Connect with us

Exclusive Premium Content

Lataji ….Unknown Facts




  1. She  was  very shy  of meeting  people.  But  everyone  wanted to just see her. There would be  a congregation  of  darshaks at  any given time. I have been a  personal witness to  the congregation.  When I’d  come down  from her  small clean apartment on Peddar Road  the  Lata darshaks would ask, ‘Kaisi hain woh,  unke baal kya sachmuch  zameen ko touch kate  hai…?’  For a  few  minutes I’d become God emissary for them.I’ve  never heard   of  such reverence for any  artiste  in any part of  the world.
  2. I am proud to say I  am perhaps  the only outsider  who has seen  the private room that she  lived in when not  recording.  It was the most cherished  moment of my life.  I  was sitting with her  in the community hall  on  the  ground floor  of her residence Prabhu Kunj when  there was a lunch break. Didi  looked up  from her songbook and with the  heavenly smile  she  said, “Aap mera kamra dekhna chahte hain na?”  I barely nodded unable to speak at the honour that was being extended to me. We went  up  the stairs,  Didi and I, into her room. It was spotless  and austere.   There was  a beautiful sandalwood  idol of  Lord Ganesha  in  a glass cabinet. That  apart there  was  nothing  in  there  to suggest that  civilization’s most  accomplished artiste   lived  in it.
  3. Didi  was the  most generous soul  I’ve ever  met. She  sent gifts to so many  artistes   in the  film industry.  Jaya Bachchan and Hema Malini have  received beautiful handpicked Sarees from her. My friend Sanjay Bhansali has also received gifts  from her. She  said  it  was her  nature. “I do it to make  myself happy. Mujhe  gifts bahot pasand hain.”  She also  gave  to  the needy without   fanfare. Once  an elderly man  from Nagpur asked her for money to  get his cataract  operation done; he  claimed his son and  daughter-in-law were denying him the  fund needed for the operation. Lataji  dialed  the number printed  on  the  letter. “I had  to know  whether his need was genuine on not…the  man couldn’t believe  it was  really mr calling him,” she laughed and told me.
  4. Lataji loved laughter.She  liked  singing the lighter  songs as much as  the  acclaimed serious songs, if not more.  But  she  enjoyed  the  blithe  numbers   . “I don’t know why  a lot of people think singing  serious  songs is  a more serious endeavour than singing   the lighter numbers. In fact  making people  cry is  much easier than  making them smile.” She recalled  two songs  Tum mujhse dur chale  jana na  composed by S D Burman  for Ishq Par Zor Nahin and  Heer composed by Madan Mohan for  Heer Ranjha where  the atmosphere had  gotten  extremely  dark  during the recording. Did Lataji cry while singing these? “I didn’t cry. But everyone else present  at  the recording did,” she chuckled.
  5. Lataji never listened  to her  own songs . Never ever.  “When they come on television I quickly change   the channel. If I hear the sound  of my  singing wafting in to  my home  I  quickly go into the kitchen and starting banging the pots and pans,” she had  once told me. Since not a day passes  in my life  when I don’t listen to her  for at least an  hour, I thought she was joking. But she was  not. “If I listen to my songs I  would find  faults  in the singing which you would never be  able to detect,” she told me.
  6. Every  once in a while I’d send her rare song  of hers on WhatsApp asking if she  remembered  them.  “Where did you get  this?” she  would laugh.  She also sent her songs  to me.Nothing  that I didn’t already  know  and love. Her last message  to  me when she  was  already unwell was a  voice note in reply to my anguished text message  about why  she was  not answering calls. “Kya aap humse naraaz hain?” I asked.  Her voice note  said, “Main  kyon aapse naraaz hongi(her  childlike  laughter). Aapne  mera kya bigada hai?”

 Humne aapka  kya bigada ttha jo aap rooth ke chalin gayeen?

Continue Reading