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Lata Mangeshkar: “I had no time to play with  dolls”

As  the Goddess  of all melodious things  Lata Mangeshkar completed  80 years  of singing on December 16, her most ardent bhakt Subhash  K Jha   caught  up with her.

Didi, you’ve now complete 80 years of singing?

It’s all  God’s grace. And of course the  blessings of  my parents  who dreamt big dreams  for me. Do you know, my father was an astrologer. He predicted I’d doing something very special  with my life.

And  you are, going far far  ahead  of  what your  father had predicted…

Yeh sach hai maine logon  ka bahot pyar paya hai(I’ve received so much love of the people). But that  doesn’t mean I am complacent about my career. There  is always room for more. I don’t think I’ve achieved as  much as people think I have.

You started  working at  a very young age, when you were only 14. Did you miss out on  the joys of childhood?

I never had an opportunity to do the things  children do. I had no time to play with  dolls. When my father passed away  at a very young age,I , as the eldest member  of the family had to  become the  breadearner .At 14 I  was  singing professionally. Sochne ka waqt hi nahin mila. Kab  bachpan gaya . Now  when I see my siblings  all doing well in life,all still with me  and healthy,  I feel satisfied.

You sang for five generations of heroines. Who were  your favourites?

It was  always a joy to sing for Meena Kumari  and Nargis. I knew them  personally and they would  sometimes attend the records of my songs sung for them. Later I  enjoyed singing  for Waheeda Rehman,Vyjanthimala, Sadhana and  Nutan. Nutanji was a singer and she actually sang along when I ghost-voiced her.

You   sang for everyone except the hero?

(Laughs) Jee haan. I sang so many songs for little boys.There was  one composed  by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  about  the  love  for one’s mother which I really like.

ma tu kitni achchi hai tu kitni bholi hai from the  film Raja Aur Runk?

That’s right. Bahot pyara gaana ttha(it was a  lovely song). In those days there  was certain innocence about the  world we inhabited. There was  laughter and joy and pleasure  in simple things. Now it’s all gone.

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