Lata Mangeshkar: “Aamir Is Very Dear To Me”

The Nightingale On Giving The PanditDinanath Mangeshkar Award To Aamir & Vyjanthimala

This year on April 24, the Mangeshkar family puts forward a very special commemorative occasion.

“It’s my father’s 75th death anniversary. It is also 75 years since I started singing in films.My father passed away in April and I started singing in cinema in October.”

Aamir Khan doesn’t attend nor collect awards. But this time he has made an exception for the one and only Lata  Mangeshkar who Aamir admires and adores immeasurably.

And the Nightingale reciprocates the sentiments in ample measures. “I know he doesn’t collect awards. But he has made an exception for us.Aamir is indeed one of my favourite actors. Though we don’t meet any more I know there is enormous  mutual respect between us.I’ve known him from the time he was a child. I’ve seen him at his home playing and jumping around at his home when I visited his father (filmmaker Tahir Husain). He has always showered immense affection on me. I remember when he made Lagaan he insisted I sing the Bhajan O paalan hare.  I love his focus and dedication to his work and most of all, I love his films. Taare Zameen Par is one of my favourite films featuring a contemporary actor. It is rare to  come across an artiste with such a conscientious  body of work.I remember once he told me that he would take a whole year off from acting to produce films and I had objected. We love seeing Aamir on screen. My siblings Meena , Asha , Usha andHridaynath, and I  are honored to give the award  named after my father to Aamir.”

Vyjanthimala is the other film personality being honoured by the Dinanath MangeshkarAward at the function to be held on April 24 at the Shanmukhnanda auditorium .

Lataji lights up at the mention of the super-iconic legendary actress. “We were thinking of honoring one of the legendary classic  actresses from the golden era.A few names were shortlisted. But my brother Hridaynath insisted we honour Vyjanthimala this time. She is such a rare combination of exquisite beauty and extraordinary acting talent.Such a fabulous dancer and do you know, she is also a capable singer! I remember when in 1951Vyjanthimala made her debut as Hindi film heroine in AVM’s Bahar I had met Vyjanthimalawith her father who said, ‘My daughter sings too.’ I asked her to sing for me. And she did. And very well too. We’ve known one another since then.I’ve sung some of  my best songs for her in Nagin, Amrapali, Sangam, Ganga Jumna , Madhumati and Jewel Thief.I remember running into her in London while shopping. She was with a friend to whom she excitedly introduced me as an old friend.”

One  of Lataji’s most controversial songs Buddha mila gaya was filmed on Vyjanthimala inSangam.

The Nightingale laughs in fond remembrance. “I never wanted to sing that song. But when I saw  with what dignity Vyjanthimalaji danced to the song I was happy.”

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