!

So which  of  these languages  did she   find it most difficult to sing  in?

“Tamil and Russian,” came  the prompt reply. “The  Tamil  language was really difficult for me  to handle. I would  note down all the  lines in English and then master their  pronunciation, as  they are  very particular  about the accent  and diction. Singing in Russian on  stage  was my other big challenge. It was  tough. My Russian songs are not to be  found anywhere, as they(in Russia) did not allow my renderings to be recorded.What I  sang on stage remained there  only.”

Among  her  innumerable  linguistic  leaps, we must also count a cover version  of Anne  Murray well-known  ballad  ‘You  Needed Me’

Yes, Lataji has sung  Anne  Murray’s  teary-eyed love  song  at  a live  concert in Canada.

She had  reminisced, “Whenever  I went   for  concerts abroad it was  our endeavour to include some local flavor if possible. When I  performed  in Toronto in 1985  I sang  Anne  Murray’s song on her request.”

Lataji had just a  few hours to  get to know the song, and prepare herself to sing it on  stage.

Did you keep track  of all the songs  that  you sang in every language? “No! It was  impossible. So many songs in so many languages, many forgotten. I don’t even remember  many of  the Hindi songs that I sang.You send  so many songs of mine to me  on whatsapp  that I don’t recognize.Arrey, yeh maine kab gaya!  But the strangest things was , I’ve sung in Malaysian!  This  I got to  know when a  fan sent me  my songs sung  in Malaysian. There are 8-9 of them, one of them a  duet with a local Malaysian singer. I’ve no clue when I sang in Malaysian.”

When I  asked her how  she mastered  foreign languages  in just  a  few hours  she said, “Just  writing down the lines and  practising their  pronunciation. Main hamesha  perfection chahti tthi(I always  strove  for  perfection).

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